TROUBLE FOR DONNY AFTER POGREBNYAK DOUBLES UP
Reading maintain play-off push
DONCASTER’S future is hanging by a thread after two late strikes from Pavel Pogrebnyak saw Reading storm back from a goal down.
Ahead through James Coppinger’s first-half strike, Donny saw a composed performance unravel when Adam Le Fondre won and then scored a penalty.
Then, just three minutes from time, Pogrebnyak headed home to break Donny hearts, the Russian adding insult to injury with a breakaway third.
The result is a disaster for Donny, who just a month ago looked home and hosed when a 2-1 win away at Leeds opened an eight-point gap to the bottom three.
But five defeats and a draw in the last six has whittled that cushion down to a point and with Birmingham – who have a game in hand – the only side separating Rovers from the drop zone, Donny’s fate is now out of their own hands.
Worse still, they face an away trip to champions Leicester on the final day of the season.
“I’ve said all along that I believe in this group,” said Donny boss Paul Dickov.“And I still do. Call me daft, naïve, stupid or all three, but that’s the way it is. We’ll go to Leicester and we’ll fight for our lives.
“The lads are down in the dressing room, of course they are. But we’ll analyse it on Monday, put it behind us and get ready to go again.
“We know what we have to do.We can’t worry about other results. Sometimes you play better when you know you have to get a result and hopefully that will be the case at Leicester.”
As the players left the pitch at half-time, only the hardiest punter would have laid money on a Reading victory.
With their patient probing and determination to keep the ball down, it appeared the home side were playing in a testimonial, not scrapping for their lives.
Paul Keegan was a blur of motion as he dominated Hope Akpan and Mikele Leigertwood, his thundering ferocity both stymieing opposition attacks and starting his own.
At the back, too, Abdoulaye Meite and Paul Quinn appeared totally untroubled by the little and large partnership of Pogrebnyak and Le Fondre.
The goal, when it came, was due reward. It is often said – usually by strikers – that forwards make the best crossers and Billy Sharp did his bit for the union with a clever low ball across the box. Reading’s back four had plenty of chances to clear their lines but, as they dallied, Coppinger pounced, steaming in at the back post to clip home.
Moments later, Sharp almost