Royals denied by late Cardiff strike
Cardiff City Stadium
1st Feb 2011
The Royals were left to rue a poor refereeing decision in the 7th minute of stoppage time as Craig Bellamy scored to equalise, after Mathieu Manset thought he had snatched all three points. The home side were awarded a free kick on the edge of the area when it was clearly never a foul, before Bellamy did the rest. Mikele Leigertwood gave us a first half lead before Jay Bothroyd equalised from a poor kick out from Adam Federici early in the second period.
Brian McDermott was pleased to welcome back Jimmy Kebe to the starting 11 and he replaced Hal Robson Kanu, who dropped to the bench where he was joined by Mathieu Manset. Alex Pearce and Brian Howard were still injured and did not travel to South Wales.
In the early stages the Royals were dealt a blow when Shane Long went off injured after picking up a knock on his hip in the first few minutes and despite battling on until the 18th minute, he had to be replaced by Noel Hunt. That didn`t affect our attacking play though and we took the lead with a second goal in four days from Mikele Leigertwood. Kebe raced past Lee Naylor and the ball eventually found its way to the on loan QPR man on the edge of the box, and he scored via a deflection that wrong footed the keeper.
We were confident and before the interval Kebe should have scored but saw the Cardiff keeper pull off an outstanding save after the Malian winger had deceived the four defenders trying to pick him up!
At the break Michael Chopra came on for the home side and he was in close proximity to Federici as the Australian keeper attempted a long ball forward. The ball fell straight to Jay Bothroyd about 40 yards out and he beat the Royals defence to calmly score the equaliser. Federici claimed that Chopra had impeded him but I am not so sure, and the fact we allowed Bothroyd to race past the defence and the keeper was disappointing.
It was then the substitutes who were in the thick of the action as the clocked ticked down, firstly Chris Burke blazed over from 8 yards out with the goal gapping. Then Royals sub Mathieu Manset thought he had won the game with his first goal for the club, in just his second appearance.
Jem Karacan and Noel Hunt did well and it was the Irish strikers cross that found Manset coming in at the back post and the Frenchman did the rest from close range. Unfortunately it wasn`t enough to take all three points.
A free kick was awarded on the edge of the area, a decision that angered the Royals players, and Craig Bellamy curled home the equaliser in the 7th minute of stoppage time. It was harsh on us as we looked to have taken all three points but a point on the whole was a fair result. It didn`t feel like it at the time though!