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1-1
13 March 2021 Venue The City Ground Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - Championship

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Match Previews

🔜 Ahead of the game | Royals Nottingham bound for Forest test

Our preview of Saturday's trip to face Chris Hughton's side in the Midlands

12 March 2021

In the first of two trips to the Midlands in the space of four days, the Royals make the trip to the City Ground to take on Nottingham Forest, as we look to extend our unbeaten start to March with a fourth straight win.

Veljko Paunović's men will be hoping to do the double over Forest this weekend, having beaten them in Berkshire during the festive period as fans made a memorable return to the stands. 

Three points for the Royals in Nottinghamshire could see us move seven points clear of seventh, with 10 games to go. However, Saturday will be another battle, and far from easy, against a well-drilled Forest outfit who don't concede many goals.

How to watch

Saturday's meeting with Forest is available for supporters to watch via iFollow.

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Royals supporters can grab their Match Pass to watch proceedings unfold, by clicking here ahead of our 3pm kick-off in Nottinghamshire.

The opposition

It's been a tough season for Forest, but since the arrival of experienced boss and former Championship winner Chris Hughton, the Reds have pulled themselves clear of the drop zone, earning seven points in their last five games.

Last time out, Forest fell to a narrow 1-0 defeat to promotion chasers Watford, and are now winless in three, with their most recent victory coming against strugglers Rotherham United. Ryan Yates scored Forest's goal as they edged past the Millers.

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Within their ranks, Forest have three former Royals, defender Tyler Blackett who made 122 Reading appearances, and former loan strikers Glenn Murray and Lewis Grabban.

In January, Forest bolstered their hopes of a successful second-half of the season with the additions of Murray, and loanees James Garner and Filip Krovinovic who arrived from Manchester United and Benfica respectively. Saturday's hosts also extended their current loan agreement for Fulham winger Anthony Knockaert.

One to watch: Glenn Murray

A proven goalscorer at Premier League and Championship level with over 200 career goals, sharp shooter Murray is always a threat, something Royals fans will be well aware of, having seen him score eight goals in 18 appearances while on loan at Reading during the 2014-15 season. 

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Now aged 37, the Cumbria-born striker signed permanently for Forest in February, following his departure from Brighton. He left the Seagulls as the club's second top goalscorer of all time, an eight year spell during which he netted on 111 occasions, and enjoyed promotion to the Premier League. 

Murray began his career with Workington FC in 2002, before making a surge up the divisions, to play for the likes of Carlisle United, Rochdale, Crystal Palace, AFC Bournemout and Watford. 

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Since arriving at the City Ground, the striker who holds the record for the most goals scored in a Championship season (30) has found the net twice in nine appearances to date under friend and former-Brighton boss Chris Hughton.

Pre-match chat

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Head-to-head

The Royals are unbeaten in their last four meetings with Forest, dating back to August 2018, and they will be looking to continue this strong run of form against the Reds on Saturday.

The reverse fixture between the two teams earlier in the season was a monumental one, not only because the Royals ran out 2-0 winners, but because the game saw the long-awaited return of our supporters. Goals from Lucas João and Michael Morrison ensured we took the points back in early December.

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Our last trip to the City Ground in January 2020 saw us earn a share of the spoils against Forest for the second time in 11 days, as Sam Baldock's shot on the turn ensured the contest finished 1-1 in Nottingham.

We haven't tasted victory on Forest soil since Pavel Pogrebnyak, Jordan Obita and Kaspars Gorkss scored in a 3-2 win back in November 2013.

Reading have won 17 and drawn 12 of a total 49 meetings between the sides, the first of which came over 115 years ago, in February 1903.

Ref watch

Stephen Martin will be the man in the middle at the City Ground on Saturday, for what will be his first Reading game of the season.

Martin last took charge of a Royals fixture at the tail end of last season, during our 4-1 home defeat to Swansea City in July 2020. George Pușcaș was our scorer from the spot, while the Romanian was also yellow carded and Yakou Méïté was sent off on a tough afternoon at the Madejski.

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Mark Pottage and Matthew McGrath will assist Martin in Nottingham, while Oliver Langford will be the fourth official on this occasion.

During Martin's 24 league games to date, he has brandished 54 yellow cards and two additional red cards.

Reminder

A polite reminder to our supporters that no unauthorised access will be permitted to this game, so supporters must not travel to The City Ground.

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

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Match Reports

📝 Match Report | Royals come from behind to stretch unbeaten streak to four

Meite makes goalscoring comeback to earn Royals a point at Forest

13 March 2021

An unfortunate own goal looked set to separate the sides at the City Ground this afternoon until Yakou Meite came off the bench to earn the Royals a vital point - and Reading were denied by the woodwork twice in their search of victory.

Some miscommunication between Moore and Rafael gifted the hosts an early corner and it was headed out to Ameobi whose low drive was charged down. At the other end, Lucas Joao earned an early opportunity to shoot but skied his effort high over Brice Samba's crossbar.

