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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
16:45 29th November 2014

REPORT: NORWICH CITY 1-2 READING

TWO headers from Jake Cooper consigned the Canaries to a 2-1 defeat against Reading on Saturday.

Gary Hooper had given City the lead after ten minutes on his first league start of the season, but Cooper rose to head home the leveller almost immediately.

On the brink of half-time, it was dejavu for Norwich as Cooper then stooped low to get his second and give Reading a lead that they held onto comfortably in the second period.

The result extends Neil Adams' team's poor run of form, meaning they now have just one win in ten league matches, leaving them in 11th place in the Sky Bet Championship table.

Hooper's return to the team at the expense of Lewis Grabban was the headline news before kick-off, with Neil Adams making two further changes as Steven Whittaker and Kyle Lafferty replaced Jos Hooiveld and Bradley Johnson, who was serving his one match suspension.

Garath McCleary made his first start of the campaign for Reading as they looked to improve after back-to-back defeats against Charlton Athletic and Cardiff City.

Lafferty and Hooper had shots deflected in the early stages before the latter gave the Canaries the lead in confusing circumstances after ten minutes.

Alex Tettey played in Nathan Redmond on the right, and as Hooper bundled in Cameron Jerome's flick-on, he was initially flagged offside, only for the assistant referee to correctly reverse his decision.

Reading responded well to going behind, however, and after John Ruddy pushed Hal Robson-Kanu's drive wide, they equalised through the towering Cooper.

He rose above Michael Turner at the back post to meet Oliver Norwood's corner with a downward header that went beyond City's defenders on the line.

Lafferty's powerful shot, tipped onto the bar by Adam Federici, almost re-established Norwich's advantage and they began to dominate territory as the half wore on.

Hooper's through ball was chased down by Jerome, only for Federici to make the stop, but it was Reading stole the lead in the final minute before the break.

Once again the Canaries were undone at a set-piece - this time it was Jordan Obita's delivery that flew beyond a stretching Ruddy and landed on Cooper's head, who made no mistake.

HALF-TIME: Norwich City 1-2 Reading

Both teams opted to stick with the same elevens but the second half started with a slow tempo and a number of stoppages that restricted the flow of both teams.

Hooper's strength allowed him to work an opening in the area but his effort was straight at Federici, and the home crowd were growing increasingly frustrated as Reading defended firmly.

Josh Murphy replaced Lafferty on the hour mark and the youngster was the target of an exceptional long pass from Russell Martin but his reverse ball was intercepted.

City then had a score when Norwood's speculative shot from distance was spilled by Ruddy, but he just managed to claw it back into his grasp in time.

Adams added to his attacking options by withdrawing Martin Olsson and replacing him with Lewis Grabban and they should have had a penalty on 80 minutes.

Redmond's cross appeared the hit Michael Hector's hand by the referee rejected appeals despite having a perfect view of the incident.

City pushed Reading deep into the own half in the closing stages of the game but they struggled to create the chance that could have earn them a point until stoppage time.

Grabban was in the right channel and fed Murphy in the box, but the youngster blazed his shot over the bar in the final act of the contest.

FULL-TIME: Norwich City 1-2 Reading

GOALS: Canaries: Gary Hooper (10) - Royals: Jake Cooper (14, 45)

NORWICH CITY: Ruddy; Whittaker, Martin (c), Turner, Olsson (Grabban 72); Redmond, Howson, Tettey (O'Neil 84), Lafferty (Murphy 62); Hooper, Jerome. Subs not used: Rudd (GK), Cuellar, Hooiveld, Garrido.

READING: Federici, Kelly, Gunter (c), Hector, Cooper, Norwood, Williams (Blackman 84), Obita, Robson-Kanu, McCleary (Taylor 67), Murray (Ferdinand 89). Subs not used: Andersen (GK), Cummings, Tshibola, Cox.

REFEREE: Mr D Webb

ATTENDANCE: 26,002



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