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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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20 June 2020 Venue Madejski Stadium Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - Championship

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Match Previews

👊 Ahead of the game | Season starts again with Stoke

A look ahead to the visit of the Potters

19 June 2020

We’re going into this weekend looking for back-to-back wins… 15 weeks apart.

It feels like a lifetime ago that Pelé curled in a match-sealing goal at Birmingham City, helping the Royals to a 3-1 win at St Andrew’s – at the time, little did we know that we would be in for such a wait.

But finally, as we look to come out the other side of these troublesome times, football restarts this Saturday against Stoke City.

The Potters, while having a slow start to the season, have made impressive progress under Michael O’Neill since his mid-season appointment; they were one of the in-form sides when the season stopped, having just thrashed Hull City 5-1 in the Midlands.

But all momentum has been eradicated; everyone is going in fresh. 27 points available for each team to compete for – let’s try and get three on the board by Saturday evening…

iFollow

Club News

📬 iFollow promo codes now arriving for Season Ticket holders

18 June 2020

This is the part of our preview where we’d normally tell you about tickets and travel, what’s happening around the ground, and so on and so forth. But behind-closed-doors matches means that your support will instead be felt from afar.

Season Tickets holders have been sent promo codes for iFollow to allow them to watch the games live, either on their phone, tablet or computer. For more information about iFollow promo codes for Season Ticket holders, click here.

Meanwhile, all non-Season Ticket holders have the option of buying a £10 Video Match Pass for iFollow to watch this one live. Click here to purchase your Match Pass.

Pre-match chat

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Manager Mark Bowen: “Normally, you get a chance to build yourself into the season. But you can’t afford that now – you can’t afford to build up slowly.

“From the first game, you have to be at it. Physically and mentally, to meet the demands of it – and try to get that momentum for yourself that gets you through those nine games.”

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Captain Liam Moore: “We’re as ready as we can be. There’ll be no excuses. It’s just about transferring it onto the pitch on Saturday.

“I’m really proud of the group. I said before – everybody came back in good condition, so that’s already a positive. I can’t say too much because it’s the games that count – but we’re in a good place and when Saturday comes we want to tick off three points.”

What’s on

Fixture News

🌈 Royals to say ‘thank you’ to NHS key workers this weekend

18 June 2020

Along with the other EFL clubs who restart this weekend, we are using the opportunity to pay tribute to the endeavours and sacrifices of NHS key workers over the recent months – without which we would not be in a position to resume football. NHS ‘thank you’ logos will adorn the shirts of both Reading and Stoke players, and a minute’s applause will also be held ahead of the game.

In addition, the EFL and EFL Clubs are unequivocal in tackling racism and any form of discrimination in society.  The resumption of the football season this weekend provides us with the opportunity to stand together and strongly reiterate this message – more details will follow ahead of the game.

Reminder

It’s not a message that we would usually give to our supporters… but please do not travel to Madejski Stadium for this fixture. All supporters have the opportunity to watch the fixture remotely, and for the safety of everyone absolutely no unauthorised access to the match or the stadium grounds will be permitted.

We can’t wait to see you all soon – but for now it’s important that when we play, please stay away.

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Match Reports

📝 Match report | Injury time leveller denies Royals a winning return

Nick Powell headed home a 92nd minute equaliser to earn Stoke City a point at an empty Madejski Stadium this afternoon - after Reading had led through Lucas

20 June 2020

Reading were denied a winning return following football's resumption when Nick Powell headed home a close range equaliser to deny Lucas Joao the title of matchwinner at the Madejski.

Five minutes into the game and the first chance fell to the hosts. Jordan Obita made progress down the left and swung in a delightful cross. It fell to Joao who tried to glance it goalwards whilst pivoting away from his marker but it was easy for Jack Butland to collect it on his goalline.

But moments later, the Royals did take the lead. Olise rode a challenge in midfield and fed Meite wide on the right with a defence-splitting pass. He cut the ball back from the byline and picked out Joao who passed the ball into the bottom left corner with an assured finish.

