Doyle stars in Royals win
Kevin Doyle continued his fine form as Reading beat fellow high-flyers Sheffield United 2-0.
Last Updated: 15/11/08 6:41pm
Kevin Doyle continued his fine form as Reading beat fellow high-flyers Sheffield United 2-0 keep the pressure on the top two in the Championship.
The Republic of Ireland international delivered the cross for Kalifa Cisse's opening goal after just five minutes.
He then netted his fifth goal in three games just before half-time, and Reading withstood a brave fightback in the second period to emerge with their third victory in a row.
Sheffield United came into the game on a five-match unbeaten run but looked far from an in-form side as Reading threatened to carve them open at will in the early stages.
The Royals had a chance to open the scoring in the second minute when Stephen Hunt's corner was volleyed over the bar by an off-balance Andre Bikey from eight yards.
And the visitors' early pressure told in the fifth minute as Doyle showed quick feet to cut into the area from the left before cutting the ball back for Cisse to fire into the roof of the net.
Anthony Stokes was then booked for a dive in the area at the other end as Kevin Blackwell's men struggled to get a foothold.
Hunt's ball inside the full-back then picked out the overlapping Chris Armstrong - playing against his former club - whose cross was cut out in the six-yard box.
Brian Howard gave Reading a scare 10 minutes before the break when he looked to be through on goal only to be stopped in his tracks by an offside flag.
But Reading made it two a minute before the break when Hunt's inswinging free-kick from the right was headed home by the in-form Doyle.
United made a double change at the break with Billy Sharp and Greg Halford replacing Stephen Quinn and Matthew Spring and it almost paid immediate dividends.
James Beattie made a darting near-post run to get on the end of Sharp's low cross, but Marcus Hahnemann got down well to save.
Stokes then had space on the left of the area but choose to turn inside and into trouble as the hosts looked for a lifeline.
It almost came moments later when Sharp's cross was deflected onto the far post by Beattie and then scrambled behind for a corner.
The Royals weathered the storm, though, and only a last-ditch clearance from Chris Morgan to cut out Noel Hunt's low cross across the face of goal stopped Doyle from having an easy tap-in at the far post.
Blackwell threw on Darius Henderson in place of Stokes with 12 minutes remaining but a Beattie header which flew just over and Sharp hitting straight at Hahnemann in the last minute were as close as they came.