Premier League: Stoke City 2 Reading 1
Second-half strikes from Robert Huth and Cameron Jerome gave Stoke City a 2-1 home win over Reading, their first victory since Boxing Day.
After a dull first half on Saturday, things came to life after the interval, starting with Huth's 67th-minute header from a corner, while Jerome doubled the advantage 14 minutes later with a lovely volley.
Adrian Mariappa pulled one back for Reading in the 83rd minute to set up a frantic closing period, but Reading could not find a leveller and suffered their first loss in eight games.
The opening half lacked any kind of quality as both sides struggled to find room and create chances.
Just after the half-hour mark Matthew Etherington sent a corner curling into towards goal, and Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici was able to punch the ball clear, but only as far as Ryan Shawcross.
The defender flicked at the loose ball but Federeci was able to tip the looping effort over the bar.
Five minutes before the break the best chance of the half fell to Stoke's Peter Crouch but he too was denied by the Reading goalkeeper.
Michael Kightly showed a lovely bit of skill to get him away from two defenders with his chipped ball finding Crouch who chested and then volleyed the ball towards goal, but Federici was again able to turn it over the crossbar.
The second half started at a much higher tempo and it was the home side who began to exert more pressure. The introduction of Cameron Jerome and Kenwyne Jones gave them a new impetus and the move by Tony Pulis was rewarded when the home side took the lead.
Glenn Whelan delivered a deep corner to the back post on 67 minutes and Huth rose above Alex Pearce to head home, the defender's effort clipping the underside of the crossbar on its way in.
With 10 minutes to play the home side added a second goal through Jerome, the striker sending a wonderful volley into the back of the net from near the penalty spot, holding off Alex Pearce and thumping the ball past Federici.
The scoring looked to be over but Reading were not beaten just yet and Mariappa gave his side a lifeline minutes later with a neat header. He got in front of his marker at the front post and sent his flicked header past Asmir Begovic.
But Stoke were able to hold on and post their first win of 2013, much to the delight of the home fans.