Reading vs. West Ham United: Final score 1-0, Royals earn a key three points

Bryn Lennon

Pavel Pogrebnyak's goal in the 4th minute was enough as Reading earned their first victory since mid-November.

A goal in the fourth minute was all Reading needed as they held on for the next 86 minutes to claim a huge victory over struggling West Ham.

I'm sure there are worse starts to a match that you could come up with (cough, City vs. Norwich, cough), but for Sam Allardyce and West Ham, things started pretty badly.

In the 4th minute, defender James Collins made an absolute mess of a clearance, whiffing on his attempt at contact and allowing the ball to roll past him towards goal. Unfortunately for Collins, Reading forward Pavel Pogrebnyak was right on top of him and ran on the loose ball before easily beating Jussi Jaaskelainen.

There was a bit of a scary moment in the 28th minute after Matthew Taylor's cross towards Carlton Cole was collected by Adam Federici. In the process, Federici collided with his own defender Alex Pearce who went tumbling over and spent several minutes on the ground with the physio looking at his head and shoulder. Fortunately, Pearce was able to continue.

West Ham came close in the 64th minute when Jack Collison took a shot from a tough angle that Federici was able to get a hand on, pushing it away from the goal. Had any West Ham players been lurking on the far post they would have been able to put the rebound in to an empty net.

West Ham's best chance of the second half came in the 84th minute when Ricardo Vaz Te wasted an amazing chance to equalize. Matt Jarvis sent a speculative cross in to the Reading box that found Vaz Te completely unmarked, four yards from an open net. Vaz Te missed his header, sending the ball wide of the post in what might end up being the day's most stunning miss.

In the end, West Ham simply were not good enough, losing for the third time in their last four matches. For Reading, it's a huge three points as they try to somehow escape the relegation zone.

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