FULL TIME: Reading 7 Wanderers 1
WANDERERS capitulated at the Madejski Stadium to register their heaviest defeat in nearly 32 years.
Adam Le Fondre scored a first-half hat-trick in what proved an embarrassing day for Dougie Freedman and his side.
The last time Wanderers were on the end of such a hammering was in 1982, when they were smashed for seven at Loftus Road against QPR.
From a Wanderers’ perspective, the first half was as poor as anything seen since the FA Cup semi-final defeat against Stoke City.
Le Fondre helped himself to a quick-fire hat-trick thanks to some woeful defending from Freedman’s side.
Oddly, it had been a decent start until Tim Ream’s mistake on the left allowed Garath McCleary to scamper into the box past a statuesque Matt Mills and deliver a cross for the former Stockport County striker to smash home.
David Ngog should have made immediate amends when Mills’ long clearance put him in on Alex McCarthy’s goal but the England Under-21 keeper produced a smart save from the Frenchman to preserve his side’s lead, doubled a few moments later by Le Fondre.
Mills was beaten in the air by Pavel Pogrebnyak and Le Fondre had ghosted in past Zat Knight to keep his composure and slot the ball home.
Five minutes later he was collecting the match ball. This time it was Ream who got in a complete mess with Jay Spearing’s pass to allow McCleary to raid into the penalty box again, laying a pass off for Le Fondre to tap into the net.
Wanderers’ horror half wasn’t over yet. Jordan Obita got down the left and when his cross was blocked by Alex Baptiste, the referee pointed to the spot.
It looked somewhat harsh considering the full-back’s proximity – but Pogrebnyak didn’t care, slotting the ball past Lonergan to make it 4-0.
After the break Le Fondre should have took his own tally to four, volleying over the top from close range after Pogrebnyak’s head back at the far post.
Wanderers’ utter hopelessness at the back was summed up when Spearing gave away a needless corner and after it had been fire into the box, Ngog tripped on his clearance to allow McCleary to cross for Kaspars Gorkss to ram home a fifth.
And yet still the misery continued. Hope Akpan pounced from close range to make it six, then sub Nick Blackman produced the goal of the day with a sweet right-footed effort to make it seven.
You can read a blow-by-blow account of the game in our Matchday Live blog here.