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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
16:40 6th February 2016

All square in scrappy stalemate

Reading and Wolves hustled and bustled their way through to a goalless draw in wet, blustery conditions at Madejski Stadium this afternoon.

In a game of very few clear cut chances, Ali Al Habsi had to palm a James Henry free kick wide while Oliver Norwood came close for the hosts with a low drive that was deflected inches wide of the bottom right corner. Yann Kermorgant almost stole the win for the Royals with a volley from the edge of the area that whistled just wide of the top corner, but the spoils were rightly shared.

Boss Brian McDermott made two changes to his side, starting captain Paul McShane at the back and also handing winger Garath McCleary a place in his eleven. The Royals manager also named new signing Deniss Rakels on the substitutes bench for the first time.

Wolves Body 1[1]

The opening 10 minutes saw chances at both ends - Ali Al Habsi had to race off his line to hack the ball clear of James Henry running through on goal, then McCleary made progress down the right for the Royals and his cut back found Robson-Kanu whose first time drive was brilliantly blocked before in could test Carl Ikeme.

Former Royals Academy graduate Henry swept a right-footed effort inches wide of the bottom left corner soon after as Wolves applied some early pressure, but Yann Kermorgant came close when his volley was deflected wide by a block from Conor Coady.

A corner dropped to the feet of Jake Cooper soon after, but his placed left-footed curler flew over and McCleary asked questioned of Ikeme's handling when eh cut in from the right to rifle a low drive at the target - Ikeme smothered it well in the centre of his goal.

Some good defending from Jordan Obita stole the ball off Rajiv Van La Parra after thew Wolves man had brought a ball over the top down well just inside the box, the Al Habsi had to be sure to tip a cross-shot over his bar on the half hour mark.

Al Habsi was at full stretch moments later to push a Henry free kick around his post, then Cooper showed a calm head to dink the ball over Bjorn Sigurdarson in clearing more danger from the Reading half.

  Wolves Body 2[1]

Exceptional work from Gunter on the right side allowed McCleary to win a free kick, but Gunter's deep delivery couldn't be turned back into the six yard box by Cooper at the far post.

Intricate work on the edge of the area almost saw Williams squeeze into the box, then Robson-Kanu's ball in behind was chased by Vydra only for it to roll behind for a goal kick.

Half-time: Reading 0 Wolves 0

Williams twice threatened to thread a killer pass in to Vydra at the very start of the second half, but Wolves came close to opening the scoring when a long ball forward was headed back by Gunter but wide of the onrushing Royals stopper who himself had come out to collect it. Henry had the chance to slot the ball into a gaping net but Al Habsi launched himself in front of his shot and parried brilliantly to deny Kenny Jackett's men a goal.

McShane directed a left-footed effort just wide after Wolves had failed to clear their lines, then Robson-Kanu crossed in towards Kermorgant from the right, but the blustery conditions were making for a scrappy affair.

Ola John was introduced and his cut back was teed up for Norwood on the edge of the area, but his low drive was deflected inches wide of the bottom right corner.

Coady dragged a scuffed 25-yard effort well wide, then Ebanks-Landell stabbed over after a corner had dropped to his feet, but Norwood won a free kick at the other end that had the sting taken out of it by a deflection off the Wolves wall on its way through to Ikeme.

As time began to run out, Robson-Kanu cut a low ball into the box where Ebanks-Landell hacked it clear, then the winger floated a cross to the far post but it was just beyond Vydra.

  Wolves Body 3[1]

Deniss Rakels was introduced with 12 minutes remaining, but Obita had to be alert in the home side's box to clear a deep cross off the head of Byrne. And McShane did superbly to come across and block an effort from Sigurdarson who had weaved his way into the area from the right.

Reading broke from a Wolves corner late on but John's cross from the left couldn't re-find Williams, who had begun the counter attack, in the middle. Then Robson-Kanu forced Ikeme into a smart low save in the final minute of the match.

  Wolves Body 4[1]

Appeals for a penalty fell on deaf ears when Rakels was bundled over on the edge of the six yard box, then with the last kick of the game Kermorgant teed himself up to volley just wide of the top right corner - what would have been a spectacular end to a scrappy encounter.

Full-time: Reading 0 Wolves 0

Reading: Al Habsi, Gunter, Obita, McShane (c), Cooper, Norwood, Williams, McCleary (John 58), Robson-Kanu, Kermorgant, Vydra (Rakels 79).
Subs: Bond, Ferdinand, Hector, Quinn, Piazon.
Yellow: McShane

Wolves: Ikeme, Iorfa, Batth (c), Ebanks-Landell, Doherty, McDonald, Coady, Saville, Van La Parra (Byrne 79), Henry, Sigurdarson.
Subs: McCarey, Deslandes, Rowe, Price, Mason, Le Fondre.
Yellow: Coady, Saville.

Referee: Mr T Harrington
Att: 17,771 (1,805 away)