Reading 5 Middlesbrough 2: Steele injury adds to mounting problems for Boro chief Mowbray

Honest Middlesbrough manager Tony Mowbray admitted his side were second best throughout as Ian Harte and Shane Long each bagged a brace as Reading extended their unbeaten run in the league to six matches with a thumping win over the strugglers.

Mowbray said: “Right from early on we were under pressure. In the first five minutes we conceded half-a-dozen corners and it never got much better.

Reading have a lot of intensity in their play and their front two work really hard.

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“I have been in charge for 19 or 20 games but it’s the first time we have found a performance like that. Even if we have had bad results we have always been in matches.

“This was the first time we have been outfought and outplayed.

“It’s not a day for excuses. We must put it behind us straight away. I would never have thought today that we could find that level of performance after the way we played at Nottingham Forest.”

Mowbray had a further concern over goalkeeper Jason Steele, who had to be replaced by Connor Ripley before half-time with what appeared to be an injury to his side.

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“Jason Steele will need a scan, but he looks uncomfortable at the moment,” said Mowbray.

“It’s something we will have to address over the weekend. I think we will have to find a goalkeeper.”

After watching his side beat Middlesbrough 5-2 at the Madejski Stadium, Reading chief Brian McDermott praised his players for the way they played in their first game since the midweek FA Cup win at Everton.

Hal Robson-Kanu put the Royals in front in the 14th minute before Leroy Lita pulled Boro level with a 29th-minute strike.

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Harte and Long both netted braces before Lita struck a 72nd-minute penalty.

Reading: McCarthy, Gunnarsson, Mills, Khizanishvili, Harte, Kebe (Antonio 82), Tabb, Leigertwood, Robson-Kanu, Hunt (Manset 86), Long (Church 69). Unused substitutes: Andersen, Karacan, Howard, Morrison.

Middlesbrough: Steele (Ripley 40), McMahon, Hines, Grounds, Bennett, Taylor, Robson (Rhys Williams 60), Bailey, Zemmama (Boyd 46), Lita, Emnes. Unused substitutes: Haas, Kink, Halliday, Smallwood.

Referee: N Swarbrick (Lancashire).

Man of the match: Ian Harte.