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Match Reports

Match Report : 14/09/2013

14 September 2013

Ten man stalemate

Reading 0
Brighton 0

The Royals battled to a goalless draw against Brighton this afternoon, picking up a point that takes them into 9th place and keeping their second successive clean sheet after the 1-0 win at Yeovil two weeks ago. 

Both teams were reduced to ten men in the first half - Pavel Pogrebnyak picking up cautions for a late tackle on Lua Lua and then simulation as he went down under and Andrews tackle, before Leonardo Ulloa saw red for a dangerous high foot on the head of Alex Pearce. 

And despite fewer players on the pitch, the game failed to truly open up after the interval. Alex McCarthy was forced into good low saves by susbtitute Ashley Barnes, Inigo Calderon and the right post came to the Royals' aid late in the game. 

At the other end, Tomasz Kuszczak twice denied Jem Karacan well-struck edge of the box efforts and both teams pressed for the one goal that was sure to decide it, but in vain. A point apiece. 

Reading: McCarthy, Kelly (Bridge HT), Gunter, Morrison (c), Pearce, Guthrie, Karacan (Blackman 85), Williams, Drenthe (Robson-Kanu HT), Le Fondre, Pogrebnyak.
Subs not used: Federici, Gorkss, Akpan, McAnuff. 
Yellow: Pearce, Drenthe, Guthrie 
Red: Pogrebnyak 

Brighton: Kuszczak, Ward, Calderon, Greer, Upson, Lopez (Barnes 60), Andrews, Crofts, Forster-Caskey, Lua Lua (Buckley 81), Ulloa. 
Subs: Brezovan, El Abd, Chicksen, Agustien, Buckley, Ince. 
Yellow: Lua Lua, Calderon, Crofts 
Red: Ulloa 

Referee: Graham Scott

Attendance: 18,306 (1,687 away)

First Half 

An early Sunday afternoon kick-off began quietly as both teams took some time to cautiously work each other out. 

The first opening came when Royston Drenthe overhead kicked a clearance into acres of space and Le Fondre scampered onto it, but Greer came across to dispossess the striker as he cut inside looking to shoot from the edge of the area. 

Drenthe himself tested Kuszczak with a free kick that curled towards the top right corner but was calmly saved by the former Manchester United stopper. 

Andrew Crofts came closer though, flying at a lovely cross from the right to send a bullet header inches wide of the right post, McCarthy helpless to do anything but watch it whistle just off target. 

Moments later, Albion broke and Lua Lua's driven effort deflected off the body of Gunter and fizzed wide of the near post and out for a corner. 

Ulloa directed a backward header across the face of the Royals' goal soon after and the visitors were enjoying a good spell. 

And after a flurry of yellow cards brandished by referee Graham Scott, Pavel Pogrebnyak went over as he battled to shield the ball from two Albion players and was deemed to have dived. The Russian was shown his second yellow of the half and ordered off the pitch. 

Before the break, Scott had evened it up - and rightly so. Brighton striker Leonardo Ulloa leapt into a head-high challenge trying to nick the ball away from Alex Pearce's head, but connecting only with the centre-half. A straight red was whipped out and both teams would start the second half with ten men. 

Forster-Caskey struck a right-footed effort wide of the bottom left corner and Lua Lua arrowed a speculative effort straight at McCarthy from distance before the interval, and McCarthy had to pull off a good save to deny Brighton a headed opener on the stroke of half-time but the teams went in 0-0 at the break.

Second Half

Nigel Adkins made two changes at half-time, introducing Wayne Bridge for Stephen Kelly and Hal Robson-Kanu for Royston Drenthe. 

And Reading started the second half brightly, Jem Karacan forcing Kuszczak into a very good low save as the midfielder's fizzed 20-yard effort scuttled towards the bottom right corner. 

Then Karacan came close again, this time trying to place a shot from a similar distance over the Polish keeper, but Kuszczak did enough to tip it over the crossbar and deny Karacan for a second time within the space of a few minutes. 

Reading were bossing things now, and Gunter's cross into the box almost found the head of Le Fondre but just floated over the striker and out for a goal kick. 

But at the other end, Albion remained a threat. David Lopez controlled a nice cut back to edge around his marker and then toed an effort past McCarthy from a tight angle, but well wide of goal. 

Calderon headed off target from a corner and Karacan tried another effort from the edge of the box, but this one curled wide of the top right corner. 

On the hour, substitute Ashley Barnes almost made an impact with his first touch, hooking a first time far post volley towards the bottom corner only for McCarthy to turn it around his post. 

And a minute later, McCarthy was in action again, pushing wide of his other upright as Calderon's skidding 22-yard effort threatened to creep inside the bottom right corner. 

Williams looped a header over after good work from Bridge on the left and then swept one into Kuszczak's body from the edge of the box, while Calderon at the opposite end volleyed over from 12 yards out. 

McCarthy pulled off the save of the game with 12 minutes left on the clock, somehow deflecting Barnes' effort at the near post out with the aid of the post and clinging on to the ball after Brighton's substitute had directed a low cross goalwards. 

Soon after a Reading corner was only cleared to Pearce who half-volleyed it on target only to see Kuszczak save low at his feet and then Ward arrowed an effort just wide as time began to run out for both sides. 

And despite a late rally from the Royals, the game was destined to end in parity. 

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