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16:51 20th August 2011

Report: Opportunity missed for Royals

Reading 1 (Robson-Kanu 74 (p))
Barnsley 2 (Foster 27, Done 67)

Reading were left to rue two saved penalties in the space of three second half minutes as we went down to a very disappointing home defeat against Barnsley.

Despite having more possession, Reading were below par in the first half, and were caught out on a set piece when Stephen Foster headed home from a corner.

We raised our game after the break and Jem Karacan & Noel Hunt had great chances to equalise just after half time, then Luke Steele pulled off excellent penalty stops from Ian Harte then Noel Hunt in very quick succession.

Completely against the run of play Matt Done scored a sucker punch midway through the second half after finding space between our defenders, but Hal Robson-Kanu scored with our third penalty of the afternoon, coolly slotting home.

We pushed for an equaliser, but we had given ourselves too much to do and never got a late chance to level matters, while Adam Federici also made a great late save.

Simply put, we did not maintain our level for the full 90 minutes and therefore this goes down as very much a missed opportunity.

Reading: Federici; Gunnarsson (Manset 70), Harte, Khumalo, Pearce; Karacan, Leigertwood, Kebe, McAnuff (c); Hunt (Church 84), Robson-Kanu
Subs: McCarthy, Morrison, Obita

Barnsley: Steele; Wiseman, McEveley (McNulty 62), Edwards (c), Foster, Perkins, Done, Hassell, Butterfield (O'Brien 80); Davies, Haynes (Gray 58)
Subs: Preece, Govre
Booked: Foster (foul 49), McEveley (foul 57), Wiseman (timewasting 85)

Attendance: 15,878 (336 away)

Starting XI team news
Reading made two changes to the starting XI, Hal Robson-Kanu coming in for Mathieu Manset, while Brynjar Gunnarsson replaced the injured Andy Griffin at right back. Barnsley had to make a change after their warm-up, Miles Addison missing out with an injury and Bobby Hassell coming into the team.

First half
Reading looked to break the deadlock early on through their skipper, and Jobi McAnuff had a couple of decent efforts from range but Luke Steele saved with comfort.

Noel Hunt pulled off a sublime turn but his cross was difficult for Karacan to direct, then Hunt was controversially given offside when in a good position.

Barnsley began to come more and more into the game, and although they played some neat stuff, it was a set piece that got them in front.

A corner from their left was swung into the six yard box, and Stephen Foster got there ahead of Bongani Khumalo to stoop and head home from five yards.

We looked to get back on terms, and Alex Pearce almost stabbed in at the back post from a free kick, then Ian Harte swung and missed at the follow up when well placed from ten yards.

McAnuff then hit his best effort up to that point with a rasper from 20 yards, but Steele palmed it over.

Barnsley then had another good break and a low cross could well have made it 2-0 but there was nobody to follow up.

Just before the break excellent skill from Hal Robson-Kanu almost put Hunt in on goal, but Barnsley defended and went into the break in front.

Although Reading had enjoyed most of the possession, Barnsley had done a good job and in the opening 45 minutes we were certainly below our usual standards.

Second half
Reading came out for the second half in much better fettled, and Harte had a free kick well saved by Steele, before Jimmy Kebe's cross clipped the top of the bar.

We were dominant, and Jem Karacan should have done better than to put wide when given a great chance by Robson-Kanu.

Then Hunt had a very good chance but couldn't connect with a low header from Kebe's cross.

We then incredibly saw two penalties saved in the space of three minutes.

First of all Kebe was fouled by Jay McEveley, and Harte stepped up and put an excellent one right in the corner that Steele did brilliantly to save. It looked like the 'keeper had probably moved early, but it was still one heck of a stop.

Just moments later Robson-Kanu went to ground in the area, and Barnsley were very unhappy but again we had a spot kick. Harte handed the ball to Hunt, and he went for the same spot but again Steele did superbly to keep it out.

Adam Federici had barely touched the ball in the second half, but Barnsley hit us with a real sucker punch, a ball forward finding Matt Done much more easily than we would have liked and he finished neatly.

We regrouped and once again we were given a penalty, this time when Hunt went down. Robson-Kanu took responsibility, and coolly waited for Steele to commit before slotting home.

Barnsley sub Andy Gray then almost got in for the visitors, while Robson-Kanu had a decent low effort saved, then hit another one unfortunately into the back of sub Simon Church.

Craig Davies almost got one on the breakaway, and then Federici made a superb save from Gray's header. Despite five minutes of added time we could not get back on terms.

We did not maintain our level for the entirety of the game, and therefore this was very much an opportunity missed.

    Data provided by Press Association