BLACKMAN NICKS ANOTHER WINNER
READING manager Steve Clarke wants Nick Blackman to keep up his ‘terrible habit’ of scoring goals after the striker grabbed the only goal of the game against Charlton.
Blackman broke the deadlock in the 76th minute, heading Lucas Piazon’s cross past Nick Pope from six yards.
It was the 25-year-old’s ninth goal in as many games and Clarke joked: “I told him after the game, it’s a terrible habit, keep it up!”
The game had turned in Reading’s favour in the 68th minute when Charlton had central defender Patrick Bauer sent off for a second yellow card.
Both yellow cards were for fouls on Reading’s star man Blackman.
The first was five minutes into the second half, when Bauer was deceived by a clever turn by Blackman on the half-way line.
The second was for halting a surging run on the edge of the penalty area, when it looked as if Blackman may go on to score.
Clarke said:“The sending off coming just before the goal created a bit more space in the box. It was a good bit of work from Lucas Piazon for the assist, and a great header from Nick.
“I thought his performance from the first minute was probably one of the best.
“It didn’t matter where I put him on the pitch, I shuffled it about a bit, but wherever I put Nick, he was excellent.
“It was the kind of game that we were expecting. We knew that if we couldn’t get the early goal that it would be a test of patience.
“There was only one team on the pitch trying to win the game, but Charlton were really organised and it was just a matter of being patient.”
However, Clarke’s opposite number Guy Luzon was left ruing the red card received by Bauer.
“I think the red card changed the game,” the Charlton manager said. “It gave Reading the advantage and made it difficult for us.
“When we played with 11 players, we gave everything. We played really well and didn’t let them create any easy chances.
“We were patient with the ball and were organised as we were sticking to our game-plan.
“The sending off was far away from me, I couldn’t really see it, but if it was a foul, then it was a second yellow card. There was more space in the box for the Reading goal, as we were missing one of our defenders.”
The Royals forced the first save of the game in the fifth minute, Pope palming Piazon’s shot from 12 yards around the post.
Reading continued to dominate the game, Blackman unlucky to see his shot from 25 yards deflected for a corner in the 35th minute.
Charlton’s first shot on target came five minutes before half-time, with Johann Berg Gudmundsson forcing Ali Al-Habsi into action.
Bauer received his first yellow card five minutes into the second half, when he tripped Blackman on the half-way line.
Reading continued to pile on the pressure and Blackman saw his shot from 25 yards fly over the crossbar.
Charlton had a chance from their first corner of the game in the 67th minute, Bauer seeing his half-volley sail over the bar.
But the turning point of the game came a minute later, Bauer receiving his marching orders for a second yellow card.
And it was left to Blackman – who had caused Bauer’s early bath – to have the last word, grabbing the only goal of the game eight minutes later to seal all three points.
UP FOR THE CHALLENGE: Reading’s Paul McShane beats Charlton’s Franck Moussa in the air
STAR MAN NICK BLACKMAN