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17:00 12th December 2009

Report: Royals held by the Iron

Reading 1 (Rasiak 16)
Scunthorpe 1 (Hooper 80)

The Royals were held to a draw by Scunthorpe United on Saturday afternoon, as Gary Hooper's second half strike made for a frustrating result at Madejski Stadium.

Grzegorz Rasiak's sixth goal of the season had given the home fans plenty to cheer about in the first period, but after seeing a series of chances go begging Brendan Rodgers' men were made to pay with just eleven minutes remaining.

Lady luck was not on their side as first Alex Pearce and then Gylfi Sigurdsson rattled the woodwork, but despite boasting the majority of the possession Reading couldn't find a way through before the full time whistle.

Reading (4-3-3): Federici; Cummings, Tabb, Ingimarsson (c), Pearce; Cisse, Matejovsky, Sigurdsson; McAnuff, Robson-Kanu (Kebe 65), Rasiak
Subs: Hamer, Armstrong, Mills, O'Dea, Karacan, Gunnarsson
Booked: Rasiak, Cisse

Scunthorpe (4-5-1): Lillis; Jones (c), Williams, Byrne (Wright 59), Mirfin; Togwell (O'Connor 66), Wright, Thompson, McCann, Hayes; Hooper (Forte 89)
Subs: Slocombe, Friend, Spence, Sparrow
Booked: Byrne, Wright, O'Connor

Attendance: 15,274 (395 away)

First Half
Brendan Rodgers made three changes from Tuesday night's defeat to Crystal Palace, with Brynjar Gunnarsson, Jimmy Kebe and illness victim Ryan Bertrand replaced by Shaun Cummings, Hal Robson-Kanu and Gylfi Sigurdsson.

November's player of the month Sigurdsson looked bright after his midweek rest and instantly began to show his form, cutting in from the right three minutes in before lashing a shot just wide of goal.

Jay Tabb was handed a new role on the left of defence and looked comfortable as he foraged forward after seven minutes, feeding Jobi McAnuff whose low cross was almost converted into an own goal as Rob Jones sliced over.

If Jobi's wing play is considered the norm then a mazy dribble from Ivar Ingimarsson is somewhat of a rarity - but the big Icelander surprised all as he drove into the Scunthorpe half moments later, passing a handful of players before swinging a pinpoint cross to Rasiak at the far post - who headed over.

The Iron did respond briefly as Gary Hooper broke into the left hand side of the area, but was denied by a brave diving stop from Adam Federici.

However it was the home side who took the lead sixteen minutes in, as Grzegorz Rasiak nodded home his sixth goal of the season. The catalyst was Marek Matejovsky, whose brilliantly disguised reverse pass found Robson-Kanu - allowing the youngster to cross for our Polish targetman to head home at the far post.

The lead was almost doubled seconds after the restart as Gylfi Sigurdsson forced a smart save out of Josh Lillis, before McAnuff came inches away from converting the rebound.

Hooper again tried to rally his side with a long range effort that was held by Federici, whilst at the other end a beautifully struck Sigurdsson free-kick was acrobatically tipped round the post by Lillis - an truly outstanding save.

From the resulting corner kick Alex Pearce smashed the ball against the crossbar after United failed to clear their lines following a goalmouth scramble - and the Royals were looking odds on to extend their lead.

They almost did so with a wonderfully crafted move started from the centre back position with Pearce, Matejovsky and Robson-Kanu both involved before Rasiak came within inches of converting a ball across the six-yard-box.

Second half

Brendan Rodgers' side picked up where they left off in the second period, as some scintillating play by McAnuff eventually found Sigurdsson unmarked 12 yards from goal - but the Icelander's effort was again brilliantly saved by the United 'keeper.

Federici had to be alert to cut short an Iron breakaway moments later as Paul Hayes almost went clean through on goal, whilst Sigurdsson scooped a shot over the bar at the other end after a well-placed knock down from Rasiak.

The Royals' leading scorer came close to bagging a brace after 63 minutes, as he headed goalwards from Sigurdsson's cross - only to see the highly impressive Lillis make another reaction stop, this time getting down low superbly.

Substitute Jimmy Kebe dragged wide after latching onto a well timed through ball from Jay Tabb, though in truth the tempo was dropping as the game wore on.

The lively Sigurdsson did spin and fire wide in a crowded penalty area after Jobi Mcanuff had escaped the attentions of the United back four, and Jobi continued to torment the back line as time after time he drove straight at the defence.

However the next goal would come against the run of play, as Scunthorpe equalised with ten minutes remaining. A ball into the heart of the area eventually found its way to Gary Hooper - who kept his composure to slot home from six yards.

That forced Reading to desperately push for the winner, as Ingimarsson again showed his ability to take the ball forward, releasing Kebe down the right hand side. The Malian's cross worked its way to Sigurdsson - but he could only strike over from inside the 18-yard box.

Gylfi seemed to be at the heart of everything, as he crashed another free-kick against the crossbar in the 87th minute after McAnuff had once again forced a foul on the edge of the area.

Nothing seemed to be going in favour of the home side as Jobi headed wide from a tight angle after another probing Kebe cross, though at the other end they were dealt a slice of fortune as Iron substitute Jonathan Forte danced past two Royals defenders before somehow clipping his shot wide of the post with only Federici left to beat.

Lillis did well to hold on to a stoppage time Jimmy Kebe drive with Kalifa Cisse ready to pounce on any fumble, and that was to be the last action of the game as referee Mr Bates called time on a frustrating afternoon at Madejski Stadium.
    Data provided by Press Association