Brighton 0 Reading 1

By Footymad Previewer
Last updated : 01 December 2002

Reading continued their remarkable run with a hard fought victory at rock bottom Brighton.

John Salako's 22nd minute strike made it six wins in a row for the Royals without conceding a goal.

Salako came back to haunt Brighton boss Steve Coppell, his former manager at Crystal Palace. The ex-England winger lashed a left-foot drive through Dutch goalkeeper Michel Kuipers from a Nicky Forster pass.

Reading then did a good job of protecting Salako's first goal of the season, as Coppell tried everything he knew in a bid to find a way through, but the visitors held firm.

Coppell switched his system in the first half from 5-3-2 to 4-4-2 and brought on Paul Brooker early in the second half in place of Nathan Jones and the substitute had Brighton’s best chance to level.

A mistake by Reading captain Adrian Williams presented possession to Brooker 15 yards out, but his shot was saved by American keeper Marcus Hahnemann.

Coppell made a further change in the closing stages, introducing teenage target man Daniel Webb for midfielder Richard Carpenter.

The home side forced a flurry of late corners and from one of them Kerry Mayo's header forced Hahnemann into another good stop.

Brighton's star striker Bobby Zamora, returning from heel, hamstring and ankle injuries was well shackled by the visitors defence in which Matthew Upson was once again outstanding.

Upson's three-month loan from Arsenal expires after the Royals' showdown next Saturday against leaders Portsmouth at the Madejski Stadium.

Brighton have an important battle at the other end of the table on the same day at fellow strugglers Sheffield Wednesday.

Coppell said: “We need to show a bit more guile and craft going forward if we are going to get out of trouble.”

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