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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 December 2006, 21:38 GMT
Newcastle 3-2 Reading
By Saj Chowdhury

Emre scored a fantastic goal late in the game
Emre's sensational 20-yard strike gave struggling Newcastle a crucial win at the expense of Reading.

Newcastle took the lead when Antoine Sibierski headed in Nolberto Solano's cross, before Reading equalised thanks to James Harper's low 18-yard drive.

Harper scored his second from the edge of the area after Shay Given parried Glen Little's fierce effort.

Obafemi Martins levelled from the spot after Ibrahima Sonko's foul on him before Emre's stunner raised the roof.

First blood of the match went to Newcastle.

Solano curled in a peach of a ball from the right which found the French striker Sibierski, who stretched his bald head forward to nod the ball past Reading's Marcus Hahnemann.

Up until then the Magpies had produced the best chances, with Martins and Sibierski seeing their headed efforts saved by the Royals keeper and James Milner scooping over from 12 yards.

It seemed like Newcastle were in complete control, but that was far from the case.

Manager Steve Coppell has moulded Reading into a resilient Premiership outfit having already proved their credentials in the Championship last season.

He was forced into making an early change, when Stephen Hunt was replaced by ex-Burnley winger Glen Little.

But the substitution had a positive effect on the visitors. With Newcastle trying to work out how to defend against Little, they left John Oster space on the left.

The former Everton player laid the ball to Harper who chanced his arm by firing in a low shot that, luckily for him, took a wicked deflection off Solano and past Given.

James Harper celebrates
Harper's strikes gave Reading the lead

It was his first Premiership strike and a deserved one for his hard work on the night.

Newcastle's confidence dropped, with Celestine Babayaro the chief culprit for gifting Reading their second.

The Nigerian defender, who had a terrible game, air-kicked the ball inside his own area. Little seized on the ball and fired in a shot that Given could only parry.

The loose ball arrived at the feet of Harper on the edge of the area, who coolly picked his spot to his side's obvious delight.

The Reading pressure continued straight after the restart, with Steve Sidwell trying his luck from 40 yards out with a lob that sailed fractionally over Given's crossbar.

Newcastle looked at sixes and sevens until a questionable decision turned the tide against Reading.

Martins was played into the area but was adjudged to have been brought down by Sonko's outstretched boot.

Referee Rob Styles pointed to the spot despite his assistant opting to keep his flag lowered.

The Reading protests did not bother Martins, who picked himself up to fire low into Hahnemann's bottom left-hand corner.

Moments later, Sibierski had the ball in the back of the net but his effort was ruled out for offside, but that did not diminish his side's attacking verve.

With six minutes remaining, Turkey midfielder Emre strode forward and launched an unstoppable shot over the reach of Hahnemann and into the Reading net, to lift the spirits of the St James' Park faithful and his side out of the relegation zone.

  • Newcastle boss Glenn Roeder:
    "We all went through every emotion and again we sent the supporters home having seen a very good game.

    "We've defended really well lately so it was a shock to let those two goals in in the manner we did. The second goal, especially, was a poor goal.

    "Reading don't lose often when they're in front so it took a lot of courage in the second half to get back."

  • Reading boss Steve Coppell:
    "My players were adamant the penalty should never have been given.

    "The referee could not have seen whether there was any contact.

    "The beauty of football is that we don't have much time to dwell on the loss."

    Newcastle: Given, Solano, Taylor, Ramage, Babayaro, Milner, Butt, Emre, N'Zogbia, Sibierski, Martins (Rossi 89).
    Subs Not Used: Srnicek, Luque, Huntington, Pattison.

    Booked: Solano.

    Goals: Sibierski 23, Martins 57 pen, Emre 84.

    Reading: Hahnemann, Murty (Bikey 90), Sonko, Ingimarsson, Shorey, Oster, Sidwell, Harper, Hunt (Little 36), Doyle (Lita 81), Ki-Hyeon.
    Subs Not Used: Federici, Gunnarsson.

    Booked: Murty.

    Goals: Harper 37, 42.

    Att: 48,182

    Wednesday's football photos
    06 Dec 06 |  Photo Galleries


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