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The Potters grew into the game a little and Nick Powell's deflected cross from the left side of the box floated just too high for Lasse Sorensen at the back post.

After a short drinks break, the Royals came close to doubling their lead when Olise found some space and pulled the trigger from 22 yards out, forcing Butland into a fine save low to his right.

Twice Reading came close to picking out Joao in the middle - first Chris Gunter's volleyed cross from the right flank, then Olise delivering a delightful ball into the box from the same flank only to see it skid past the outstretched leg of Joao in the middle.

Joao then made an opportunity all of his own, embarking on a direct run past a number of City players and into the box only to seemingly have his trailing leg clipped by Sorensen as he bore down on Butland. The referee waved away appeals and nothing was given.

But the striker's afternoon was frustratingly cut short soon after injury struck - George Puscas came on in his place to lead the line. The game lost a little flow in the final ten minutes of the half and the two teams retreated to their dressing area with Mark Bowen's men a goal to the good.

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Half-time | Reading 1-0 Stoke City

A huge appeal for a penalty kick-started the second half - Jordan Obita delivering a deep cross into the box and Morrison seemingly pushed in the back as he prepared to connect with a header. Nothing awarded.

In a carbon copy of his free-kick against Portsmouth in a pre-restart friendly last weekend, John Swift was denied by the underside of the crossbar - sweeping a free kick past the City wall and beyond Butland only to hear the sound of the woodwork echo around the stadium.

Nathan Collins directed a half-won header towards Reading's goal soon after, connecting with a corner from the right. But it was easy for Rafael to gather in as the hour mark approached. The narrowness of the lead was again almost exposed when Stoke broke at pace but the eventual shot at goal was blocked and looped over the bar for a corner.

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Stoke hit the woodwork with a little over 20 minutes remaining; Puscas kept a ball in to prevent a Stoke throw near half way but in doing so City regained possession and found Tyrese Campbell in the middle on the edge of the Royals box. He struck a good effort that deflected off a blocking defender and spun past Rafael's stretching arm to clip the outside of the left upright.

A fine Gunter block denied McClean a clear shot at goal as Stoke ramped up the pressure in search of a leveller. And it was McClean who sent a set piece just over the crossbar moments later, following Richards' foul on Campbell 25 yards out.

Swift's ankles were clipped just as he was about to pull the trigger following MEite's pull back - but no free kick was given the home side's way and we entered the final ten minutes with just a goal separating the sides.

Moore slid in to clear a dangerous McClean cross and both teams made changes - McCleary and Adam coming on to take out substitution tally to four, while Lee Gregory entered the fray as Stoke City's fifth change.

Powell took aim from range but his right-footed drive skewed wide of the target as four minutes of additional time were signalled.

And a late corner resulted in an injury time equaliser for the visitors. Charlie Adam's clearance was blocked and the ball bobbled behind for a corner, which was swung in. A downward Stoke header landed to Powell who nodded the ball scrappily over the line to make it 1-1 from close range.

It was a cruel end to a game which the Royals dominated for large parts, but a point apiece was the end result.

Full-time | Reading 1-1 Stoke City

Reading: Rafael, Gunter, Richards, Moore (c), Morrison, Obita, Swift, Ejaria (Adam 82), Olise (Rinomhota 72), Méïté (McCleary 82), João (Puscas 38).
Unused subs: Walker, Baldock, Blackett, Masika, Osho.
Goals: Joao (7) 

Stoke City: Butland, Ince (Vokes 66), Chester, Martins Indi (Gregory 82), Shawcross (Batth HT), Clucas, Powell, Campbell, Sorensen, Thompson (McLean HT), Collins (Smith 72).
Unused subs: Davies, Ward, Oakley-Booth, Tymon.
Goals: Powell (90+2)
Yellow: McClean, Clucas

Referee: Mr M Salisbury

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