Reading 3 Middlesbrough 2

Last updated : 19 August 2006 By Footymad Previewer
Reading marked their first ever Premiership match with a stunning fight back to see off Middlesbrough at the Madejski Stadium. Two goals down within 21 minutes, Steve Coppell's Royals batter back brilliantly to overturn the UEFA cup finalists in remarkable fashion.

The game provided a reunion for Reading boss Coppell and rookie Boro manager Gareth Southgate, who made his breakthrough as a youngster at Crystal Palace under Coppell's tutelage.

But, for the opening 30 minutes of this game, it looked like the student was going to outshine the master.

But Reading's first 45 minutes in the Premiership produced a half of two halves, Boro racing into a two goal lead before the Royals battled back with two in two minutes.

The homeside had almost taken a freak early lead when a free-kick from new signing Seol Ki-Hyeon almost caught out goal keeper Mark Schwarzer who back peddled smartly to tip the ball over.

But Reading, who cruised to the championship title last season suffering just 2 defeats, were quickly given a lesson in premiership pace and power.

England winger Stuart Downing was quick to catch the eye of the watching Terry Venables arriving un-marked at the far post to side foot home Yakubu Ayegbeni's pin point cross on 11 minutes.

10 minutes later, Yakubu helped himself to the second, bundling home from close range after Reading keeper Marcus Hahnemann had spilled Fabio Rochemback's free-kick from the edge of the penalty area.

At that stage, Reading's first appearance in footballs top flight looked destined for humiliation, but the new boys responded superbly.

Dave Kitson and Steve Sidwell both wasted glorious chances to pull a goal back before the Royals finally found their premiership feet 3 minutes before half time.

Seol took advantage of hobbling full back Julio Arca's hesitation to twist and turn and send in a low cross that Kitson poked home from 6 yards.

The pressure valve now released, Reading started to pile forward and were level just two minutes later.

Centre back Ivar Ingimarsson found himself in a left-wing position and cut the ball back perfectly for Sidwell to strike first time across Schwarzer and inside the far post.

Incredibly, Reading could have completed the turn around before half time, but Kevin Doyle was an inch away from connecting in front of an empty net.

But Reading's impressive response to going two down had completely turned the game in their favour and Boro looked a spent force in the first half.

Kitson was forced to stay off at half time after falling victim to a dreadful 2 footed tackle from Chris Riggott, but it was Kitsons replacement Leroy Lita who capped the home sides dramatic come back 10 minutes into the second half.

The impressive Seol was again the provider as his low centre nearly put Doyle in, but as Riggot and substitute Andrew Davies both dived in to try and block the striker, the loose ball sat up nicely for Lita to slam home.

Reading could have added to their tally as they continued to grow in confidence, but Boro nearly snatched an undeserved draw late on.

Mark Viduka thought he had levelled seven minutes from time when he turned home James Morrison's low cross, only for the effort to be ruled out for a narrow offside decision.

And American international keeper Hahnemann was able to make amends for his earlier fumble with a superb late save to deny Viduka after Ibrahima Sonko's hesitation at the back had allowed the striker to shoot.