Last Updated: 09/02/13 4:57pm
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FULL-TIME: Stoke record their first victory of the year thanks to a hard-earned 2-1 win against plucky Reading at the Britannia Stadium. Robert Huth headed the hosts ahead with a close-range header before Cameron Jerome doubled the advantage after 81 minutes with a sublime right-foot strike. However, the Royals pulled one back just two minutes later thanks to Adrian Mariappa's first goal for the club, but Tony Pulis' men held on for the points.
YELLOW CARD: There will be FOUR ADDED minutes of stoppage time as Geoff Cameron is booked for a foul on Jimmy Kebe.
Reading have scored the highest proportion of goals in the final 15 minutes of games (41%) and the most in total in that period (13). They've done it again today, but can they grab an equaliser?
Ian Harte's left-foot delivery is met at the near post by Adrian Mariappa ahead of Glenn Whelan to score his first goal for the club and hand the visitors a lifeline.
What a wonderful finish by the substitute as the ball is headed up in the air and Cameron Jerome holds off Alex Pearce before lashing his right-foot effort into the far corner past a helpless Adam Federici.
POOR PASS! Reading break three against one, but Jimmy Kebe's pass to Pavel Pogrebnyak is short and that allows Stoke to get men back and make the block.
Pavel Pogrebnyak tumbles to the floor as he collides with Robert Huth and Michael Oliver opts to wave play on.
The ball does end up in the Stoke net from Adam Le Fondre, but referee Michael Oliver had already blown his whistle for a handball by Pavel Pogrebnyak.
Meanwhile, Adam Le Fondre almost nips in after Reading launch the ball into the box, but Asmir Begovic is out in a flash.
YELLOW CARD: Mikele Leigertwood and Glenn Whelan go in with their studs showing and the Stoke man gets booked.
Adam Le Fondre has scored five goals in his last four Premier League appearances, all off the substitutes bench - he's a massive 12/1 to score next.
Reading are preparing a substitution of their own as Stoke counter-attack but Matthew Etherington fails to keep his left-foot effort down.
From the resulting corner from Glenn Whelan, Robert Huth climbs highest at the back post to direct his header in off the crossbarr. That's his first goal since April 2012!
GOOD CHANCE! Glenn Whelan's free-kick drops down to Jonathan Walters, but his effort towards goal is deflected out for a corner.
SUBSTITUTIONS: Michael Kightly and Peter Crouch are replaced by Cameron Jerome and Kenwyne Jones as Tony Pulis thows his dice.
Ian Harte's corner comes out to Hope Akpan, who hits his shot through a crowd of players and falls into the safe hands of Asmir Begovic.
Reading have a knack of leaving things late, at least recently they do, so 9/2 on the Royals to snatch this is decent value with Sky Bet, who go 6/4 that there'll be no goals while Peter Crouch is the 5/1 favourite to open the scoring.
Adam Le Fondre wins the ball off Glenn Whelan before Andy Wilkinson comes back to clear. Stoke are preparing to make a double change!
Andy Wilkinson slides through the back of Jobi McAnuff, but wins the ball. Talk about a crunching tackle!
Adrian Mariappa does well against Peter Crouch once again as ALF - Adam Le Fondre prepares to come on. The Royals super sub!
Adam Federici is quickly off his line to claim the ball, while at the other end Ryan Shotton clears after making a solid tackle.
I think Jimmy Kebe's effort was the only shot on target for Reading in the opening 45 minutes Edd. Stoke have been dominant, but you have the opposition credit for doing their homework and defending well.
Edd Irwin is also back in touch and he says: "According to your commentary it looks as if Stoke are on top. So why can't they score goals? It's very frustrating!"
Each of Reading's last five Premier League games have seen at least three goals scored, so we might be in for a second half goal-fest yet!
Stokie Phil is back in touch and he says: "Hope I am wrong but Stoke could have missed there chance to push ahead here Reading have produced some very good second half performances just lately."
There have been no changes at the break as Robert Huth lands on top of Nick Blackman, but no free-kick is given.
Don't forget, if you'd like to air your views during the second half, email Raz...that's me! at email@example.com or Tweet me: @RazMirza and I'll publish as many as I can.
Stoke City are Evens to claim victory with our friends @SkyBet, who make Reading 9/2 and the draw 11/8. Adam Le Fondre, who has scored five goals in his last four Premier League appearances, all off the substitutes bench is 7/1 to score first today and there's a good chance he will get on if things stay as they are. I went for a pre-match prediction of 2-1 to the hosts, which was 15/2 and is now 12/1. Head now to SkyBet to place your bets.
HALF-TIME: In a first-half of few chances, Stoke came closest to breaking the deadlock. Adam Federici was called into action to firstly deny Ryan Shawcross from close-range before making an expert save to deny Peter Crouch scoring with an acrobatic volley. Robert Huth then saw his goalbound shot deflected over the crossbar from Stephen Kelly as Reading held on.
