The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Claire Gould

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.

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Images

UP FOR THE CHAL­LENGE: Read­ing’s Paul McShane beats Charl­ton’s Franck Moussa in the air



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