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16:54 22nd January 2011

Report: Harte levels it for Royals

Reading 1 (Harte 80 (p))
Hull 1 (Evans 51)

The Royals came back from a goal down to draw 1-1 with Hull City, the least they deserved from a tight game at Madejski Stadium.

Reading were the better team in the first half and could well have had a penalty but went in 0-0 at the interval; the game a little too staccato given the number of infringements.

Early in the second half Corry Evans pounced on a defensive lapse to make it 1-0 to the visitors against the run of play, but again we showed great character to earn a result.

Ian Harte smacked home an excellent penalty to level matters, Shane Long have been fouled to win the spot kick.

Harte showed great character and quality to score from 12 yards, his uncharacteristic mistake having led to Hull's opener, and with the goal he showed why he's enjoyed such a long career in the game.

This result means we have only lost two in our last 16 fixtures, an excellent run from Brian McDermott's men. We gave all we could in search of a win, new striker Mathieu Manset coming on in the second half but we couldn't find that second chance to take all three points.

Reading (4-4-2): Federici; Griffin, Harte, Mills (c), Pearce; Karacan (Robson-Kanu 73), Leigertwood, Kebe, McAnuff; Church (Manset 62), Long
Subs: McCarthy, Cummings, Ingimarsson, Howard, Tabb

Hull (4-4-2): Guzan; Rosenior, Dawson, Chester, Gerrard; Ashbee (c), Harper, Koren, Stewart (Evans HT); Fryatt, McLean (Barmby 83)
Subs: Oxley, Evans, McShane, Bullard, Devitt, Simpson
Booked: Dawson (foul 33), Ashbee (foul 45+1), Rosenior (timewasting 63)

Ref: JJ Linington

Attendance: 16,494 (1,166 away)

Starting XI team news
The Royals made two changes to their starting XI, Matt Mills back from injury and taking over from Ivar Ingimarsson; Simon Church coming in for the injured Noel Hunt. New signing Mathieu Manset was on the bench after signing at 6:30pm on Friday evening. Liam Rosenior and James Harper both started for the visitors.

Click here to see the teamsheet from the game.

First half
Both sides made inroads early on, Shane Long denied a run at goal by a questionable offside flag, then Matty Fryatt's tame shot was easily saved by Adam Federici.

Shane Long required a couple of minutes' treatment after going down holding his knee, but thankfully was OK to continue, and then saw a shot blocked after great work by Jimmy Kebe.

Kebe then had a great shout for a penalty but his appeals were waved away by the officials. Andy Dawson had been turned inside out, and he certainly didn't touch the ball. It might have been a tiny bit soft but outside the box it would have been a foul 99 times out of 100 and Hull were very lucky.

As the half reached its midway point Reading were well on top, and Jobi McAnuff went on a cracking run but his cross/shot was saved by Brad Guzan. He then tried his luck from 25 yards and was not too far wide of the upright.

Just before the half hour Long was twice close to breaking the deadlock, first when sent clear down the left but he never really had it under control and didn't get a good shot away. Then moments later Brad Guzan made a superb save from Shane's header down low at his near post following Ian Harte's excellent delivery.

McAnuff was very close to an opener just before the break but curled narrowly wide after another incisive run, cutting in well from the left hand side. That was the last acition of the game and only one minute of time was added even though Long had surely been down for more than a minute when receiving treatment for his injury.

Second half
An excellent low ball from Kebe nearly created an early chance for Long in the second half, but Guzan was on hand.

The visitors had made a change at half time, bringing on Corry Evans for Cameron Stewart, and it paid immediate dividends as Hull took the lead completely against the run of play. Robert Koren made his first real contribution by whipping in a low cross, and Harte tried to play it back to Federici, but it was not near enough the 'keeper for him to gather and Evans nipped in to prod home. The scoreline was exceptionally harsh but we had played an uncharacteristically disappointing part in allowing them to break the deadlock.

City had been handed a boost, and enjoyed a decent spell of pressure for the next few minutes, but we responded by bringing on Mathieu Manset for his Royals debut. Fryatt curled an effort wide, before Hal Robson-Kanu was also brought into the fray from the bench.

Reading kept themselves in the game, and got themselves back on level terms in the 80th minute. McAnuff played a lovely ball to Long, who took the ball away from Guzan inside the box and was clearly brought down.

With Long feeling the effects of the challenge, Harte stepped up, and despite something of a delay he smashed home a superb spot kick right into the corner. Guzan went the right way but had no chance. Credit must go to Harte for showing great character to step up and take responsibility, especially after his slip for Hull's goal. Simply, that's why he's been a top player for so many years.

Kebe was close to getting in down the right hand side but a defender got across well, then McAnuff hit one from range but it was easily saved and that was the last action of note. We had given all we could in the second half but couldn't find that second chance to take all three points. Even so, a run of two losses in 16 games is no mean feat.

Hull will have been much the happier of the sides with the point - we had shackled their two big money frontmen to great effect, and they had been on the back foot for 80% of the game. We showed great character to pick up another result, and the resilience in our squad is clear to see.
    Data provided by Press Association