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Federici error costs Royals

Reading
1 - 1
Nottingham Forest

Madejski Stadium

21st August 2010

Attendance: 17,324

Referee:

An uncharacteristic error from Adam Federici gave Forest a share of the spoils, after Alex Pearce had given us a first half lead. The Royals keeper kicked the ball into the back of Jem karacan, allowing the ball to drop to Robert Earnshaw who rounded the keeper and scored a simple goal.

Brian McDermott was boosted by the return to fitness of captain Matt Mills who took his place at the heart of the defence, leaving Brynjar Gunnarsson on the bench. He was joined by Simon Church who made way for the returning Shane Long upfront, the Irish striker leading the line in the usual 4-2-3-1 formation.

Forest started the brighter and we were dealt an early blow when Andy Griffin went off with a hamstring injury, replaced by Gunnarsson at right back. Radoslaw Majewski had the first meaningful effort of the game but Federici saved easily, before pulling off a much better save moments later from Robert Earnshaw.

Against the run of play though we took the lead and it was another scrappy goal, just as it had been the week before against Portsmouth. Jimmy Kebe and Long both tried to bundle the ball home but it fell to Alex Pearce who scored his first goal of the season.

We began to get a foothold in the game and passed the ball around well, with Brian Howard at the centre of a lot of things. However it was Federici who was the busiest keeper keeping out a header from Paul Anderson in fine fashion.

Kebe was having a difficult afternoon, marshalled by former loanee Ryan Bertrand, but Long did escape from the Forest left back only to see Howard miscue his shot and Jobi McAnuff miss the follow up.

The second period began with Howard testing Forest keeper Lee Camp again, the former QPR keeper pulling off a fine save, but it was Reading`s keeper who was about to take centre stage for all the wrong reasons. Federici gathered a simple ball and as usual looked to release the ball quickly with a trademark scissor kick. Unfortunately for him it hit Karacan on the back and fell straight at the feet of Earnshaw who rounded the keeper and scored the equaliser. On the balance of play, it was a goal Forest deserved, but the circumstances were not kind to our Australian keeper who had made some fine saves in the first half.

Forest had much the better of the second period and the likes of Anderson, and Luke Chambers, went close whilst Chris Cohen tried to claim a penalty but had clearly dived under the challenge of Kebe.

As we approached the final stages, Sigurdsson went very close with a traditional long range effort after good work from Howard, whilst Noel Hunt was introduced, for Long, and the Irishman had a chance almost immediately but Camp saved well.

That left both sides to settle for a point, that was a fair reflection on the game, but if we had perhaps been more adventurous we could have taken three points. Hunt looked lively in another brief cameo and perhaps alongside either Long, or Simon Church, we could have had more of an influence in front of goal in the second period. McDermott will argue that Forest had three in midfield, but a lot of sides will set up like that especially at the Madejski Stadium, and we must break them down.



Star Player

Brian Howard played very well in midfield, and was the Royals stand out player.

Positives

-Brynjar Gunnarsson deputising for the injured Andy Griffin for most of the game at right back. An excellent performance from the Icelander.
-Alex Pearce looked a lot better at centre half, and thats from his harshest critic.
-Matt Mills returning from injury, he only had an average game but to have 2 fit centre backs is a bonus!

Negatives

-Shane Long not looking much of a goal threat again
-Marcus Williams lack of support going forward is why we are not performing as well as we did at the end of last season, with Bertrand there.
-Jem Karacan is fast becoming the new James Harper, there is no real point to him in the midfield. He rarely breaks up play as a holding midfielder, and doesn't get forward and he can only pass sideways.


Writer:Steve Guscott
Date:Saturday August 21 2010
Time: 8:24PM

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