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Sky Bet Championship: Cardiff edge out Reading to maintain fine home form

Alex Pearce's nightmare first half helped Cardiff make it five straight home wins as they saw off 10-man Reading 2-1 on Friday night.

The Republic of Ireland international's 45 minutes to forget began with the game's opening goal when the Reading defender diverted Peter Whittingham's inswinging corner past his own goalkeeper.

And seconds before the break the centre-back saw red when he fouled former Royal Adam Le Fondre inside the box, allowing Whittingham to fire home the second from the penalty spot.

A late mistake from David Marshall allowed Michael Hector to net what turned out to be just a consolation for Nigel Adkins' men, who remain without an away win since August.

After an afternoon that saw their owner Vincent Tan and former manager Malky Mackay back in the headlines for all the wrong reasons, the spotlight turned to Cardiff's current incumbent Russell Slade as he looked to preserve his unbeaten home record since taking charge of the Bluebirds.

Slade's unchanged line-up had little of the ball in the opening 20 minutes, with Le Fondre's wayward header all they had to show for their endeavours.

That was until Reading skipper Chris Gunter, back at his boyhood club, was forced to put Craig Noone's inviting 19th-minute cross behind for a corner and Whittingham's back-post delivery was put past his own goalkeeper by Pearce.

Despite being behind Reading continued to look bright going forward against a Cardiff defence that had kept just two clean sheets all season, with Jordan Obita forcing Marshall into a stop at his near post.

But in first half added time centre-back Pearce's miserable evening was compounded with just the second sending-off of his career. A lovely raking ball from John Brayford from the left-back position fed Le Fondre and when his former team-mate hauled him down inside the box, referee James Linington produced the red card despite protestations from Gunter that Pearce was not the last man.

Whittingham stepped up and sent Adam Federici the wrong way from the spot as Cardiff cruised into the interval.

The Bluebirds picked up where they left off after the break with Federico Macheda forcing Federici into a diving save before wingers Anthony Pilkington and Craig Noone both fired over.

Having earned the penalty, Le Fondre was close to getting on the scoresheet himself against the club where he spent three years only for his optimistic chip to drop just the wrong side of the far post 12 minutes into the second half.

The home support were then up on their feet for the introduction of the popular playmaker Mats Daehli for just his second appearance since Slade's arrival.

But as the game ticked into the final 10 minutes they were sitting a little less comfortably after an error from Marshall allowed the 10 men a route back into the match. The ball pinged around the box before defender Hector's drilled effort from inside the box squirmed under the Scotland international to leave the vocal away following dreaming of the most unlikely of comebacks.

But the nearest Reading came to earning a late point was a penalty appeal for a foul on substitute Nick Blackman, only for Linington to show the forward a yellow card for diving.

Headlines for Cardiff City this week

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  • Sky Bet Championship: Cardiff edge out Reading to maintain fine home form

  • Alex Pearce's nightmare first half helped Cardiff make it five straight home wins as they saw off 10-man Reading 2-1 on Friday night.

  • Sky Bet Championship: Russell Slade wants Cardiff to take their sensational home form on the road

  • Russell Slade has called on Cardiff to take their sensational home form on the road after they made it five straight victories in front of their own supporters with a 2-1 win over Reading.

  • Dave Whelan controversy: Vincent Tan appalled by alleged anti-Semitic comments

  • Cardiff chairman Vincent Tan has launched a fierce attack on Wigan counterpart Dave Whelan following his alleged anti-Semitic comments in a newspaper interview.

  • Sky Bet Championship:

  • Cardiff manager Russell Slade is relishing home comforts again ahead of Friday night's Sky Bet Championship visit from Reading.

  • Transfer news: Championship clubs chasing Leicester City's Tom Lawrence on loan

  • Sky Sports understands Leicester City's Tom Lawrence is a loan target for a number of Championship clubs in January.

  • Morrison cleared of threatening to throw acid at his ex-girlfriend and have her killed

  • West Ham midfielder Ravel Morrison has been cleared of threatening to throw acid in the face of his ex-girlfriend and have her killed.

  • Sky Bet Championship: Ken Choo lands role as Cardiff's new chief executive officer

  • Cardiff have announced the appointment of Ken Choo as the club's new chief executive officer.

  • Sky Bet Championship: Birmingham claim 0-0 draw against Cardiff

  • Gary Rowett's unbeaten start as Birmingham manager continued with a spirited goalless draw against Cardiff in the Sky Bet at St Andrew's.

  • Sky Bet Championship: Cardiff boss Russell Slade 'raging' after defeat to Bolton

  • Cardiff boss Russell Slade admitted he was 'raging' after Tuesday night's 3-0 Sky Bet Championship defeat to Bolton.

  • Sky Bet Championship: Bolton ease past Cardiff with 3-0 home win

  • Liam Feeney's first goals since August 2013 helped Bolton boss Neil Lennon secure a second straight home win and continued Cardiff's travelling troubles as they won 3-0 at the Macron Stadium.

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