Royals lucky to snatch late draw against Forest
Wednesday 1st January 2014
Reading ended their run of three successive defeats with a last gasp equaliser against Nottingham Forest at the Madejski Stadium.
Royals boss Nigel Adkins made two enforced changes from the side that last to Middlesbrough, as the suspended Kaspars Gorkss and injured Jobi McAnuff departing for the incoming duo of Stephen Kelly and Nick Blackman, with Chris Gunter playing at centre back. Forest were controlling the possession early on in the match, but the home side were not allowing them any space.
The first thirty minutes of the game were very dire, with Forest`s Jamie Paterson being the only player who attempted to break the deadlock, firstly having an effort deflected wide by Gunter, before Alex McCarthy comfortably saved a long-ranger from the winger. Forest were dominating the ball and Reading had no threat going forward whatsoever.
For all his critics, the only Reading player who looked like making something happen was Nick Blackman. He received the ball out on the right side, before going past his man and driving inside and curling an effort just over - it was Reading`s first shot on goal all game, in what was a very lacklustre attacking showing. We were very lucky that Forest couldn`t find that cutting edge in the final third.
Reading`s failure to offer any attacking threat was punished though, as Forest took a lead ten minutes just before half time. Andy Reid`s freekick deep inside Forest`s half was drifted in perfectly for the head of Greg Halford, the former Reading player who scored his third goal in as many games. The header wasn`t necessarily powerful, but dropped perfectly into the net.
A massive second half improvement was needed from Adkins` side, but it could have got even worse if Halford could have taken his glorious chance. Andy Reid`s cross from the left was misjudged by Gunter, but the make-shift striker`s header was weak and allowed McCarthy to push it away from danger. Stephen Kelly then had to make a great block on the line minutes later from Paterson`s effort.
Substitutes Adam le Fondre and Royston Drenthe linked up well as the Dutchman`s smart pass laid it into a path for Alfie, but his pull back into the box was blocked by a Forest defender. If it wasn`t for the appalling finishing of Forest substitute Matt Derbyshire, the Royals probably would have been staring a fourth consecutive defeat in the face.
Reading failed to clear a ball which was well-worked by Forest in the Royals area and the striker put his effort just wide, before missing a guilt-edge opportunity, as Lansbury slotted him in ten yards out unmarked, but despairingly put his effort wide. It took 78 minutes for Reading to get a shot on target and it was the energetic Blackman who had it, forcing Darlow to tip over after a good 25-yard shot.
From the corner, Guthrie whipped it in for Pearce to meet but Derbyshire was proving helpful at the other end, deflecting the defenders header off the line. Drenthe was next to try his luck from long-range, but it went hopelessly wide. Reading were finally showing some attacking threat, as Danny Guthrie forced Darlow into a superb save after the midfielder pulled the trigger from 20 yards.
The Royals pushed well into injury time and eventually earned an equaliser, which they didn`t realise deserve if you look at the game prior to 80 minutes. A free-kick 40-yards out was whipped in superbly by Drenthe and rising highest for his first Reading goal was Stephen Kelly, getting on the end of it to give Reading a point which they really did not deserve.
Reading - 4-4-2: McCarthy, Kelly, Gunter, Pearce, Cummings, McCleary, Guthrie, Williams, Blackman, Sharp, Pogrebnyak
Subs: Federici, Sweeney, Keown, Akpan, J.Taylor, Drenthe, Le Fondre
Nottingham Forest - 4-2-3-1: Darlow, Lichaj, Hobbs, Lascelles, Jara, Chabolah, Lansbury, Paterson, Mackie, Reid, Halford
Subs: De Vries, Osborn, Harding, Greening, Majewski, Derbyshire, Cox