Coppell hails victorious Royals

Royals chief Steve Coppell described his team's performance at Stoke this afternoon as 'one of their best of the season'.

Nicky Shorey's first half free kick, which pinged in off the post, gave high-flying Reading an excellent 1-0 win over the Potters at the Britannia Stadium, shooting them back up to second in the table.

Following the excellent win against a side jostling alongside the Royals at the top of the table, boss Steve Coppell felt reason to lavishly deal out the praise for his in form side.

"It was a tremendous three points. We played some of our best football of the season in the first half and then stood up to the inevitable onslaught in the second half," said the Royals boss, speaking at the post match press conference.

"There is a hostile atmosphere here and I was particularly pleased with the way the boys kept their composure and passed the ball around."

Whilst the likes of Ibrahima Sonko and Marcus Hahnemann will be pleased with their performances, it was the shy figure of 23-year-old Nicky Shorey whose name will be featured in sports headlines across Berkshire this week.

It was the full-back's classy strike that sent the Royals second, level on points with third placed QPR, who are excelling in their first season back playing in English football's second tier.

"Obviously it was very opportunist, he saw the goalkeeper was on the other side and curled it in. In many ways keepers have got to live on the edge in those situations, they've got to line the wall up properly so they're always vulnerable," added Coppell.

It may have been Shorey's wonderstrike that won the match but one must appreciate that defensively Reading also played very well.

Senegal international centre-back Ibrahima Sonko stood firm at the back, proving that he is a more than able deputy for the recently-transfer listed Adie Williams.

Reading's performance this afternoon was inspiring, but with the season still in it's infancy it would be foolish to talk of Premiership football at the Madejski Stadium next season just yet.

But as each game passes the Berkshire outfit look ever-more assured in their lofty league position.

Unbeaten in six league games, the Royals hurtle into Tuesday night's game at home to Leeds in an extraordinary, yet seemingly maintainable, league position.

Tickets for our crunch clash withthe fallen Yorkshire giants are rapidly disappearing. The club reported earlier this week that more than 19,000 had been sold, and after another excellent performance today, the game could sell out.