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Home sweet home, as winning run continues.

Byline: Chris Wathan Football correspondent chris.wathan@walesonline.co.uk

CARDIFF CITY ..................... 2 PEARCE (OG) 20 WHITTINGHAM 45 READING ............................... 1 HECTOR 81 ATTENDANCE: 20,643 REFEREE: JAMES LININGTON (ISLE OF WIGHT) DRIVING Welsh rain, bitter November cold and yet the Bluebirds would like to be nowhere else than Cardiff City Stadium right now.

After all, it is very much a case of home sweet home for a side who has now made it five straight wins on their own patch.

Uninspiring but relatively uncomplicated as two first-half goals and a sending-off as part of an Alex Pearce nightmare made sure of the job before anyone had a chance to complain about the weather. Or mutter about the performance.

That said, there would have been more than just moans had Michael Hector's late strike forced a comeback as Cardiff somehow found themselves under late pressure despite the advantages.

Reading may well feel as though they would have deserved it the way fortune eluded them and stopped them making more of the fact Cardiff were anything but convincing.

Indeed, an own goal from Pearce, a penalty conceded by the same man and an inevitable red card all inside 45 minutes do tell a tale of a night of cursed luck, especially given they had played far the better football.

Yet, at the same time, never did Cardiff's sturdy-looking defence look troubled with the incisive passing in front of them. At least until a late Royals rally.

And rarely was David Marshall tested until Hector's shot somehow dribbled through his legs.

Ultimately, the odd-flash of quality at the other end proved enough.

On 20 minutes it had been the quick feet and delivery of Anthony Pilkington to force a corner, from which a Peter Whittingham set-piece forced Pearce to turn into his own net.

And in first-half injury time it was a clever through-ball and then clever movement from Adam Le Fondre that tempted Pearce into a clumsy manhandling to see the spot-kick awarded. Whittingham, like so often, had little hesitation in dispatching.

So not a win to start a compelling case for promotion and yet, under Russell Slade, the 100% record continues at Cardiff City Stadium.

With Rotherham and Brentford to come before Christmas, it could well be that the 10 successive victories achieved by the title-winning team of a couple of years back comes into view.

They will need to be better than this and, of course, Slade will not need reminding that perhaps a truer test of his side's credentials will come on the road where they are yet to score, let alone taste success.

Watford in a week's time will be a better yardstick.

They will unlikely be allowed to watch the Hornets or many other sides pass around them the way Reading did and not come unstuck or at least face greater pressure.

And while things became more straightforward after the second goal, the man advantage made it difficult to pass judgement.

But, if Slade was asked to organise and simplify, there was evidence of that.

While Reading probed with passes and lost markers through movement, there was an unbudging red wall on the edge of their area that was not broken down until the death.

They relaxed a little too much and Reading deserved their hope when Cardiff failed to clear a corner and Hector drove a shot from the edge of the box, the presumably unsighted Marshall unable to stop it heading between his legs.

Nevertheless, the record at home remains. The chance to change the record on the road is to come.

CAPTION(S):

Reading's Alex Pearce, under pressure from Ben Turner, puts the ball into his own net to give Cardiff the lead
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 22, 2014
Words:619
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