Brian McDermott is walking up to his area sending out a few instructions. One of those orders would probably be telling them to hold on to half-time.
Etherington's left-foot has been troublesome to Reading. They're unable to stop him and Peter Crouch in this opening period.
OFF THE LINE! Matthew Etherington's corner falls into the path of Robert Huth, who thumps his effort towards goal, but Reading have defenders throwing themselves at the ball. Ian Harte makes the all-important block to clear for another corner.
GOOD SAVE! Michael Kightly gets away from his marker before his cross lands on the chest of Peter Crouch and he attempts a spectaular scissor-kick, which is well saved by Adam Federici.
Peter Crouch thumps an ambitious volley wide of the target. We've seen him do it before of course - against Manchester City - but this one was way off target.
The Potters are the more dominant team in the last 10 minutes. Stoke claim Adrian Mariappa handled the ball as it was launched into Peter Crouch on the edge of the area.
That was probably the best chance of the game from Shawcross and the defender was disappointed he didn't get more purchase on the shot.
GOOD SAVE! Michael Kightly's right-foot cross is deflected away for a corner from which Adam Federici palmes away and he makes an even better stop to tip over Ryan Shawcross' shot from the rebound.
Ryan Shotton dries the ball with a towel before launching it into the box. Stoke keep possession in the danger area, until Shotton's right-foot delivery is headed away.
Robert Hutch finds Peter Crouch, who has time to take the ball on his chest and now Ryan Shotton wins his side a throw in a good position.
OPPORTUNITY! Michael Kightly gets away from Ian Harte down the right before scuffing his low left-foot shot straight into the grateful hands of Adam Federici. He's only scored once in 22 appearances for the Potters and he shows us why he hasn't got an eye for goal.
Peter Crouch finds Matthew Etherington wide left and this time his cross takes a slight deflection off Stephen Kelly, which allows Adam Federici to just about make the catch and keep the ball in play.
Robert Huth heads away and the visitors play the ball about the back before the long ball is taken by Asmir Begovic.
Unfortuantely for Stoke, the move breaks down after the ball was hot out wide and now Reading are awarded a free-kick near the centre circle.
Peter Crouch gets a nudge in the back from Adrian Mariappa for a free-kick in the middle of the park.
Matthew Etherington has been the main danger to Reading as his low ball is taken by Adam Federici. At the other end Jobi McAnuff decides to have a pop from 25 yards, but it squirms wide of the far post.
Stoke City have won just one of their last 10 Premier League matches (W1 D5 L4) and it's been pretty cagey stuff at the Britannia Stadium.
Sustained Stoke pressure now as Jonathan Walters' cross is hooked out by Alex Pearce at the near post, but this is an ariel bombardment of sorts coming from the home team.
Mark France writes in to say: "Been a Stoke fan all my life not nice to watch thinking about taking up knitting on a Saturday instead. But think Stoke will win today 3-1 the big man with the fit Mrs to score all three." That'll be Mr Crouch then!
City also have 12 draws to their name this season. Another Matthew Etherington cross is met by Peter Crouch, but somehow Reading manage to clear the ball from their six-yard area this time, but the threat is there for all to see.
Tony Pulis is out on his touchline having words with his players. Amazing to think they haven't won since Boxing Day at the Britannia Stadium.
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is in the crowd watching on. His team take on Reading in the FA Cup next weekend.
Referee Michael Oliver has a word with defender Ryan Shawcross after a late challenge on Hope Akpan.
The hosts have looked lively and Matthew Etherington always seems to be looking for the lanky Crouch from out wide.
The game has yet to settle down in these early stages. Ryan Shotton finds Michael Kightly and now Matthew Etherington's curling cross is met by Peter Crouch, but he fails to direct it on target.
Reading allow Peter Crouch to head his knockdown towards Jonathan Walters, but his striker partner just failed to read the direction of the ball.
CLOSE! Matthew Etherington's corner is missed by Robert Huth and Peter Crouch as the ball flies past them both in the six-yard box. Reading defenders were in two minds as to whether to make the clearance or leave it. They chose the latter.
Don't worry, you haven't missed much action in these early couple of minutes. Both teams have gone route one and now Jobi McAnuff plays a stray pass out for a throw.
Stoke's form has been indifferent of late and they will look to kick-start their year with a much-needed victory.
Peter Crouch and Jonathan Walters get this game underway then. If Reading were to win today, they would be just four points behind their hosts.
Stoke are in the traditional home kit of red and white stripes, white shorts and socks while Reading are also in their home shirts of blue and white hoops, blue shorts and blue and white socks. The pitch is in decent condition while the fans are pumped! Let's hope for a cracker at the Britannia Stadium.
Great comments folks, keep them coming in during the match please. Email Raz...that's me! at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet me: @RazMirza and I'll publish as many as I can.
Ex Potter Edd Irwin from Durban, South Africa is hoping for a home win: "I think Tony Pulis has put out his strongest side today and I'm going for a 2-1 win for Stoke. We are due for a win and today should put that right."
