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ALF earns late draw

16 July 2013

1-1 in Portugal friendly

Belenenses 1 (Fredy 29 (pen))
Reading 1 (Le Fondre 86)

The Royals earned a deserved late draw with Belenenses thanks to an excellent Adam Le Fondre goal.

We trailed through a debatable penalty, but Le Fondre scored a well-taken late goal from a Jobi McAnuff pass to level matters. It was a fair result, and we had pushed for an equaliser for much of the game, Alex Pearce seeing a header cleared off the line and the lively Jordan Obita also going close.

Overall it was a very worthwhile exercise - 21 players got minutes under their belt, including a first match of pre-season for Alex McCarthy, and we stepped up preparations for the start of the season on 3rd August.

Team: McCarthy; Gunter, Bridge (Cummings HT), Mariappa, Morrison; Guthrie (c), Williams, McCleary, Obita; Blackman; Pogrebnyak (Le Fondre HT)
Team from 60 minutes: McCarthy; Kelly, Cummings, Gorkss, Pearce; Akpan, Karacan, Drenthe, McAnuff; J Taylor; Le Fondre
Sub: S Taylor

Full report:

First half:
Reading had good possession early on, and Jordan Obita went on an excellent run from the left wing, skipping past three or four challenges before seeing his shot blocked for a corner.

Obita was lively in the opening stages, putting in a testing cross before helping set up Danny Guthrie for an excellent strike not too far wide. Chris Gunter then almost supplied a tap-in for Pavel Pogrebnyak but his cross was held by the keeper.

After a good Royals spell the home side then took the lead, Alex McCarthy not clearing his lines in time and clipping the striker as he put him under pressure for a penalty. It was debatable and would be worth another look at the video to get a clearer picture. Alex went the right way but couldn't keep Fredy's spot kick out, and the home side almost doubled their lead moments later with an excellent long-range strike off the post. 

Reading tried to come back into it before half time, Garath McCleary arcing into the box well, before Sean Morrison headed an Obita free kick over.

Second half:
Obita went on a good early burst but Nick Blackman was harshly penalised as he challenged the 'keeper for a hanging cross. Jordan was then very close to equalising with an excellent curling effort that was only a foot or so wide following a Guthrie burst from deep, and the young winger put in a good performance.

Sub Jake Taylor was desperately close to an equaliser soon after coming on, but his header from Jobi McAnuff's cross was just wide. Fellow sub Royston Drenthe then tried his luck with a free kick, catching it like a bullet but firing straight at the wall. 

The game was open in the final stages and Taylor almost put Adam Le Fondre in, before the striker fired wide from 18 yards. But Le Fondre was not to be denied, scoring with a lovely touch and finish as the game came toward its conclusion. And credit to McAnuff for the assist; he was lively on the left wing.

So overall a good workout for Nigel Adkins' side, and 21 players have more minutes under their belt.

Look for highlights on Reading FC Player on Wednesday.

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