Reading 1-2 Norwich: Cameron Jerome's header seals Championship win
By Oliver Young-Myles
Last Updated: 30/09/17 8:34pm
Cameron Jerome's first goal of the season proved to be the winner as Norwich sealed a slender 2-1 win over Reading at the Madejski Stadium.
The visitors took the lead thanks to James Maddison's sublime free-kick from the edge of the area with 10 minutes on the clock but Liam Moore equalised three minutes later with a header.
Shortly after half-time Jerome powered a header into the roof of the net to hand Norwich the lead and despite Marley Watkins' sending off in stoppage time, they held firm to secure all three points.
The result means that Norwich have stretched their unbeaten run in all competitions to seven matches while Reading are now without a win from their last six and sit just a point above the relegation zone.
Josh Murphy started for Norwich after missing their midweek clash against Middlesbrough while Leandro Bacuna and Liam Kelly started for Reading with Dave Edwards and Tiago Ilori making way.
Following an even start to the game it was Norwich who scored the opening goal through Maddison who swept a wonderful arcing free-kick beyond the despairing dive of Vito Mannone and into the top corner of the net. It was Norwich's first goal from a direct free-kick for 99 games since Graham Dorrans' strike against Fulham in April 2015 and was well worth the wait.
Reading fought back almost instantly from their own set-piece, though, as Sone Aluko's searching delivery from the right flank found Moore at the far post and the defender out-muscled Jerome to nod past Angus Gunn into the far corner.
Although Jerome probably could have done more to prevent Moore's goal he almost made amends less than ten minutes later, hitting the post with a precise shot from an acute angle after latching onto a long ball from Timm Klose.
Reading: Mannone (5), Gunter (7), Blackett (6), McShane (6), Moore (6), Van den Berg (6), Bacuna (5), Kelly (6), Beerens (5), McCleary (5), Aluko (7)
Subs: Bodvarsson (6), Richards (N/A), Barrow (N/A)
Norwich: Gunn (6), Pinto (7), Zimmermann (7), Klose (7), Husband (7), Tettey (6), Trybull (6), Hoolahan (5), Maddison (8), Murphy (6), Jerome (7)
Subs: Watkins (5), Reed (5), Wildschut (N/A)
Man of the match: James Maddison (Norwich)
Gareth McCleary was lively for the hosts and he went close to scoring just past the half hour mark when he lobbed the ball over Gunn but his improvised effort dropped agonisingly wide of the post.
Just seven minutes after the interval Norwich restored their one goal advantage as Jerome thundered a header in from Maddison's pinpoint corner although Jaap Stam will have been disappointed with his side's defending as the ball was allowed to bounce before finding the forward who was left completely unmarked at the far post.
Reading almost equalised again after 69 minutes when their captain Chris Gunter lashed a fierce drive onto the bar but despite ending the game with an extra man after Watkins saw red for a rash challenge on Gunter they were unable to grab a point.
Man of the match - James Maddison
Norwich's playmaker made the difference at the Madejski, scoring their first goal of the game with a sensational free-kick before teeing up Cameron Jerome for the winning goal. He caused problems for Reading all afternoon and departed the game after 75 minutes after being fouled by Joey van den Berg.
Jaap Stam: "We conceded two goals from two set-pieces. It's always hard to lose games like this when you don't give your opponents many opportunities away. Against quality teams it is difficult to get back into the game when you concede goals like this.
"You don't want to be falling too hard behind at this stage and I think we need to be looking to get towards the top of the Championship but first we have to put everything right, we need to get the players together so we can get back on a winning streak. We need to turn it around and the only way we can do that is by working hard, believing in ourselves and the results will come."
Daniel Farke: "It was a brilliant game, especially the first half. It was a game with a really high level and I think both teams wanted to control it through possession. It was a really close game but I think we deserved to win because we had the better chances and we were good in possession.
"I don't praise the young lads too much but we know that he [James Maddison] can play football, he's full of talent. He wants to work and prove himself each and every day and when you do that you earn credit on the pitch."
Both sides have two weeks off during the international break, but return to action on Saturday, October 14, with Reading travelling to Elland Road to face Leeds United and Norwich hosting Hull at Carrow Road.