Reading still looking for first Premier League win
29th September 2012
A sickening and controversial equaliser from Demba Ba, subjected Reading to another Premier League game without a win, despite Reading put in a very hearted and driven performance at the Madejski Stadium.
Royals boss Brian McDermott decided to ring the changes from the last Premier League game, keeping faith in the majority of the side that won at QPR in midweek. Both sides enjoyed a tentative start to the encounter, with the home side having plenty of the ball, but failing to create any clear cut chances to trouble Steve Harper in the Newcastle goal.
The first half chance of the match at the Madejski fell to Pavel Pogrebnyak, who couldn't stretch enough to get onto Jobi McAnuff's delicate, dinked ball into the Magpies box. Steve Harper was then worked on the 30 minute mark, as McAnuff again supplied the left-wing cross for the Pog, but the Russian's header was clawed away by the 37-year old.
Alan Pardew's side did not create a huge amount in the first half, with a wild Jonas Guitterez shot the only effort worth of noting for the visitors. The Royals continued to maintain the majority of the possession, but could not break down a resilient Newcastle back line as both teams went in level at the break.
The second period started with a similarly high intensity, with Hunt's deft flick almost sending Pogrebnyak through, but Steven Taylor's interception denied the big forward. Just minutes later, the first goal of the game was scored courtesy of the home side. A square ball from Jobi McAnuff allowed Jimmy Kebe space to run into and his scuffed shot from 10 yards wrong footed Steve Harper, to give Reading a deserved lead.
Just as Reading were thinking about the possibility of a first Premier League win of the season, Newcastle responded just seconds later. A lofted ball from Tiote through the middle of the Reading defence, allowed Demba Ba to volley home expertly from 12 yards. It looked as if it was going to be the same old story for the Royals faithful.
However, the home side bounced back with a goal of their own from man of the match Noel Hunt. The impressive McAnuff drove past substitute Tarvnier and delivered a superb ball for Hunt to rise and nod home to once again give Reading the lead. The away side almost responded minutes after, when a dangerous driven cross by Ben Arfa was just about dealt with Alex McCarthy and debutant Adrian Mariappa.
Reading were looking to seal the points at the Madejski Stadium by scoring a third and they came close to doing so. First, Kaspars Gorkss header from Shorey's free kick was just headed over, then Mariappa's low, driven cross was somehow not touched in by anyone in a Reading shirt. Mikele Leigertwood then had an effort of his own, but his wayward effort ballooned over Steve Harper's bar.
Brian McDermott's men would have then regretted missing those chances, as Newcastle once again bounced back. The ball was worked out well to Magpies substitute Shane Ferguson, whose enticing cross allowed Demba Ba to unconvincingly stroke home for his second of the afternoon. However, replays showed the final connection came off of the Senegalese's trailing arm.
This equalising goal pumped up the Royals fans and the team responded likewise. Despite being 37 years of age, Steve Harper made another stunning save, this time deny Jason Roberts a goal on his return. Harper however was beaten minutes later by Jobi McAnuff's superb finesse shot, but would slam off the left-hand post to deny Reading a first and deserved Premier League win.
Reading: McCarthy, Cummings, Mariappa, Gorkss, Shorey, Kebe, Leigertwood, Karacan, McAnuff, Hunt, Pogrebnyak
Subs: Taylor, Pearce, Guthrie, Robson-Kanu, McCleary Roberts, Le Fondre
Newcastle: Harper, Perch, Williamson, Taylor, Santon, Ben Arfa, Tiote, Bigirimana, Gutierrez, Ba, Cisse
Subs: Elliot, Tavernier, Ferguson, Anita, Obertan, Sh. Ameobi, Sa. Ameobi