Six-goal Madejski thriller ends all even
Saturday 17th August 2013
Reading and Watford shared the points in a six-goal thriller at the Madejski Stadium yesterday afternoon.
Royals boss Nigel Adkins opted to start both Adam Le Fondre and Nick Blackman in the game with Gianfranco Zola`s side, who had a 100% record coming into this game. It was a strong start to game from the hosts, who have struggled in their previous two games to give a good showing in the first half period, but in fact, it was more a good start!
Manuel Almunia, a keeper renowned for his supposed theatrics between the sticks, was in full force again, as the former Arsenal keeper punched away Jem Karacan`s cross, only into the path of striker Adam Le Fondre to rifle home from the edge of the area with a sublime left-footed volley. The Royals got a crucial early goal and they deserved it too considering the run of play.
Rather than letting the away side respond, Reading went in search of a second. A superb burst of acceleration from Drenthe, followed by a neat give-and-go with Le Fondre, gave Nick Blackman space to fire an effort just wide of goal. Forestieri attempted to reply for Watford with a stinging effort across goal, but the deflection off Alex Pearce went out for a corner.
The Hornets were playing much better in the latter stages of the first half, but couldn`t fashion any clear cut chances at the Madejski Stadium. Instead, it was the hosts who were creating the chances, as Le Fondre should have doubled his tally for the afternoon, after a deflected ball fell kindly into his path, but Almunia did well to stop the forward from close-range.
The second goal did eventually come a few minutes before the half time break and it was a move from the training ground. The Royals had a free kick 20 yards from goal, but instead of shooting Danny Guthrie dinked a cross for Alex Pearce at the back post to attack, but his effort was initially saved by Almunia, but midfielder Jem Karacan managed to bundle the ball home.
Into the second period, Zola made a few tactical tweaks that got his side firmly back into the contest. Anya`s dangerous cross from the left was attacked by the in-form Deeney, but goalkeeper Alex McCarthy somehow managed to claw his effort off the line, with Sean Morrison finishing the job. However, Reading failed to see the warning signs, as Watford got themselves back into the contest.
Decent build up play from Zola`s side forced a corner and it was from this set piece that Marco Faraoini rose highest to plant his header into the corner of the net. Watford were pushing for an equaliser and it almost came through the exciting talents of Forestieri, but Alex McCarthy tipped his dipping effort over his crossbar.
Just as Watford continued to push, Reading reinstated their two-goal lead, as Le Fondre`s squared ball in the box found Blackman, whose shanked effort fell to the feet of Karacan, who calmly slotted home. It appeared that Reading finally had the match wrapped up, but it wasn`t the case, as the away side pegged us back again minutes later.
Danny Guthrie hacked at Fabbrini in the penalty area, with the linesman flagging for a penalty and referee Mike Jones therefore pointing to the spot. Troy Deeney stepped up to slot it beyond Alex McCarthy for his fifth goal in three games. Le Fondre had another chance late on, but his effort on the volley was too casual and went harmlessly wide.
There have been some famous comebacks at the Madejski in recent years, good and bad, but unfortunately, this one wasn`t one to remember! Lewis McGugan wasn`t closed down 30-yards out and he fired an effort at goal, which deflected off a Royals player into the path of substitute Fabbrini, who poked the effort into the net from close range.
It was fair to say that Reading threw two points away, despite it being against a very good side. We didn`t have any real shape in the second half and struggled when Watford put another midfielder higher up the pitch. Five points from three games against three good sides is very good on the balance, we will play much worse sides this seasons. Onto the next one!
Reading - 4-2-3-1: McCarthy, Gunter, Bridge, Morrison, Pearce, Karacan, Guthrie, McAnuff, Drenthe, Le Fondre
Subs: Federici, Kelly, Mariappa, Williams, McCleary, Robson-Kanu, Pogrebnyak
Watford - 3-5-2: Almunia, Angella, Eksrand, Doyley, Anya, McGugan, Faraoni, Abdi, Iriney, Forestieri, Deeney
Subs: Bond, Brown, Smith, Pudil, Fabbrini, Acuna, Battocchio