Soccer-Owen returns for Newcastle but Reading spoil the party

LONDON, April 30 Mon Apr 30, 2007 10:14pm BST

LONDON, April 30 (Reuters) - Reading spoilt Michael Owen's party on Monday when they beat Newcastle United 1-0 on the day the striker was celebrating playing his first match since June.

Dave Kitson's 51st minute goal sealed the points for Reading in a Premier League game where all the pre-match attention had been on Owen, who had not played since damaging knee ligaments in England's World Cup group stage draw with Sweden last June.

Newcastle fans had been waiting a year and a day for Owen to re-appear for the club since his last league match on April 29, 2006.

They only had to wait seven minutes before they saw him put the ball in the back of the net, although he was ruled offside.

Owen marked his return with several bright runs but it was Reading who got on the scoreboard.

Reading winger Seol Ki-hyeon crossed from the right and John Oster left the ball for Kitson at the back post to volley it past Newcastle goalkeeper Steve Harper. It was Kitson's first league goal since the first day of the season.

The win put Reading back in a UEFA Cup qualifying spot, highlighting the fine year they have had in their first season in the Premier League. With two games to go, they are seventh in the table with 54 points. Newcastle are 12th.

Despite the good news for Newcastle that Owen lasted the whole game, the team were hit by two new injury problems early in the second half.

Midfielder Antoine Sibierski was taken off and television reported he had been taken to hospital with a suspected broken arm, while Emre was carried off the pitch on a stretcher.