QUEENS Park Rangers were roundly beaten at Loftus Road in a hapless, damp squib of a display in front of the Sky cameras.
Danny Williams opened the scoring with a well-guided header following good work from Jobi McAnuff – ex-Reading striker Kevin Doyle levelled from the hosts, poking home from close range.
Rangers typically languid and slow style saw them never get out of first gear, and they started both halves ponderously and open to attacking threat.
The Royals took the lead when Alex Pearce walked in behind Clint Hill to nod home on the goal-line before Garath McCleary put a blockbuster drive beyond a forlorn Rob Green.
Rangers outfought by Reading in all quarters with Benoit Assou-Ekotto withdrawn after rowing with his fellow defenders on a thoroughly disappointing day for Redknapp’s men.
Harry Redknapp made three changes from the side that were defeated at Derby. Will Keane came in for his debut alongside wingers Junior Hoilett and Armand Traoré. Gary O’Neil, Andy Johnson and Tom Carroll dropped out altogether.
Rob Green started behind a defence of Aaron Hughes, Richard Dunne, Clint Hill and Benoit Assou Ekotto. The midfield comprised of Hoilett, Joey Barton, Niko Kranjcar and Traoré with Keane partnering Kevin Doyle.
Reading started with Alex McCarthy behind a defence of Chris Gunter, Alex Pearce, Kaspars Gorkss and Jordan Obita. The midfield quarter consisted of Garath McCleary, Danny Williams, Hope Akpan and Jobi McAnuff with Adam Le Fondre partnering Pavel Pogrebnyak.
KICK OFF: QUEENS PARK RANGERS v READING
Sky once again elected to televise what is typically one of more tedious fixtures of the campaign the fourth successive occasion. Wholesale changes from the side that tentatively limped out of a disappointing defeat at Derby on Monday.
The two sides started out slowly, but Reading quickly took the upper hand in what was an even encounter. An open midfield containing Joey Barton and Niko Kranjcar was being quickly overrun by Hope Akpan and Danny Williams.
Reading had the advantage inside ten minutes when Adam Le Fondre profited from good work from Jobi McAnuff. The forward’s cross found DANNY WILLIAMS ghosting in unmarked on the penalty spot to guide his header past Green.
Rangers had started poorly again and were lucky not to be two goals down when Williams put another headed effort straight into Green’s grateful arms. Rangers were firmly on the back foot in another slow, languid opening.
From nothing though Rangers levelled. Traore’s surging run down the left culminated in him squaring for Will Keane. The forward fluffed his lines with the goal at his mercy, but Alex McCarthy bizarrely parried the tame effort and KEVIN DOYLE stabbed home the loose ball.
Rangers were hardly looking good value for being level. Hoilett frustrated wide right and his cross-shot deflected off Kaspars Gorkss and away for a corner. Keane headed over from Assou-Ekotto’s set-piece.
Jordan Obita nearly regained the advantage for the Royals when his centre from a set-piece drifted past everyone and Alex Pearce was inches away from netting. His unmarked presence on the far post will have put Rangers’ rearguard on alert as they escaped in this instance.
The two sides went in at the break level, Rangers with it all the prove in the second half after another poor opening half in W12.
KICK OFF: QUEENS PARK RANGERS 1-1 READING
Rangers started slowly once more with Reading getting a distinct advantage in the middle of the park. Barton’s wayward free kick and speculative drive from distance was all the hosts could muster in the opening stages of the second period.
Reading got themselves in front early in the second half. McAnuff’s corner from the left evaded everyone, with Green at odds to collect and ALEX PEARCE walked in behind Clint Hill and nodded into an empty net.
Truly appalling defending from the home side that really had not got going all afternoon. Bobby Zamora surprisingly emerged from the bench to replace the ineffective Will Keane to a rather muted reception from the home crowd.
Reading extended their lead with a moment of sheer inspiration. GARATH MCCLEARY drove away at pace against an exposed Assou-Ekotto. His venomous drive dipped viciously and nestled perfectly into the top left hand corner.
The crowd turned on some of the playes, the players turned on each other and overall it made for a rather poisonous atmosphere. To compound matters further Joey Barton picked up his tenth booking – certainly one of the more tamer entries – therefore receiving a two match ban.
Armand Traoré seemed to be the only player with a modicum of ambition, as he drove forward with purpose and placed a shot straight into the grateful chest of McCarthy, a ‘keeper that had recovered from his earlier wobble.
A deflected cross from Hoilett dropped kindly at the far post for Doyle but the ball narrowly evaded the striker with Zamora unable to keep the move alive. Then came a flashpoint for the fixture when Reading were reduced to ten men.
Hoilett had a fleeting moment of success in getting beyond his marker when he was hacked down by former QPR man Gorkss. The challenge was late but there were more than a few eyebrows raised when Mr Coote brandished a red card.
Evidently the onus was now on Rangers to press. The Royals threw on Michael Hector for Adam Le Fondre while Assou-Ekotto was withdrawn after a stand up argument with Richard Dunne. Yossi Benayoun was sent on in his stead.
Kevin Doyle placed a couple of dollied headers at McCarthy and with Rangers struggling for chances, Modibo Maiga remained firmly rooted to the bench. That final substitute, the final throw of the dice was rather bizarrely not forthcoming.
Joey Barton his a stinging left-footed volley over the bar in the latter stages but it was to no avail as the Royals picked up a first win in eight years in W12.
FINAL WHISTLE: QUEENS PARK RANGERS 1-3 READING