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16:58 24th September 2011

Report: Royals earn dramatic point

Coventry City 1 (McSheffrey 2)
Reading 1 (Church 10)

The Royals survived soem late drama to come from behind and earn a point at Coventry City this afternoon, thanks to Simon Church's well-taken 10th minute leveller.

Gary McSheffrey stunned the visitors by opening the scoring inside two minutes, firing a left-footed drive high into the Royals goal from a tight angle.

But the hosts' lead lasted only eight minutes - Simon Church profiting from good work from Jay Tabb and Adam Le Fondre to slot a right-footed effort inside the right post and make it 1-1.

Jobi McAnuff won a spokick soon after but Noel Hunt's penalty was saved, but Brian McDermott's men had a flurry chances to go ahead before the break, through Pearce, Leigertwood and Le Fondre amongst others.

At the other end, Adam Federici had to make tidy second half saves from David Bell, Lukas Jutkiewicz and McSheffrey in the second half - and in injury time Jutkiewicz won and missed a penalty which could have taken a deserved point away from Reading.

Coventry City (4-4-2): Murphy, Christie, Hussey, Cranie, Keogh; Thomas, Clingan, Bell, McSheffrey (O'Donovan 88); Jutkiewicz, McDonald (Platt 62).
Subs: Dunn, Deegan, Cameron.

Reading (4-4-2): Federici; Cummings, Mills, Gorkss, Pearce; Tabb, Leigertwood, Hunt (Robson-Kanu 72), McAnuff (c); Le Fondre (Manset 82), Church.
Subs: McCarthy, Gunnarsson, Howard.
Yellow: Cummings, Gorkss

Ref: E Ilderton
Att: 12,309 (815 away)

Starting XI team news
Brian McDermott made one change to the side that beat Doncaster last weekend. Jimmy Kebe missed out with a knock he picked up in the Rovers win, so Adam Le Fondre started up front, with Noel Hunt switching to a wide midfield position. Hal Robson-Kanu returned to the bench after a knee injury.

First half
Andy Thorn's men took no time at all to get into their stride. Reading had barely had a touch when Gary McSheffrey found some space down the left side of the box and hammered home a stunning left-footed effort from a tight angle. The home side couldn't have hoped for a better start.

But the Royals responded just as swiftly. Jay Tabb controlled the ball 30 yards out and fed a nice ball into Le Fondre. He turned to face goal and slid a lovely pass into Simon Church who had time to take a touch, line up his shot and place a right-footed effort wide of the diving Joe Murphy to level.

A marginally offside Le Fondre sought a second, flicking Cummings' dink into the box over the stranded Murphy but just wide of the right post. And Reading continued to press.

McAnuff almost supplied a great far post cross for Hunt, but Hussey managed to get his head to it first and concede a corner. Mills took the set piece which Murphy struggle to punch clear, and then Mills fired a deflected effort over the bar.

It was all Reading - Leigertwood arrowed a volley low at goal from the edge of the area, but Murphy managed to gather it into his body at the second attempt.

And Murphy had some serious work to do moments later, when McAnuff won a penalty! Tabb's ball into the Royals skipper led to Christie's clumsy challenge on McAnuff and the referee pointed to the spot. But Noel Hunt stepped up and saw his spotkick saved by the City stopper, who flung himself to his left to save well.

The setback didn't deter the visitors. Mills delivered a delightful ball from the right which Pearce headed just wide at the near post and McAnuff was looking lively and getting plenty of dangerous crosses into the box.

At the other end, McSheffrey was causing the Royals defenders the main concern. Federici had to palm away a fiery right-foot cross from the city goalscorer on the half hour mark and both McSheffrey and David Bell fizzed low drives just wide of the right post.

Mills tested Murphy with a free kick in first half injury time, but the sides went in level at the break.

Second half
For a moment it looked like the second half was about to start as the first had. McSheffrey got the ball 25 yards out and unleashed a powerful strike that Federici did well to tip over the crossbar.

But Reading soon got onto the front foot. Leigertwood almost latched onto a lovely one-two inside the Coventry area before McAnuff led a breakaway from the edge of the Royals' own area that almost created an opportunity to score a second.

Kaspars Gorkss had to produce a good header to flick McSheffrey's dinked cross off the forehead of Jutkiewicz on the hour mark, and Chris Hussey arrowed an effort well wide in scrappy spell on the hour mark.

City skipper Sammy Clingan drove a thunderbolt of a free kick at goal which forced a good save from Federici soon after as the hosts enjoyed a good spell.

And Jutkiewicz came closest with a barnstorming run down the left which ended in a good strike that Federici athletically pushed wide of his top right corner.

Hal Robson-Kanu replaced Hunt with 20 minutes remaining and he was soon in the action, heading over at the far post when presented with a difficult chance.

And Le Fondre connected with a good Church near post cross but under pressure from the goalkeeper could only direct it inches wide of the left upright.

McAnuff saw a left-footed effort brilliantly charged down by Bell and Brian McDermott threw Mathieu MAnet on for the final eight minutes to try to find a late winner.

But in the last minute of injury time, it was the hosts who almost earned all three points. On the break, Lukas Jutkiewicz tripped over Gorkss' foot to win a last gasp penalty. But the City striker skied his spotkick high into the stand to the disgust of the home supporters.
    Data provided by Press Association