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- Jason Puncheon gives Saints a vital win
- Nigel Adkins' men out of the drop zone and up to 15th
- Saints keep a second clean sheet of the season
- Adam Lallana suffers a knee injury
A great day for Saints, who move up to 15th place in the Premier League table. The result also marks only a second clean sheet of the campaign. Nigel Adkins' men now have two weeks to wait until they are back in action, when they host Sunderland - one of the teams they leapfrogged today. We will have reaction on the website soon.
FULL-TIME: Saints 1 Reading 0
CHANCE (88 mins): Jack Cork picks out Guly do Prado 12 yards out, but his shot is straight at Adam Fedirici.
CHANCE (85 mins): Guly do Prado whips a shot just over the bar from the corner of the area. Jason Puncheon flashed a shot just wide from distance moments earlier.
SUBSTITUTION (78 mins): Jay Rodriguez taken off, Guly do Prado on. A smattering of boos from the home fans as the Brazilian forward comes on.
CHANCE (71 mins): Hal Robson-Kanu swings in a cross that an outstretched Adam Le Fondre heads back across goal and wide of the post.
CHANCE (70 mins): The ball drops to Hal Robson-Kanu in the box, but his shot on the turn through a crowd of players lacked power and was straight at Kelvin Davis in goal.
CHANCE (65 mins): Jobi McAnuff collects Adam Le Fondre's angled pass, cuts inside onto his right foot and slices wide of the goal from a good position inside the area. Brian McDermott immediately makes his first change, substituting Sean Morrison for ex-Saints loanee Alex Pearce.
GOAL: Saints 1 Reading 0 (Jason Puncheon 61): Nathaniel Clyne gets down the right and slips a lovely ball inside to Puncheon. He takes one touch with his left foot before slamming a right foot shot into the far corner.
CHANCE (56 mins): Morgan Schneiderlin heads the ball forward to Jay Rodriguez 20 yards out. He takes a touch on his chest before pulling a right-foot shot wide of the post.
CHANCE (52 mins): Jason Puncheon works a little bit of room on the edge of the area and drills in a low right-foot shot that Fedirici turns round the post.
HALF-TIME: Saints 0 Reading 0
CHANCE (45+1 mins): Reading go ever so close to taking the lead, as Hal Robson-Kanu heads against the post from eight yards out, but the ball rebounds to safety.
CHANCE (43 mins): Jason Puncheon's corner is flicked on at the near post by Maya Yoshida. Shaun Cummings has to clear it off the line, before Rickie Lambert lashes a left foot volley wide.
SUBSTITUTION (39 mins): Adam Lallana is replaced by Gaston Ramirez. The midfielder hurt his knee after Reading midfielder Jay Tabb accidentally fell into him.
CHANCE (33 mins): Saints have a goal disallowed. Jason Puncheon heads in Adam Lallana's corner at the back post, but it's ruled out for a foul by Maya Yoshida on Adam Fedirici. That was a soft decision. If anything, Fedirici gave Yoshida a bit of a shove.
CHANCE (28 mins): Jay Tabb drives forward and hits a shot from the edge of the box that Kelvin Davis turns away. The ball rebounds back to the midfielder, who appeared to be tripped by Jack Cork as he took a touch, but referee Jon Moss did not award a penalty.
CHANCE (21 mins): Rickie Lambert's curling shot forces Adam Fedirici into a good full-stretch save.
CHANCE (16 mins): Kelvin Davis' long clearance is nodded down by Rickie Lambert. Adam Lallana takes a touch on his chest 20 yards out, before hitting a half-volley straight at Adam Fedirici in the Reading goal.
CHANCE (8 mins): Saints produce a lovely move that ends up with Jason Puncheon feeding Nathaniel Clyne on the overlap down the right. His ball picks out Morgan Schneiderlin at the near post, who diverts it just wide.
CHANCE (2 mins): Luke Shaw's ball into the box is nodded down by Jose Fonte. Jay Rodriguez hits it on the turn, but plants his right-foot shot into the side netting.
The teams are out at St Mary's. Kick-off now just a few minutes away. We'll have updates for you here throughout the match.
