Last minute goal denies deserved Royals victory
Saturday 9th August 2014
Attendance: 12,174 (699 away)
A last-gasp Wigan equaliser denied Reading a deserved victory at the DW Stadium, as the game finished 2-2 on the opening day of the season.
The biggest shock from Nigel Adkins` first team selection of the season was the inclusion of Adam Federici over Alex McCarthy in the Reading goal - read into that what you will. There was no starting place for new signing Simon Cox, who was on the bench, while there was a debut for academy player Ryan Edwards, who had a very impressive pre-season for the Royals.
Many were expecting the worse before this game, but we started very well at the DW Stadium. We had the first good chance too, as Boyce`s poor backpass was seized upon by Pogrebnyak, who squared to Edwards to force Carson into a smart save. From the resulting corner, Reading hit the post, as it looked to have come off Wigan`s debuting striker Oriol Riera.
Wigan started to come into the game more after twenty minutes, after a good spell of pressure from us. However, as it was last season, we didn`t build on this good start and found ourselves behind to a Callum McManaman goal. The winger originally broke the offside trap, but Federici saved well, but Waghorn kept the ball alive and it found its way to McMananman to chip Feders.
There wasn`t exactly a response from us, but we were still keeping decent possession and forcing a few free-kicks in dangerous positions, but none of which came to any use. The half-time whistle went, but despite the Latics being ahead, we were very much in the game and doing well. It was an even game, but Wigan looked more dangerous going forward, with the Pog looking isolated.
Adkins wouldn`t have changed too much at half-time, as we were doing well, but we came out in the second period looking brighter. Blackman showed a good turn of pace to beat his man and drive into the box, but his effort was blocked to Hector, whose effort was also blocked away. We were well on top in the opening exchanges of the second half, but couldn`t work that killer chance.
The manager decided to shift it about on the hour mark, bringing on Simon Cox for his second debut and Danny Guthrie, who recently returned from injury. The former Forest man made an immediate impact too, firing an early shot in from 25-yards which Carson saved well, before crossing well for Pogrebnyak minutes later, but the big Russian couldn`t get on the end of his teasing cross.
Our pressure was slowly building, as another corner was attacked by Nick Blackman, with his glancing header being saved superbly by the impressive Scott Carson. The pressure did finally tell though, as we scored a deserved equaliser through the unlikely source of Shaun Cummings, who scored his first goal for the club with an outstanding 20-yard drive into the bottom corner.
We weren`t interested in settling for the point though, as we went in search of a winner, with Blackman looking lively again, smashing an effort against the post from the edge of the area. Incredibly, we took the lead five minutes later, as Danny Guthrie`s smart free-kick found Pearce at the back post to head across to Sean Morrison to head home - who saw this coming?
We held our own at the DW, keeping possession very well and stopping the home side from getting into any sort of flow. However, just as cruel as football is, we conceded a stoppage time goal. A long-ball wasn`t defended well enough, as McManaman won a flick on, with James McArhur getting the crucial touch from five yards to score the equaliser in the third minute of injury time.
A cruel blow for us, despite being on top for the majority of the game, especially the second half. Deep down though, I think most of us would have taken a point before, it`s just the last minute equaliser that makes it feel deflating. It is still a good point against a good Wigan side, who won`t play like that many more times this season - plenty of positives to take away from this.
Wigan - 4-3-3: Carson; Boyce, Perch, Keinan, Taylor; Huws, Cowie, McArthur; McManaman, Waghorn, Riera.
Subs: Al-Habsi, Ramis, Barnett, Tavernier, Fyvie, Maloney, Fortune
Reading - 4-2-3-1: Federici; Gunter, Pearce, Morrison, Cummings; Hector, Obita; Blackman, Edwards, Taylor; Pogrebnyak.
Subs: McCarthy, Kuhl, Akpan, Guthrie, Stacey, Tanner, Cox