The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Alex Smith

CON­TRACT rebel Hal Rob­son-Kanu might be stalling on talks at Read­ing but he is mo­tor­ing on the pitch af­ter net­ting twice as the Roy­als were held by Ful­ham.

Twin­kle-toed Rob­son-Kanu won and con­verted a penalty be­fore bag­ging a bul­let header – sand­wiched be­tween strikes by Moussa Dem­bele and Ross McCor­mack for the vis­i­tors.

And Brian McDer­mott is hop­ing his soon-to-be out-of-con­tract winger can keep on scor­ing and will make a de­ci­sion on his fu­ture soon, with Premier League clubs Swansea and As­ton Villa cir­cling.

Roy­als boss McDer­mott, whose side are marooned in mid-ta­ble medi­ocrity, said: “I told Hal to score some more goals, it’s ge­nius. He’s mak­ing goals and scor­ing goals.

“I’ve know him since he was a boy and we trust each other. He has been great for Read­ing for a long pe­riod of time. I’m pleased he has added the goals to his reper­toire.

“It would be nice to keep him. He’s talk­ing about leav­ing it un­til the sum­mer which is his pre­rog­a­tive. Ev­ery game he has given me ev­ery­thing.

“I talk to Hal ev­ery day. He and his agent know how I feel. He has a mas­sive al­le­giance to us.

“He’s scored two goals, he’s taken a good penalty and scored a good header.

“Good luck to him. Ev­ery­thing he does is with my bless­ing. If he de­cides some­thing spe­cial is hap­pen­ing here I’m sure he will de­cide to stay.”

Ful­ham were the first to take the lead in a top­sy­turvy af­fair as Dem­bele pro­duced an ac­ro­batic vol­ley to fire in de­fender Michael Madl’s knock-down.

Ful­ham’s at­tempt at hold­ing onto the ad­van­tage lasted 16 min­utes be­fore cen­tre-back Fer­nando Amore­bi­eta shoved over Rob­son-Kanu in ridicu­lous fash­ion. The Wales in­ter­na­tional picked him­self and slot­ted the spot-kick into the bot­tom left cor­ner.

Rob­son-Kanu then net­ted his se­cond of the game, and third in three, to give Read­ing their fleet­ing hold on the game, nod­ding in af­ter a stun­ning turn of pace from Ola John earned him space in the box.

The Roy­als should have been out of sight 38 sec­onds into the se­cond half when Yann Ker­mor­gant con­trolled won­der­fully on the edge of the box and shifted bril­liantly, but his low shot bob­bled wide.

The match took its fi­nal turn when Jake Cooper hauled down Ryan Fred­er­icks. McCor­mack sent Al-Habsi the wrong way to notch up his 19th goal of the sea­son.

The hosts had chances to win it, with John the main ar­chi­tect. First of all he turned provider with a stun­ning back-heel for Stephen Quinn, whose shot de­flected be­hind. Then John, whose brother Collins is a Ful­ham leg­end af­ter 108 ap­pear­ances at the Cot­tage, forced Lon­er­gan into two low saves af­ter a cou­ple of thun­der­ous strikes.

Ful­ham are still look­ing ner­vous- ly over their shoul­ders with just a five-point buf­fer to the drop zone, and Slav­isa Jokanovic was not happy with his side.

“It was a strange game and we made un­nec­es­sary mis­takes,” he said. “We showed some char­ac­ter to get back into the game af­ter los­ing the lead.

“We are suf­fer­ing in this com­pe­ti­tion and we need to be more solid. In the last 15 min­utes they pushed us but we held firm.

“If we could have got three points it would be bet­ter. We scored the first goal and dom­i­nated and cre­ated some half-chances but we weren’t clin­i­cal enough.

“I can’t re­mem­ber many them hav­ing many chances but they scored two goals. You can’t give teams at this level any chances.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

POINT MADE: Hal Rob­son-Kanu cel­e­brates his first goal


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