Saints defender Jose Fonte addressed the media before today's match. Here's what he had to say on the game:
It is a massive game for both of us. We are aware of the pressure. It is going to be an energetic game, tough for both of us, but we look forward to it. We have been preparing ourselves very well this week and we have our game plan and we will try and win the game on Saturday. It is a lot of pressure in these kind of games. You have to try and stay calm and know your game plan well, know your job. You know what you have to do and as a team, work hard to get the better of them. It is as simple as that.Jose Fonte
Saints (last six, league only): L D W W D L
Reading (last six, league only): D D W L L L
Saints top scorer (league only): Rickie Lambert 6
Reading top scorer (league only): Adam Le Fondre 4
Saints make two changes from the side that lost 1-0 at Liverpool. Gaston Ramirez is not fit enough to start, having only returned yesterday from compassionate leave in Uruguay, so the club record signing has to settle for a place on the bench. Jay Rodriguez takes his place in the side. Paulo Gazzaniga has a shoulder injury and is out, meaning Kelvin Davis returns in goal. His last Premier League match was the 6-1 defeat at Arsenal in September. Reading are unchanged from the team that lost 4-3 to Manchester United last weekend, meaning that striker Pavel Pogrebnyak does indeed miss out.
SAINTS: Davis, Clyne, Fonte, Yoshida, Shaw, Puncheon, Cork, Schneiderlin, Lallana, Rodriguez, Lambert.
Subs: Boruc, Hooiveld, S Davis, Ward-Prowse, Guly, Mayuka, Ramirez.
READING: Federici, Cummings, Morrison, Mariappa, Shorey, Leigertwood, Tabb, McAnuff, Robson-Kanu, Roberts, Le Fondre.
Subs: Taylor, Harte, Pearce, McCleary, Guthrie, Hunt, Samuel.
Referee: Jon Moss (West Yorkshire)
Reading boss Brian McDermott has hailed the “miracles” worked by Nigel Adkins at St Mary’s. We’re not sure that winning two promotions is quite up there with the loaves and the fishes, but we get his point:
We’re creating things, we’re scoring goals, and we have to get the other bit right now and make sure that we get results as well, because that’s what we are in the business for. We know it’s a good atmosphere there (at St Mary’s) and they’ve got a few points lately. I know the manager there really quite well, and he’s done a fantastic job there over a period of time. He’s created miracles there to get them into this division, so I’ve got nothing but admiration for Nigel. He’s a terrific manager. They have invested a lot of money in the summer time, so they have brought quality in, so we know what they’re about, and we have to make sure we go there and do what we have to do.Brian McDermott
Saints manager Nigel Adkins insists that revenge for the 3-1 defeat inflicted by Reading last April will not be a motivating factor today. Adkins also insists it is “massively important” that Saints win their home games against the teams around them:
We’ve moved on (from last season) and we’ve got where we want to be. Our focus is on this now. We’re at home, you look to pick your points up there. That is massively important, especially against teams in and around you in the division. It is a game we’re looking to get the three points from. It is not the end of the world if we don’t, but we are very positive in our thinking, our attitude. We’re looking focused to make sure we get the performance right, which gives us the opportunity to pick up the three points.Nigel Adkins
READING SQUAD NEWS: Striker Pavel Pogrebnyak is a doubt after suffering one of those famously troublesome “unspecified” injuries during a reserve game in midweek. He might be joining winger Jimmy Kebe on the sidelines, with the 28-year-old ruled out by a groin injury. Midfielder Jem Karacan (knee) remains out, while Brian McDermott is refusing to set a date for the return of goalkeeper Alex McCarthy (shoulder). Danny Guthrie, a former Saints loanee, should return from a thigh problem.
SAINTS SQUAD NEWS: It’s all been about one man this week – Gaston Ramirez. The forward returned to Uruguay following the Liverpool match last weekend, after being granted compassionate leave by the club. The 22-year-old returned yesterday, but is unlikely to start this afternoon. Luke Shaw could also be doubtful after posting on Twitter yesterday afternoon that he had pain in his ankle, before swiftly deleting the message. Adkins also said that keeper Artur Boruc, who has been absent from the first-team for some time, is in “good shape”.
Hello and welcome to the Daily Echo’s blog covering this afternoon’s Premier League match between Saints and Reading. Last season, this was a top-of-the-table clash, featuring what proved to be the Championship’s top two clubs. Now, though, it is a fight between two sides towards the bottom of the division. Saints start the day in 18th, three points ahead of the Royals, who are one place below them with a game in hand. A win for Nigel Adkins’ men could move them out of the bottom three, and there is every reason to be hopeful. Brian McDermott’s team are one of four sides in the top flight who are yet to win away from home. They did nab a 3-1 success here last term, though – a result that effectively sealed promotion and helped propel them to the title. It’s only December and the season is not yet at its halfway point, but this is a big match. Kick-off is at 3pm. We’ll have all the build-up, team news and match updates for you throughout the afternoon.