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Royals draw

PUBLISHED

00:25 28th July 2012

Details from Olhao

SC Olhanense 1 (Duarte pen 64)
Reading 1 (Guthrie 23)


Danny Guthrie scored an excellent goal as Reading drew 1-1 in their final Portuguese friendly.

It was a good game against top flight opposition, and we would have won but for a questionable penalty decision.

The result is irrelevant though, and it was a proper workout against a good side. Porto, Sporting Lisbon and Benfica only drew here last season and it was easy to see why.

Alex McCarthy showed his quality as he returned from injury, while Noel Hunt came close to snatching a winner late on.

Sadly the second period was punctuated by far too many free kicks which spoiled proceedings somewhat, but it was ultimately of no concern and we return to England having stepped up our pre-season preparations.

Guthrie will have been very pleased with his goal - it was excellent both in terms of creating space for himself and the low angled finish.

Starting XI: McCarthy; Cummings, Harte, Gorkss, Pearce; Guthrie, Leigertwood, Robson-Kanu, McAnuff (c); Le Fondre, Pogrebnyak
From 60mins: McCarthy; Gunnarsson (Cummings 77), Shorey, Mariappa, Morrison; Guthrie, Tabb, Antonio, Obita; Church, Hunt
Sub: Henly

First half:
Reading could have taken the lead inside the first five minutes, Pavel Pogrebnyak winning possession well but failing to find Adam Le Fondre when in a very good position.

It was a good contest, and Olhanense forward Targino had Alex McCarthy at full stretch to make an excellent save from his 20-yarder.

Ian Harte then tried an audacious free kick from more than 35 yards, and it was on target, forcing Leandro into a decent save.

Soon though Reading did have the lead and it was a fine goal. A ball up found Hal Robson-Kanu, and his neat touch gave Danny Guthrie possession right on the edge of the box. The former Newcastle man had two or three defenders right on top of him but showed wonderful feet, first to lift the ball over one challenge then drag it away from another tackle before a lovely angled finish from 15 yards.

Although it continued to be a good game, it took until right on half time for the next effort on goal - again McCarthy saved very well from Ivanildo.

Second half:
From the first moments of the second half when Pogrebnyak was wrongly stopped from running at goal because of a handball decision, there were simply too many whistles.

Jobi McAnuff rightly wanted a penalty after a late challenge, and as the ball ran loose Le Fondre put in a very late challenge that sparked a confrontation between both sides. Le Fondre was booked - the minimum he expected - but there was the feeling that the home side got away with some cheap shots in the confrontation.

Then subs Noel Hunt and Sean Morrison were both booked in the space of minutes - Morrison's ridiculously harsh - and the game was getting away from the referee.

Hunt hit his own post defending a free kick, then Church looked sure to score but again the whistle brought play back.

It was therefore no surprise when Nicky Shorey was penalised for handball on the goalline even though it seemed to hit his chest. Rui Duarte did the rest from the spot.

There remained tension in the air, and another very late challenge, this time from Vasco on Michail Antonio, almost sparked another confrontation. It was agricultural to say the least and a booking was the bare minimum.

In a rare moment of action, Hunt then will feel he should have scored from Guthrie's excellent cross.

But that was that, and our tour ended with another good workout.

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