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Practice run-out

4 December 2012

Players get important game time

Several first team players got minutes under their belts as they played Stevenage's first team in a practice game at Madejski Stadium on Tuesday afternoon.

Our visitors, who had a weekend without first team football due to their FA Cup exit, were eager to get match action and named a side that illustrated why they have been in and out of the League One play-off places.

Chris Cummins, who took charge of the Royals side, named a team mixed with youth and first-team experience. The likes of Pavel Pogrebnyak, Alex Pearce, Kaspars Gorkss, Danny Guthrie and Garath McCleary all started alongside under-21 regulars Nick Arnold, Dominic Samuel and veteran Brynjar Gunnarsson.

The Royals looked dangerous early on and almost went ahead after nine minutes, but Stevenage goalkeeper Steve Arnold got the better of Noel Hunt - before Stuart Taylor was called into action at the other end.

But it was the Boro who opened the scoring, when an ambitious strike from Greg Tansey took a huge deflection and rolled into the net past Taylor shortly before half time.

Reading searched for an equaliser straight after the break. McCleary, causing problems down the right, delivered an excellent ball that narrowly evaded Samuel in the box.

Harte then tested Arnold with a quickly taken free-kick, but the goalkeeper got down low to palm it away. But our visitors doubled their lead with 15 minutes to go when David Gray slotted in from close range.

Guthrie needed treatment just before half time and was replaced at the break by Ryan Edwards, while another replacement, a young trialist, almost got on the scoresheet when his strike cannoned back off the crossbar a minute after the goal. Soon afterwards Hunt's glancing header flew wide just before the full time whistle.

All in all, it was a worthwhile exercise for the players to get game time ahead of a busy December and Christmas period for the Royals.

Royals: Taylor, Arnold, Pearce, Gorkss (c), Harte, Guthrie (Edwards 45), Gunnarsson, McCleary, Samuel (trialist 60), Pogrebnyak (Losasso 65), Hunt.
Subs not used: Henly, Sweeney, Webb.

Stevenage: Arnold; Gray, Hills, Roberts (c), NGala, Freeman, Dunne, Tansey, Grant; Akins, Haber.

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