MAGIC MURRAY DOWNS FULHAM
Reading new-boy Glenn Murray piled more pressure on Fulham manager Felix Magath with a two-goal debut to send the ten-man Cottagers bottom of the table.
Murray joined Reading on loan from Crystal Palace on transfer deadline day and wasted little time making his mark for the Royals.
The veteran striker opened the scoring after 15 minutes with a powerful diving header after Jordan Obita’s cross.
Murray doubled his tally nine minutes after half-time, leaping to head in an Obita corner before Nick Blackman rounded Fulham goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly to add a deserved third late on.
Magath’s side are still without a Championship win since their relegation from the Premier League.
The task was made doubly hard when debutant striker Matt Smith was dismissed for a reckless lunge on Obita in the 18th minute. Smith, a £500,000 buy from Leeds, dangerously dived in on the Reading left-back to leave referee Mike Jones with no choice but to flash the red card.
But Magath was unhappy at a lack of protection from Jones for his new front-man.
Magath said:“He didn’t protect Matt Smith and he didn’t protect our goalkeeper. I have seen wrestling from the first minute and my goalkeeper said he was held for the second goal.
“There was no ball or nothing and he wanted to go forward and he was blocked off, that was frustrating him.
“I can understand Matt Smith’s reaction. He is a very good guy and he apologised to everyone.
“I have spoken with him, sure he made a mistake but I understand him. It was wrong what he did but he was not protected by the referee.”
Reading dominated from early on, with Murray and strike partner Simon Cox interchanging well before Jake Taylor slid his shot wide.
Kiraly, the third shot-stopper used by Magath this season, pulled off three remarkable saves in the opening exchanges of the second half.
Cox’s powerful strike forced a brilliant instinctive save from the Hungarian, before Taylor’s shot from outside the area was pushed round the post.
Large sections of the visiting supporters were calling for Magath’s sacking as they struggle to adjust to life in a lower division.
But Magath turned a deaf ear to the taunts, saying:“I didn’t hear the sacking chants because I am too involved in the game and don’t hear what happens outside.
“What can I tell the fans? I can understand the fans. They are frustrated and shouting. I am the manager I take care of the fans, I work for the fans.
“They support us very well.We went down and they were always to our side. I can understand they are disappointed.”
Reading boss Nigel Adkins hauled a disappointed Murray off midway through the second half, with the striker primed for a debut hat-trick.
Adkins said:“I knew a striker on two goals would want to score a third one. I have to look at the big picture and make the big decisions.
“I didn’t want to take the risk of him breaking down, not that it was a worry. I thought he played some good football. He and Cox look like they had played together for years.
“We had a very good transfer window in an attacking sense with Cox, Jamie Mackie and Murray coming in and we look much better on paper.
“The sending off made it difficult for us to break them down and we were worried about conceding on the counter.
“We never looked like conceding but had to keep the mind-set of the players.
“That was our third clean sheet in a row.”
DOUBLE TROUBLE: Glenn Murray scores the second goal for Reading
SUPER SUB: Nick Blackman came off the bench to score