Reading 1 (Pearce 16)
Nottm Forest 1 (Earnshaw 49)
Nottingham Forest grabbed a point from the Royals after an entertaining encounter at Madejski Stadium.
Alex Pearce opened the scoring early on with a low finish from close range, and at that stage it was an even encounter with both sides in decent form.Adam Federici
had pulled off a couple of magnificent saves in the first half, but a hugely uncharacteristic error led to Forest's equaliser, his kick hitting one of our players on the back and falling to Robert Earnshaw, who finished tidily.
Reading responded very well and looked more likely to score a winner, and Forest stopper Lee Camp had to keep his side in the game, pulling off a number of fine stops, most notably from sub Noel Hunt and then Jimmy Kebe, both inside the last ten minutes.
There was more than a tinge of frustration at having not taken all three points. We gave it our all in the final stages and had it not been for Camp then we would surely have won.
Reading (4-2-3-1): Federici, Griffin (Gunnarsson 9), Williams, Mills (c), Pearce; Karacan, Howard, Kebe, McAnuff, Sigurdsson; Long (Hunt 78)
Subs: Hamer, Antonio, Robson-Kanu, Taylor, Church
Booked: Howard (foul 64), Pearce (foul 84)
Forest (4-4-2): Camp; Chambers, Bertrand, Morgan, Wilson; Majewski (McGugan 62), Moussi, Cohen, Anderson; Blackstock (Tyson 74), Earnshaw (Adebola 87)
Subs: Darlow, McCleary, Thornhill, Moloney
Booked: Blackstock (foul 23), Bertrand (foul 80)
Our official teamsheet is available here
Attendance: 17,324 (2,176 away)
Ref: Lee ProbertStarting XI team news
Matt Mills and Shane Long were both passed fit, so came into the starting XI in place of Brynjar Gunnarsson and Simon Church. Jay Tabb was unavailable. Forest gave a start to ex-Royal Ryan Bertrand, but captain Paul McKenna missed out after injuring himself in the warm-up.First half
Reading had to make an early change, Andy Griffin off injured with a knock picked up at Portsmouth last week; Brynjar Gunnarsson on in his place at right back.
Forest's Radoslaw Majewski was only in their team because of an injury to captain Paul McKenna in the warm-up, but he had the first meaningful shot with a back post volley that was saved easily by Adam Federici
Our 'keeper then pulled off a fantastic stop to deny Robert Earnshaw, getting down low to his left hand side to tip away his curling effort at full stretch; a great save.
With 14 on the clock we opened the scoring. With two sides who like to get the ball down and play, it was a surprisingly scrappy goal but we did not care how it came about as Alex Pearce
notched his first of the season, firing home from close range after both Jimmy Kebe and Shane Long had bites of the cherry inside the box.
The goal allowed us to step up a gear, and we nearly scored a cracking second when Gylfi Sigurdsson sent Jobi McAnuff down the left but his whipped cross was just too far ahead of the onrushing Long in the middle.
We continued to press, and did not allow Forest time on the ball as we looked to extend the advantage.
Having already made one cracking save, Federici then pulled off a wonderful left-handed stop up high in the top corner, keeping out a goalbound header from Paul Anderson; another piece of brilliance from our 'keeper. We immediately broke and Camp denied McAnuff.
Long was giving the home defence no time on the ball, and he shrugged off Ryan Bertrand to win possession in a good area. He picked out Brian Howard with a good pass, but the midfielder miscued badly. It fell straight to McAnuff, but he missed the target and a decent chance had passed.
Marcus Williams was then close to a fabulous goal, getting forward brilliantly from left back onto Long's pass. He was in the clear on the corner of the box, but Camp saved well to deny the defender his first ever professional goal.Second half
Reading had a good effort within 90 seconds of the restart, Howard forcing Grant into another smart save at his near post, palming over the bar.
With four minutes of the half gone, Forest were gifted an equaliser in incredible fashion. Federici, impeccable up to that point, gathered a loose ball in his hands and looked to kick clear quickly, but simply didn't notice Jem Karacan as he came across him and lashed it straight at his teammate's back on the edge of our box. It fell straight for Robert Earnshaw
, who nimbly rounded the keeper to slot home. It was a huge disappointment for Federici, who was simply looking to spring his team into attack with a trademark kick.
The game was then finely poised, and it was an even contest.
Forest wanted a foul and perhaps a card for Marcus Williams after Paul Anderson broke down their left, but referee Lee Probert was not interested and waved play on. Winger Anderson then tried his luck from range but Federici was able to see it over comfortably.
Midway through the half Sigurdsson had a chance from a free kick, but the angle was not great and he fired over.
Forest's Luke Chambers was next to go close, heading over from Chris Cohen's deep cross. Cohen had been in the thick of the action seconds before, going down in the box and incurring the wrath of our supporters for what they saw as simulation after Kebe tried to win the ball.
With 15 minutes to go Sigurdsson nearly scored a sensational goal. Howard and McAnuff combined brilliantly, and Sigurdsson left Camp stranded with a 25-yard curler; but sadly it went inches wide - very, very unlucky.
Noel Hunt was thrown on to a loud ovation with 12 minutes to go, and he was very close to a goal with his first touch. A nice move gave Howard a sight of goal, and his effort was deflected into Hunt's path but Camp was out well to save at the Irishman's feet.
Reading looked much the more likely to score late on, and a good cross from Pearce allowed Kebe to head impressively goalwards, but again Camp saved well; he'd kept his team in the game with a string of fine stops.
With time almost up, Howard was then sent on a very dangerous break, but with men over he tried to work it onto his right foot but a defender got there; a final opportunity passing us by as we were forced to settle for a point.
So in the end it was a touch frustrating to only take a point after looking the more likely to score a winner, and of course Forest's equaliser was an uncharacteristic gift from the Royals. Both teams played a full part in the game, but we had the best opportunities, especially in that final part of the game. We can take heart from the way we played though against a team that finished third last season, and we will quickly move on to Tuesday Carling Cup game with Northampton.