Royals victory hits Hammers

Brian McDermott Reading FC
Brian McDermott, Reading FC manager Photo: PA

Royals boss Brian McDermott could not celebrate his team's victory too hard tonight, as he is preparing to run the Reading half-marathon tomorrow. But McDermott is all too aware the Championship is a marathon, and not a sprint, as he refused to get carried away with what could be a huge victory.

"It's three points, that's all it is, it's never easy to go 1-0 down here but we stayed in the game, got ourselves a goal and to go in 2-1 up was massive. Then in the second half I felt we deserved to win. But I've been around this game a long time so I'm not cock-a-hoop yet."

Sam Allardyce admitted West Ham only had themselves to blame after their promotion bid suffered a major blow with a 4-2 defeat by Reading. The Hammers are now four points behind their opponents in second after throwing away the lead in astonishing fashion at the end of the first half at Upton Park.

Carlton Cole fired them ahead but the match, and possibly West Ham's entire campaign, turned in the space of two minutes. Kaspars Gorkss was left unmarked to equalise from Ian Harte's corner in the 44th minute. And moments later Julien Faubert's challenge on Jason Roberts succeeded only in setting up Noel Hunt to fire Reading into an unlikely lead.

In the second half Ian Harte added a third from the penalty spot after Abdoulaye Faye tripped Hunt, and although Ricardo Vaz Te pulled one back, any hopes of a comeback were extinguished by Mikele Leigertwood's strike six minutes from time. But the damage was done in that crazy end to the first half and Allardyce said: "We shot ourselves in the foot.

"The corner we should have done better with, and then instead of clearing a simple ball we've kicked it straight to their man. That was a crushing blow. Then, instead of waiting to play our way back into the game, we shot ourselves in the foot again by giving away a stupid penalty.

We gifted them three goals. We can't afford to make those errors and that's ultimately why we got beaten."

West Ham now have just six games left to attempt to reel in Reading, and Allardyce admits they will probably need to win the lot to stand any chance of avoiding the play-offs.

"There are no more opportunities for us to take a point any more," he added.

"To keep up with Reading we have to win six on the trot."