Pearce goal pushes Royals into auto places
10th March 2012
Attendance: 8,287 (546 away)
A 51st minute header from Alex Pearce was enough to gain Reading a point and take them into second place in the Championship, after they drew 1-1 with in-form side Doncaster.
Royals boss Brian McDermott decided to name an unchanged line-up that beat Leicester 3-1 just three days ago and it was the away side that had the better of the opening chances. An early Ian Harte corner was attacked by defender Kaspars Gorkss but El-Hadj Diouf cleared off the line.
Good work from Jem Karacan and Jobi McAnuff led to another corner, which was again attacked by Gorkss but this time he could not hit the target, when he probably should have done so. Donny had their first chance as a rare mistake from Federici allowed Barnes a half chance but he could not profit.
Ian Harte`s corners were to be a thorn in Doncaster`s side and another set piece from the former Leeds player led to Mikele Leigertwood heading over this time. Royals striker Jason Roberts then had a half chance from 12 yards which he scuffed.
It looked a matter of time before Brian McDermott`s men would take the lead as Noel Hunt then came close, from another Ian Harte corner. However, it was Donny who took the lead at the Keepmoat as a cross from the right beat the whole Royals defence and Kyle Bennett applied the finishing touch at the back post.
Reading struggled to plunger a response and looked shell-shocked by the goal. Captain Jobi McAnuff found some space on the right to cross but Robson-Kanu`s header wasn`t strong enough to beat Donny keeper Karl Ikeme and the stopper easily palmed the Welshman`s header away.
The only way the away side looked like they would equalise was through a set-piece and that was proved so in the 51st minute. Robson-Kanu did well to win a corner and another superb Ian Harte delivery was nodded home by Alex Pearce from 3 yards to give Reading a priceless equaliser.
This equalising goal gave the home side the wake-up call they needed and started to take the upper hand in the game. A clever Pascal Chimbonda flick gave on-loan striker Piquionne a half chance but his volley was dragged wide of Federici`s post.
Piquionne then almost turned provider as he set up defender Habib Beye but did not show any composure and screwed his effort way wide. However, Pearce almost grabbed his second in spectacular fashion as he chested the ball and hit a well-struck volley that Spurr had to clear off the line.
Substitute Adam Le Fondre has being playing the role of super-sub in recent months and could have potentially won it for the Royals as he stabbed wide after receiving the ball from Roberts. Piquionne then had another half chance but once again could not make the most of this chance and blazed over.
Donny keeper Carl Ikeme was then to be the man of the moment as he first saved from a firm drive from Jason Roberts and then saved a goal bound header from Noel Hunt. Kaspars Gorkss could then have won it in injury time as McAnuff squared it to the Latvian, but blazed his effort over the bar.
The point will be looked at in a positive light by both sides. Doncaster find themselves within one win of climbing out of the relegation zone, while the Royals overtake West Ham in second place.
Doncaster: Ikeme, Chimbonda, Hird, Spurr, Beye, Barnes, Gillet, Coppinger, Bennett, Diouf, Piquionne
ubs: Illunga, Lockwood, Oster, Hayter, Robert
Reading: Federici, Cummings, Pearce, Gorkss, Harte, Robson-Kanu, Karacan, Leigertwood, McAnuff, Hunt, Roberts
ubs: Andersen, Tabb, Cywka, Church, Le Fondre