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Match Reports

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9 November 2013

Report: Honours even

Reading 1 (McCleary 61) 
 1 (Barton 78) 

The Royals maintained their unbeaten record at home this season with a 1-1 draw against high-flying QPR at Madejski Stadium this afternoon. 

Garath McCleary put the hosts ahead with a thunderbolt of a strike from fully 30 yards, swerving beyond the dive of Rob Green and in off the left post on the hour mark. 

But Joey Barton levelled matters late on, curling a well-struck free kick around the Royals wall and inside the right upright. 

Both Green and Alex McCarthy had plenty of saves to make, McCarthy twice denying Austin and pushing a Hoilett effort around his post, Green clawing a Chris Baird header away from danger and parrying Obita's low drive away with an outstretched leg. 

But honours ended even at the end of an entertaining early kick-off in front of the Sky Sports cameras. 

Reading: McCarthy, Kelly, Gunter, Gorkss, Morrison (c), Baird, Guthrie (Akpan 88), McCleary (McAnuff 88), Obita, Robson-Kanu (Sharp 88), Pogrebnyak
Subs: Federici, Cummings, Pearce, Le Fondre. 
Yellow: Pogrebnyak 

QPR: Green, Simpson, Assou-Ekotto, Dunne (Onuoha HT), Hill (c), Jenas (Kranjcar 31), Barton, O'Neil (Johnson 66), Phillips, Hoilett, Austin 
Subs: Chevanton, Traore, Henry, Murphy. 
Yellow: Assou-Ekotto

Referee: Anthony Taylor
Att: 21,497 (2,153 away)

First half  

Only three minutes in and QPR signalled their early intent with a fearsome strike from Junior Hoilett from 25 yards out that smacked against the top left stanchion and ricocheted to safety to Reading's relief. 

And Alex McCarthy had to made two tidy saves from the lively Charlie Austin within the space of a minute soon after, the first on the swivel on the right side of the box that was well parried, the second a golden opportunity for the Rangers striker that McCarthy did well to keep out with a low dive to his right. 

Matt Phillips twisted and turned his way past Kaspars Gorkss and found the side netting as Harry Redknapp's men began the brighter. 

But Reading began to find their feet and Jordan Obita thought he had won a penalty when he skipped into the box from the left and was blocked by Simpson, contact which forced the Royals winger to the floor. Penalty appeals were waved away by referee Anthony Taylor. 

Gary O'Neil squeezed a shot through a crowd of blue and white hooped bodies but wide of the bottom left corner, as QPR looked dangerous in the final third. 

The Royals were beginning to carve open some opportunities of their own though, McCleary dancing past Hill but firing over the crossbar with a left-footed effort from 20 yards out. 

And then McCleary raced into space down the right, crossed low in towards Robson-Kanu, he was crowded out on the edge of the six yard box but Pogrebnyak got a toe to the ball before QPR could clear it and stabbed a difficult chance inches wide of the right post. 

And as the half wore on the hosts grew in confidence, Gunter sweeping a lovely far post cross to Pogrebnyak who headed over Rob Green's crossbar with half an hour gone. 

Jermaine Jenas made way fro Niko Kranjcar moments later before a Guthrie free-kick was headed goalwards by Chris Baird and Green had to produce a great save to claw it away from danger, low to his left. 

Superb work from Pogrebnyak won the ball off Hill and the ball was worked wide to Obita who tried a speculative effort with the outside of his right boot that sailed over the bar, then Robson-Kanu got to the byline but his cut back couldn't find a Reading boot - but the Royals were looking much stronger. 

That said, Rangers continued to pose a threat. McCarthy had to push away a good Austin header five minutes before the break, and got down well to palm a tasty Hoilett drive around the base of his post. 

Second half 

QPR, replacing Dunne with Onuoha at half-time, began the second period in the ascendancy and Assou-Ekotto saw a low drive blocked by the body of Gorkss before Barton drilled well wide from range. 

But Rangers survived something of a scare when a low cross popped up and flicked off Barton's hand in the area - no penalty was given. 

They didn't survive a stupendous strike from McCleary moments later though. The Royals midfielder picked the ball up fully 30 yards out and unleashed an unstoppable strike that swerved beyond the hopeless dive of Green and nestled inside the bottom left corner. 

It was a stunning strike from distance, flying in off the left post and McCleary wheeled away displaying a message on a t-shirt underneath. 

Redknapp introduced Andy Johnson and he combined well with Austin for the latter to force a neat save from McCarthy, the Royals stopper well behind the striker's skidding strike from the edge of the area.

But Green had to make a much better save when with a quarter of an hour remaining the Royals broke and Jordan Obita rifled a sweetly-struck left-footed effort goalwards, Green just saving with his outstretched leg. 

Rangers, however, drew level with a lovely free kick. Gorkss conceded a free kick with a late challenge on Austin on the edge of the box, and Barton arced the set piece around the Royals' wall and inside the right post to make it 1-1. 

Nigel Adkins made a triple substitution as five minutes of injury time approached, throwing on Billy Sharp for his Madejski Stadium bow alongside McAnuff and Akpan. But as QPR hacked a last gasp corner away, the final whistle brought an entertaining affair to an end.

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