Football

Royals give McLeish the Blues

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Kevin Doyle hit his 16th goal of the season as Reading ominously moved into the top two of the Coca-Cola Championship with a crucial 3-1 win over promotion rivals Birmingham.

Doyle took advantage of slack defending midway through the second half to head in and render a moment of individual brilliance from Blues striker Kevin Phillips worthless.

Phillips had dragged Alex McLeish's side level against the run of play with a fine solo goal only for Doyle to respond and midfielder Kalifa Cisse add a late third which sees Reading leapfrog their hosts into the automatic promotion places. Earlier Reading's Noel Hunt bent in a 25-yard free-kick.

The returning James McFadden showed a few nice touches early on but it was a bad one from him which led to Hunt's 13th-minute opener.

McFadden fouled Hunt - who had seconds earlier clashed heads with Franck Queudrue - 25 yards from goal and the forward nonchalantly bent the resulting free-kick over the wall and into the corner. The dazed Hunt was then brought off as a result of his earlier head injury with Shane Long partnering Doyle up front.

Birmingham looked clueless in attack before a mistake from Cisse allowed Phillips to produce a superb individual goal in the 60th minute.

Phillips nipped in to steal the loose ball and after nutmegging Ivar Ingimarsson advanced unchallenged to the edge of the area and lashed in a stinging low drive which gave goalkeeper Adam Federici no chance.

It was a sublime goal worthy of a striker who has chalked up over 240 goals in his career but just six minutes later his opposite number nine Doyle put the visitors back ahead.

Stephen Hunt swept in a curling free-kick and Doyle got ahead of Radhi Jaidi to steer a flicked header wide of Taylor and into the far corner.

And in the 82nd minute the tireless Doyle sent in a deep cross from the right touchline and Cisse towered over Stuart Parnaby to thump a header past Taylor from six yards, sealing the points for the visitors.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2008, All Rights Reserved.

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Topics:
James McFadden
Reading
Football
Franck Queudrue
Radhi Jaidi
Championship
Stephen Hunt
Chelsea
Kevin Doyle
Kalifa Cisse
Alex
Adam Federici
Shane Long
Ivar Ingimarsson
Birmingham
Stephen Hunt
Kevin Phillips
Noel Hunt
Stuart Parnaby

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