James Hill from Northampton reckons this might be a tight affair. "Going to be a difficult one today Stoke really need a win but Reading are in good form and will be full of confidence. Saying that Pulis has started with a fairly attacking side so in hoping stoke to nick it 2-1!!"
Stokie Phil in sunny Spain is first to send in his thoughts on this afternoon's action from the Potters. He says: "Should be an interesting game today. Reading been in good form lately and Stoke need to halt there recent decline. Hoping for a good open game with goals aplenty. I predict 3-2 Stoke." Let's hopes so Phil and good luck to your side!
Stoke City are 10/11 to claim victory with our friends @SkyBet, who make Reading 3/1 and the draw 5/2. The Potters' Peter Crouch is favourites to bag the first goal at 5/1 while and Jon Walters is 6/1 while Charlie Adam is a 10/1 shot. Matthew Etherington is 11/2 to score in 90 minutes and Ryan Shawcross is 22/1 to be the last goalscorer. Meanwhile, Adam Le Fondre, who has scored five goals in his last four Premier League appearances, all off the substitutes bench is 7/1 to score first today. I'm going for a pre-match prediction of 2-1 to the hosts, which is 15/2. Head now to SkyBet to place your bets.
STOKE TEAM NEWS: Stoke manager Tony Pulis makes one change to his starting line-up for this clash. The sole adjustment from the Potters' 1-0 defeat at Arsenal last Saturday sees Michael Kightly come into the first XI, with Geoff Cameron dropping to the bench.
READING TEAM NEWS: Royals boss Brian McDermott makes only one alteration from his side's 2-1 win over Sunderland as Nick Blackman - starting for the first time since his January move from Sheffield United - replaces Garath McCleary, who is named as a substitute alongside the in-form Adam Le Fondre.
STOKE CITY: Begovic, Shotton, Shawcross, Huth, Wilkinson, Kightly, Nzonzi, Whelan, Etherington, Walters, Crouch.
READING: Federici, Kelly, Pearce, Mariappa, Harte, Kebe, Akpan, Leigertwood, McAnuff, Blackman, Pogrebnyak.
Reading are in resurgent form having taken 14 points from a possible 21, which have included wins over Sunderland, Newcastle and West Brom to lift them two points clear of the drop zone. A real turnaround in fortunes since their seven-game losing streak at the back-end of 2012. The Royals are just seven points adrift of their opponents and Manager of the Month for January, Brian McDermott will be hoping his side can pick up another valuable win today led by the January Player of the Month - Adam Le Fondre - who has seven goals in his last six games. So Reading supporters, do you feel that your side are capable of claiming another scalp and move even further away from the relegation zone? Send in your thoughts to me, Raz...that's me! at email@example.com or Tweet me: @RazMirza and I'll publish as many as I can.
Stoke head into this afternoon's fixture at the Britannia Stadium in desperate form as they go in search for their first league win of 2013. The Potters have not won a Premier League game since their 3-1 Boxing Day victory over Liverpool, while their defence has leaked 16 goals in just six games. They sit in 10th position on 30 points and a win today would send them to within a point of ninth-placed West Brom, who are in action tomorrow. What do you think of your club's recent form Stoke fans? Do you think you can pick up three points today? Send in your thoughts to me, Raz...that's me! at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet me: @RazMirza and I'll publish as many as I can.
Meanwhile, Brian McDermott may hope to name an unchanged side from the 2-1 win over Sunderland. McDermott is wary of what awaits his side at the Britannia Stadium, but believes his side can learn a few tricks from the opposition as they seek top flight survival. He said: "Every time you go there you know the fans are very, very vocal. They've become an established club in the Premier League and it's something that we would aspire to. They also play some really good football at times, they've got good players there. But then they mix it up too. In football you have to mix it up and do what you have to do. Tony has been doing it at this level now for a long, long time and he's been very successful. He's got a decent amount of points again this season, he knows what he's doing."
Brek Shea could be in line to make his Stoke debut. The new signing is eligible to play in the game after the formalities of his move from FC Dallas were completed this week and Potters boss Tony Pulis will now assess the fitness of the 22-year-old American hot-shot, who has been recovering from a foot operation. It remains to be seen whether or not full-back Marc Wilson will be involved after he made his playing comeback from a broken leg in a behind-closed-doors friendly on Tuesday. The Potters have managed to retain a top-half position despite not winning a league match since Boxing Day. Pulis is eager to get a victory on the board, although he is anticipating Reading will pose his side a testing assignment. "We have to get some points and we are keen to get back to winning ways. We have had a very, very tough run again like at the start of the season, we have got through that period and we are still 10th in the league so we are pleased with that. What we have to do now is win a few games, although we know it will be tough - they are on a great run at the moment."
If you'd like to air your views before or during the match, email Raz...that's me! at email@example.com or Tweet me: @RazMirza and I'll publish as many as I can.