Reading were enjoying good spells of possession and Yiadom fed Olise down the right side of the box. His low cross was in between Joao and Puscas in the middle though and the hosts cleared the danger.

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More joy down the right came through Yiadom who delivered a dangerous cross but the ball skidded past everyone including the lurking Olise in the middle. At the other end, Moore headed clear a Cyris Christie cross that sought the head of Glenn Murray.

The Royals continued to make the pace - Yiadom's low deflected cross hacked behind for a corner. Then Richards' dinked ball in from the left too close to Samba for Joao to take advantage of. Krovinovic tested Rafael's handling with an effort from distance but the Brazilian smothered it into his body on the bounce.

Rafael had to be alert at his near post to prevent the home side from taking the lead midway through the half - a cross from the left was flicked goalwards at the near post by Murray, Rafael parried it well and it landed safe.

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Joao threatened moments later when he collected the ball on half way, squeezed between two men and strode towards the Forest box. He earned a yard to get his shot away but it was easy for Samba to save.

The game was beginning to open up and Lolley nearly broke the deadlock when he arced a right-footed effort just wide of the right post. Olise arrowed over from 30 yards out at the other end, but the game remained goalless.

How the visitors weren't ahead soon after is a mystery. A worked corner saw McIntyre cleverly flick a low passed corner into the middle to Joao who scuffed his effort completely. The keeper was completely wrongfooted but the ball spun onto the post and wide as Joao looked to apply the finishing touch but agonisingly had to watch it deflect behind for a goal kick.

As two minutes of injury time were signalled, Reading broke through Joao and Olise. The ball was bundled into the path of Puscas but his instinctive shot was charged down. The teams were level as the rain began to fall at the break.

Half-time: Nottingham Forest 0-0 Reading

The second half began with Olise winning a free kick 25 yards out. He took the set piece but Samba was well behind his shot to gather it in on his goalline. At the other end, Knockaert crossed from the left and an umarked Krovinovic glanced a header wide.

But the hosts took the lead early in the second period. Ameobi outmuscled Richards on the right and strode along the byline before fizzing a low cross into the six yard box. Murray and Holmes arrived together and the ball was hammered high into the back of the Reading net for 1-0 - whether the Royals defender or the former Reading striker got there first was difficult to see but the home side had the advantage.

Almost immediately, Reading nearly levelled. Puscas was played in by Laurent but he arrowed a right-footed attempt over the crossbar when in a good position to test Samba. 


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Forest had their tails up and itr took a flying save from Rafael to deny Ameobi who pulled the trigger from distance and looked set to celebrate a second until Reading's keeper intervened.

The hosts were looking comfortable in their lead, defending in numbers to restrict the Royals to very little opportunity in front of goal. Puscas threaded a low centre in towards Meite in the middle but the Royals substitute couldn't stab a shot away although Joao retrieved it on the far side the danger had subsided.

Olise weaved his way forward down the right but placed his shot wide of the bottom right corner and time was starting to tick away.

The post stood in the Royals' way again with a quarter of an hour remaining - a threaded ball found its way to Yiadom who drilled a low shot against the base of the near post, perhaps Samba getting a touch to his with his legs to help take the effort off target.

Entering the final ten minutes, Yiadom held a cross up for Joao to attack and he rose above his marker to power a header just over the crossbar. 

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But Joao turned provider moments later to bring Reading back on level terms. He held off his man well to turn inside and split the Forest defence with a fine pass that found Meite. His first touch took him into the box but with plenty still to do he arrowed a left-footed shot past Samba to make it 1-1.

Suddenly, Reading were sniffing a winner and Aluko hooked a volley wide. Then a deep Olise cross found Holmes at the back post but he couldn't direct his header on target.

Olise swept a free kick harmlessly wide from 20 yards out late on and Meite tried from a similar position but Samba was well behind it. At the end of three minutes of injury time, a late Yiadom cross from the right fell for Joao who hooked an effort goalwards but saw his shot charged down to the sound of the final whistle.

Reading remain unbeaten in four and came from behind to earn what might prove a crucial point on the road.

Full-time: Nottingham Forest 1-1 Reading

Nottingham Forest: Samba, Christie, Figueiredo, Ameobi, Bong, Cafu, Lolley (Knockaert 33), Murray (Grabban 72), McKenna, Krovinovic (Freeman 80), Garner.
Unused subs: Smith, Mbe Soh, Mighten, Yates, Blackett, Taylor.
Yellow: Figueiredo
Scorer: Holmes (og) 50

Reading: Rafael, Yiadom, Richards, Moore (c), Holmes, McIntyre, Laurent, Semedo (Meite 62), Olise, Puscas (Aluko 74), Joao.
Unused subs: Southwood, Esteves, Baldock, Gibson, Tetek, East, Camara.
Scorer: Meite 81

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