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16:46 23rd January 2016

Hooper and Cooper ensure spoils are shared

The Royals came from behind to earn a point against an in form Sheffield Wednesday side this afternoon, thanks to Jake Cooper's second half header. Reading fell behind early to a stabbed effort from loan striker Gary Hooper and then failed to level from the spot when Matej Vydra brilliantly won a penalty only to be denied from 12 yards by the base of the right post.

The Royals did deservedly draw level when Jake Cooper headed the ball inside the left upright from a corner and both sides sought a winner in a frantic finish that saw new signing Yann Kermorgant miss a late headed chance when he ran onto Norwood's last gasp cross. But the points were shared.

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Manager Brian McDermott started with new signing George Evans in midfield, ahead of the injured Garath McCleary. Jordan Obita returned to the squad after injury to start at left-back, while fellow newcomer Yann Kermorgant was named on the bench.

The Royals breathed a sigh of relief with seven minutes played when a corner was fed out to Barry Bannan 25 yards out and although a number of bodies closed him down quickly, the midfielder still got his shot away and it cannoned into the base of the left post and was hacked to safety before another Owl could pounce.

Unfortunately, the woodwork didn't get in the way of Gary Hooper's stabbed effort two minutes later, the striker prodding the ball inside the same corner after goof build-up play from Hunt and Wallace down the right had found the forward 10 yards out in the middle.

A good run from Obita saw him skip inside two men before being dispossessed before he could pull the trigger inside the area, then Robson-Kanu intercepted a loose ball at the back but the ball ricocheted to safety instead of falling for the Royals forward.

Al Habsi had to push a snapshot from Hooper that took everyone by surprise, but then Reading had a chance to level. Vydra preyed on a loose touch from Loovens inside the box and the Wednesday skipper brought the livewire striker down inside the box. Referee Stephen Martin pointed to the spot, but Vydra stepped up and passed his penalty against the base of the right post to let the visitors off the hook.

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Anton Ferdinand volleyed a Gunter cross over the bar as Reading continued to press, the Cooper did well at the other end to force Forestieri wide before the striker drove into the side netting.

A nice exchange of passes down the left released Obita but his cross couldn't find anyone in the middle. A recycled corner gave Obita another chance to deliver from the right this time and Cooper was inches away from connecting with a lovely inswinging ball into the box.

Reading had responded well to going behind, but after Obita arrowed a speculative effort over Westwood's bar the teams headed back down the tunnel with Wednesday ahead.

Half-time: Reading 0 Sheffield Wednesday 1

Brian McDermott introduced Yann Kermorgant at the restart and the forward fizzed a good ball into Williams early in the second half, but the midfielder couldn't control it to set up a shooting opportunity.

Bannan whistled an effort wide at the other end, then Loovens turned a low Gunter cross behind for a Reading corner that was cleared more calmly that the captain's sliced hack past his own post.

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Somehow a superb sliding block from Gunter managed to deflect a Forestieri first time effort over the crossbar after Lee had fizzed the ball into the striker's right foot on the hour.

Robson-Kanu crossed deep for substitute Ola John who turned it back from the byline only to see Wednesday clear. Then HRK delivered another good cross onto the head of Vydra but the striker's nod towards goal lacked power and bounced harmlessly wide.

A wonderful ball from John then almost allowed Kermorgant a header at the far post but meeting it at the same time as the defender the ball bounced off Robson-Kanu's body and was hacked behind for a corner. From that corner though, the Royals did draw level, Jake Cooper rising above everyone and heading down past Westwood and inside the left post for 1-1.

Reading had renewed fight and, after three or four Reading players had worked had to win the ball back, Williams came close to threading the ball through to Vydra, winning a free kick instead which Norwood arced just over the bar.

Williams then volleyed a dropping ball wide after Ola John's floated cross had only been half headed clear, but Carlos Carvalhal's side weren't settling for a point and the opposition manager brought on Joao, Helan and Nuhiu to look for the win themselves.

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But Kermorgant squandered a glorious opportunity to win in in the final minute, running onto a Norwood cross but missing his header in front of goal when it seemed he would score the winner.

Norwood arrowed over from range and Reading threw one last long ball aimed towards Cooper which Wednesday cleared in injury time to ensure the spoils would be shared.

Full-time: Reading 1 Sheffield Wednesday 1

Reading: Al Habsi, Gunter, Obita, Ferdinand, Cooper, Norwood (c), Evans (John 65), Williams, Robson-Kanu, Piazon (Kermorgant HT), Vydra.
Subs: Bond, Keown, Taylor, Hector, Cox.

Sheffield Wednesday: Westwood, Hunt, Hutchinson, Loovens (c), Lee, Sasso,  Wallace (Helan 78), Pudil, Bannan, Hooper (Nuhiu 85), Forestieri (Joao 71).
Subs: Price, Palmer, Semedo, Bennett.
Yellow: Hunt, Lee.

Referee: Mr Stephen Martin
Att: 18,972 (2,533 away)