Late Murray goal earns point for Royals
Sunday 28th September 2014
Reading and Wolves played out a six-goal thriller at the Madejski Stadium, with Glenn Murray's late deflected strike earning a share of the points.
Nigel Adkins welcomed back Adam Federici into the starting XI after recovering from a calf injury, while Glenn Murray and Oliver Norwood returned after being cup-tied in the midweek defeat to Derby. It was a scrappy, yet even start to the contest, but the first clear cut chance went to the visitors, as George Saville`s run wasn`t tracked as he was slipped though, but Federici did stood firm to block his low shot.
This close call did seem to wake the team up though, as we started to apply from pressure on a Wolves backline that has only conceded three in the league so far this campaign. Simon Cox connected with Jordan Obita`s firm delivery, but his header dropped just wide. A goal did come though, as Michael Hector scored his first Royals goal, heading in Norwood`s perfect cross, worked from a short corner.
The opener seemed to rattle Wolves, who were coming into this game with just one defeat so in the league. Murray was looking lively and had a decent chance to double the lead, as he was free on the right-side of the area, but the angle was too narrow and his powerful shot went over the bar. Good feet from Jordan Obita on the left and a well-delivered cross fell nicely for Akpan at the back post, but didn`t connect properly.
Murray, who will still be wanting to make amends for his penalty miss against Sheffield Wednesday, went close once more - Wolves failed to clear their lines well enough and the ball fell to the on-loan Palace man, but his shot went just wide of Ikeme`s post. Kenny Jackett`s side did improve in the final five minutes of the half, applying some good pressure, but the Royals went in a goal up and deservedly so to.
The first half was the calm before the storm, in a second half which saw five goals. Oliver Norwood came to the Madejski Stadium with a reputation of long-range ability and nearly displayed just that, with a thirty-yard effort dipping onto the top of net. Danny Guthrie was brought on at half-time for Hope Akpan, in an attempt to get a better grasp of possession, but the experienced midfielder didn`t have the best of returns.
Guthrie was disposed on the half way line, which allowed the pacey and powerful Bakary Sako to run down the left wing, whose cross to the back post was finished off by former Royals player James Henry. While the defending was questionable, Guthrie will have to take some responsibility for the goal. This would reinvigorate Wolves though, as they scored a second to completely turn the game around minutes later.
Unfortunately, it was another mistake too, this time from young Jordan Obita, who was able to read the winger`s trail of though, but rather than clearing his lines for a corner, opted to turn inside and clear with his weaker foot. However, his clearance was very poor and it rebounded kindly for Lee Evans to slot the ball into the corner, giving Federici no chance and giving his side the lead just ten minutes into the second half.
We don`t seem to respond well when we concede at home, but the lads proved they have thicker skin this time round, as Jake Taylor scored just over a minute later to level the scores one again. Poor defending from Wolves gave Cox the space one-on-one with the defender, creating the space to slot in the young Welshman, who made no mistake in calmly placing the ball under the onrushing Ikeme.
The defending on show wouldn`t have pleased either manager, as both sides looked content on going for all three points. Leon Clarke has only scored one goal since his return to Wolves in January and probably won`t go much closer to scoring his second, as he met Henry`s free kick, but flicked it just wide. The game endured a quiet period until the final five minutes, where the game reached its boiling point.
Wolves won a corner on the right-side, which was dangerously whipped in by Sako into our six-yard area and despite it looking like a close call, the linesman waved his flag to signal a goal, as the ball went over the line in the melee. While David Edwards appeared to get a flick, the final touch appeared to come off the unfortunate Nick Blackman, with the assistant referee making the right call to award the goal.
A large majority at the Madejski Stadium would have thought that would have been that so late on, but Glenn Murray clearly had different plans with a minute to play. Nick Blackman was attacking down the left wing, but despite losing the ball, fell kindly to Mackie, who laid it off the forward to hit a superb first time shot into the top corner, although replays show it took a deflection off a Wolves man.
Both sides wanted the win, but the points were shared in the end, which was probably about right on the balance of play. While it was disappointing considering we were comfortable at half time, the character we showed to come back twice is great to see. The defending was far from ideal from our point of view, but both goals were arguably individual mistakes, so can be worked on. We now move on quickly to Wednesday night at Leeds.
Reading - 4-2-3-1: Federici; Gunter, Pearce, Hector, Obita; Akpan, Norwood; Blackman, Cox, Taylor; Murray.
Subs: Andersen, Cooper, Long, Kuhl, Guthrie, Mackie, Pogrebnyak.
Wolves - 4-5-1: Ikeme; Doherty, Batth, Stearman, Golbourne; Henry, Evans, McDonald, Saville, Sako; Clarke.
Subs: McCarey, Ebanks-Landell, Rowe, Edwards, Van la Parra, Jacobs, McAlinden.