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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
08:17 1st January 2014

Kelly nicks dramatic draw

Reading 1 (Kelly 90) 
Nottingham Forest 1 (Halford 36) 



Stephen Kelly headed home a 95th minute equaliser at Madejski Stadium to earn Nigel Adkins' men what could be a crucial point at home to Nottingham Forest this afternoon. 

Former Royal Greg Halford had given Forest the lead with a well-directed header in a first half that was lacking any flow and precision, in part due to the swirling winds and driving rain that was descending upon the Royals' home. 

The second period was equally scrappy and Matt Derbyshire came off the bench to squander two great chances to put the result beyond doubt. 

But Reading earned the rewards for never giving up; the hosts tested Karl Darlow with powerful drives from Nick Blackman and Danny Guthrie before Kelly's dramatic leveller. 
           


Reading: McCarthy; Kelly, Cummings (J Taylor 82), Pearce, Gunter; Williams, Guthrie (c), McCleary (Drenthe 59), Blackman; Sharp (Le Fondre 59), Pogrebnyak.
Subs not used: Federici, Keown, Sweeney, Akpan. 
Yellow: Williams, Guthrie, Le Fondre, Pogbrenyak. 

Nottingham Forest: Darlow, Jara, Lichaj, Lascelles, Hobbs, Paterson, Lansbury, Chalobah (Greening 80), Reid (c), Mackie (Derbyshire 68), Halford (Cox 68).
Subs: De Vries, Harding, Osborn, Majewski. 
Yellow: Hobbs, Cox

Referee: Mr Michael Oliver  
Att: 19,873 (1,867 away) 



In horrible wet and windy conditions, Reading began the game on the front foot, not allowing their opponents a moment on the ball and biting at ankles all across the pitch. 

A dinked Nick Blackman free kick was headed against Chris Gunter and wide, ricocheting behind for a goal kick ten minutes in. 

Soon after, the lively Pogrebnyak bullied his way onto a loose header at the back and squeezed between two defenders and towards the edge of the Forest box, only for play to be pulled back for a handball in the big Russian's build up before he could pull the trigger. 

Jamie Paterson struck Forest's first shot at goal, scuttling inside from the right he drove a left-footed effort towards the target but it deflected off Gunter and skidded well wide. 

Paterson tried his luck again a minute later but Alex McCarthy easily gathered his effort from 25 yards in the centre of his goal without any fuss. 

With ten minutes left on the clock inf the first half, Nick Blackman brought the place to life, controlling the ball well with his body after Williams had switched the play to the right flank, then taking on his man and whipping a left-footed effort just over the crossbar. 

But Forest took the lead soon after. Greg Halford rose high above Chris Gunter to loop a header over Alex McCarthy and into the top left corner. And that one chance was to separate the sides at the interval. 

HALF TIME 

Five minutes into the second half and Halford had a golden chance to double the visitors' advantage. A lovely cross from Andy Reid found Halford in space on the edge of the six yard box but his downward header was well saved by McCarthy, who got down well low to his right. 

Then Paterson came close when a lofted cross drifted over everyone and from the tightest of angles the Forest man directed a shot on target only to see Stephen Kelly block it on the goalline. 

Nigel Adkins made a double change, bringing on Adam Le Fondre and Royston Drenthe just before the hour, then Billy Davies did the same by introducing Simon Cox and Matt Derbyshire. 

Drenthe and Le Fondre combined with 20 minutes remaining, the former sliding the latter in down the right, but Alfie's low cut back cross was easily intercepted. 

Moments later, as the rain got heavier, Matt Derbyshire had an opportunity to make it 2-0, but curled a shot wide of the right post from the edge of the area. 

And Derbyshire had an even better opportunity when Lansbury turned it onto him inside the Royals's box, but the substitute dragged his left-footed effort wide of the target. 

12 minutes left and Blackman was allowed to run from the half way line, the midfielder leathering a swerving effort that Darlow did well to parry away from danger. 

From the resulting corner, Reading came even closer. Alex Pearce was unmarked and directed a header towards the bottom right corner, but Matt Derbyshire headed off his line and behind for another corner to the home crowd's despair. 

Drenthe then dragged well wide from a good 25 yards out as Reading pressed for an equaliser. And Guthrie forced Darlow into a stunning diving save with a thunderbolt effort from range that looked like it would set the net rippling from the moment it left the captain's laces. 

Time was running out but Reading kept pumping balls forward, pressing for a scrap that might fall their way. And in the final minute of injury time, it came. 

Gunter won a free kick 40 yards out on the right and Drenthe curled it dangerously into the Forest box. Stephen Kelly rose in a crowded box and placed a header just beyond the reach of Darlow and inside the right post. 

It was a smash and grab point, but it broke a run of three straight defeats and earned Nigel Adkins what could be a vital point against one of our play-off rivals.