REPORT: READING 2 ALBION 1
- Albion defeated by Reading 2-1
- Chris O'Grady hits his first Albion league goal from the penalty spot
- Jamie Mackie double for Royals
- Seagulls winless at Madejski since 2003
Brighton & Hove Albion’s away day woes continued as Jamie Mackie’s brace gave Reading a 2-1 win at the Madejski Stadium.
After three wins in four at home, Chris Hughton’s men came into the game full of confidence but found themselves edged out thanks to in-form Mackie’s goals either side of a Chris O’Grady penalty.
Home comforts return on Saturday for Albion with the visit of Wolves and, despite the loss, the Seagulls remain nine points clear of the Championship relegation zone.
Emmanuel Ledesma was handed a full debut while Greg Halford, Jake Forster-Caskey, O’Grady and Rohan Ince were all recalled to the side, as Hughton made five changes to the team that despatched promotion-chasing Derby County at the Amex.
The Royals had two early chances to take the lead with Forster-Caskey saving the Seagulls by hacking Jake Cooper’s effort off the line after an initial block by David Stockdale, before Hal Robson-Kanu burst through the Albion defence a minute later but fired wildly over.
Halford’s weak header from Ledesma’s free-kick was the Seagulls’ first sight of goal, but it was the hosts that grabbed the lead on 24 minutes thanks to Mackie’s thunderous finish.
Albion were lucky not to be further behind just moments later, as Michael Hector blazed over on the rebound after Stockdale had originally denied Robson-Kanu on the angle.
Albion needed a fast response after the re-start, and they produced just that, as Ledesma forced a penalty after cutting inside and being pushed over by Cooper in the 52nd minute. With regular penalty taker Adrian Colunga on loan at Granada, the duty fell to O’Grady, who calmly equalised with his first league goal for the Seagulls.
Parity lasted just three minutes though, as Mackie lashed home from the edge of the area to put the Royals 2-1 up and Nick Blackman almost volleyed a spectacular third as Steve Clarke’s men looked to seal the points.
Hughton introduced Leon Best to add some more attacking threat to the Seagulls, but it was Reading who came closest to scoring next after a manic goalmouth scramble from a corner that saw Stockdale produce three terrific point-blank saves.
The Seagulls went direct during six additional minutes, but the hosts were resilient in defence despite O'Grady forcing a save from Adam Federici, leaving Albion still winless at the Madejski since 2003.