Le Fondre pen awards opening day point
18th August 2012
Reading striker Adam Le Fondre scored a last minute penalty, as Reading drew 1-1 with Stoke City on the opening day of the Premier League season.
Royals boss Brian McDermott gave debut's to three players, including Chris Gunter, Danny Guthrie and Russian forward Pavel Pogrebnyak. The game suffered a slow start, with neither side getting into their stride. Ian Harte was delivering some enticing crosses into the box, but neither Le Fondre or Pogrebnyak could capitalise.
As the game wore on, the home side started to raise the tempo. Danny Guthrie's corner was met by Kaspars Gorkss, but his header went a few yards wide of the post. Stoke then had a chance from a set-piece themselves as good movement from Jon Walters allowed him to get a glancing touch on the ball, but just fizz wide of Federici's post.
However, in the 33rd minute, it was Tony Pulis' side that took the lead. The Royals defence failed to clear a ball down the right hand side, which found itself to Michael Kightly, whose tame shot somehow managed to slip through the grasp of the despairing Adam Federici and to give the away side the lead.
The goal very much shell-shocked the Royals, who lost the rhythm they had in the opening 30 minutes. Le Fondre and Robson-Kanu tried efforts to level the scoreline, but neither harmed Begovic's goal. However, the second period was much brighter from a Royals perspective.
Brian McDermott's side were getting more 'in the face' of Stoke and were delivering a lot more balls into the box, but still to no avail. Pavel Pogrebnyak then had half a case for a penalty, but referee Kevin Friend waved it away, after the Russian was sandwiched by two Stoke defenders.
The introduction of Garath McCleary certainly gave the Royals a needed boost and got involved straight away, as his reverse pass put Pogrebnyak through, but the Russian's effort was blocked away for a corner. From the resulting corner, Pearce's header back into the area landed on the Russian's head, but into the arms of Begovic.
Reading looked as if they had run out of idea's, until they had a lifeline on 88 minutes with the award of a spot kick. Smart work from Hunt and McCleary resulted in the former Forest man being brought down by Whitehead, who received his second yellow card. Adam Le Fondre confidently stepped up to put it beyond Begovic and give the Royals a deserved point from the game.
Reading: Federici, Gunter, Pearce, Gorkss, Harte, McAnuff, Guthrie, Leigertwood, Robson-Kanu (McCleary 67), Le Fondre, Pogrebnyak (Hunt 77)
Subs: McCarthy, Marriappa, Cummings, Tabb, McCleary, Hunt, Church
Stoke: Begovic, Wilkinson, Huth, Shawcross, Wilson, Kightly (Jerome 75), Whelan (Palacios 86), Whitehead, Etherington (Delap 80), Crouch, Walters
Subs: Sorensen, Shotton, Palacios, Delap, Ness, Jones, Jerome