Madejski jinx strikes again
By Tom Dowsett
Sunday 11 Dec 2011 13:45:00
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West Ham United suffered their fifth defeat of the season and also made it back-to-back losses under Sam Allardyce for the first time as they went down 3-0 to Reading at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The manager made three changes to the side that lost to Burnley last weekend, Guy Demel came in for Joey O'Brien, who started on the bench, Papa Bouba Diop replaced Matthew Taylor and Frederic Piquionne was chosen ahead of Carlton Cole who also dropped to the bench.

No sooner had the match kicked off, Allardyce had to make a change as Demel had picked up an injury to his right leg and O'Brien replaced him.

Both sides then had a number of chances, the best of them fell to the Hammers on 36 minutes when Piquionne found Julien Faubert in some space and he then linked up with Jack Collison but his effort looped over the crossbar.

A minute later however, West Ham should have taken the lead when James Tomkins won the header from Mark Noble's corner and found Papa Bouba Diop but the effort was finally cleared off the line.

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The second half started and 10 minutes had passed when Piquionne was hauled back but nothing was given by referee Neil Swarbrick, shortly after Papa Bouba Diop was replaced with Carlton Cole.

Two minutes later, Faubert collected possession from O'Brien's long ball upfield and found Piquionne who then spotted Cole who cut inside Ian Harte before finding Collison whose shot was far from handsome and went well wide before coming back to the Frenchman who had strayed offside.

On 65 minutes West Ham were down to 10 men as substitute O'Brien, who had earlier been booked, received a second yellow for bringing down former Hammers' player Jobi McAnuff. From the resulting freekick the deadlock was finally broken when the visitors allowed McAnuff room to get into the box and find defender Alex Pearce who stabbed the ball past Robert Green from close range.

Three minutes after Reading had gone a goal in front they could have increased the lead but Simon Church slammed a shot wide of the post.

Soon after that, on 72 minutes Big Sam made his second change of the afternoon replacing Piquionne with John Carew.

With 10 minutes of normal time to play, Reading went further ahead when they attacked down the right wing at pace, good play from Jimmy Kebe and Adam Le Fondre set up Church to smack the ball past Green from a yard out.

On 84 minutes, as if West Ham's day wasn't bad enough already, it just got worse as a second sending-off happened, this time Collison was given a straight red for a stupid challenge on Kebe. As the home side were two goals to the good, Kebe decided to mock Reading's opponents, which Collison took exception to by sliding in on him and he was then dismissed.

Just as the first sending-off did, Collison's dismissal cost West Ham a third goal as Church grabbed his second of the afternoon to make the points safe.

As the game drew to a close, the stadium was rapidly emptying but after five minutes of stoppage time had been played the final whistle blew to end another terrible day in Berkshire. Big Sam will have to ponder his team selection for next Saturday's home encounter with Barnsley due to the two suspensions and the injury in the opening stages, as the Hammers look to get their promotion bid back on track with three points against the Tykes.

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