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9 August 2014

Superb Royals denied win in injury time

Wigan Athletic 2 (McManaman 26, McArthur 90)
Reading 2 (Cummings 71, Morrison 77)

  • McManaman scores with a dinked opener on 26 mins
  • Cox comes off the bench to make second Royals debut
  • Cummings scores first professional goal to make it 1-1
  • Royals twice denied by the woodwork
  • Morrison heads past Carson to make it 2-1
  • McArthur steals injury time equaliser: 2-2

Wigan: Carson, Taylor (Fortune 80), Riera, Huws, McManaman, McArthur, Boyce (c), Cowie, Perch, Kiernan, Waghorn (Maloney 64).
Subs not used: Al Habsi, Tavernier, Ramis, Fyvie, Barnett.
Yellow: Taylor

Reading: Federici, Gunter (c), Cummings, Pearce, Morrison; Hector, Obita, Taylor (Cox 60), Blackman, Edwards (Guthrie 60), Pogrebnyak.
Subs not used: McCarthy, Akpan, Stacey, Kuhl, Tanner.
Yellow: Cummings

Referee: Mr M Brown

Attendance: 12,174 (699 away)

First Half

The first chance of the game came to the visitors, breaking down the left through Pogrebnyak, who pulled the ball back to Edwards arriving into the box at pace. He tried to place it first time inside the right post, but Scott Carson was equal to it, pushing it wide and behind for a corner.

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And Nigel Adkins' men were looking the better side, playing most of the football in Wigan's half and threatening with crosses from either side of the pitch.

And from that corner, less than ten minutes into the game, Carson's goal came under even more threat. Obita's inswinging delivery was headed against the near post by Oriel Riera, Carson only able to watch it as it cannoned off the woodwork to safety. he run of play, Wigan took the lead. Callum McManaman ran onto a ball from deep down the right and into space. His shot from a tight angle was parried by Federici but it bobbled out to Waghorn, who took advantage of a kind deflection to stab the ball back into the path of McManaman. This time, he made no mistake from a similar position, dinking the ball over Federici and into the net for 1-0.

McManaman was causing problems down the right and Andrew Taylor fired a speculative 25 yard effort over Federici's bar, but Reading continued to impress possession-wise, without creating the clear cut openings of the opening throes.

Second Half

The Royals began the second half on the front foot too, Hector almost threading a ball through to Taylor only for Carson to come rushing off his line to clear with his feet on the edge of his area.

Moments later, Obita got a yard on his man down the left side of the box but his low cross was stabbed clear just before Blackman could turn it home.

Blackman then made great progress down the right, cutting in along the byline and pulling the ball back for Hector who drilled an effort on target but into a Wigan body that charged the midfielder's left-footed effort down.

Less than ten minutes into the second half and a lovely move between Gunter, Blackman and Hector saw Jake Taylor hook a left-footed effort over the bar from 15 yards out. It was a fleeting chance for the midfielder but he couldn't direct his effort on target.

More half chances fell to Taylor and then Edwards, whose first time volley skied into the stands, but the Royals had started the second half much as they had the first, as much the better side.

Simon Cox was introduced on the hour and only a minute into his second debut he tested Carson with a right-footed drive from distance that was creeping into the bottom corner but calmly saved by the Latics keeper.

Then the new signing delivered a sublime cross from the right that almost found Pogrebnyak at the far post, the culmination of a lovely move from Nigel Adkins' side.

Carson had to pull off a stunnong save to deny Blackman's near post header flying in, the forward connecting with another delightful Obita corner and unlucky not to equalise. The Royals were patient in trying to recycle it, but the move ended when Guthrie tried to curl the ball home only to direct it just wide of the top right corner.

It was all Reading. Obita beat Perch down the left and his low cross was inches away from the sliding boot of Pogrebnyak for what would surely have been the leveller.

Finally, the goal came. Fully deserved but from the unlikeliest of sources. Shaun Cummings received the ball 25 yards out and unleashed a bullet drive that whistled past Carson's dive and nestled inside the bottom left corner to make it 1-1. It was Cummings' first professional goal in his 100th league start - and what a strike!

Reading almost took the lead minutes later, when Blackman got the ball onto his left foot and arced an effort past the statusque Carson and cannoning into the left post.

But it didn't matter because soon after the visitors did take the lead. Guthrie's floated free kick to the far post was met by Pearce's head and the centre-half nodded it across the six yard box to an unmarked Morrison who placed a header past the flailing arms of Carson and in!

Reading were in total control, belying their young inexperienced credentials to see the game out well...until the last minute of injury time. A long ball was pumped into the Royals box, flicked on and James McArthur was on hand to place a header past the helpless Federici to make it 2-2.

It was a cruel blow for the visitors, who had deserved all three points after an impressive opening day performance and having controlled the second half. But a point from a tricky opening day trip to the DW Stadium could well be good return come the end of this 46-game season.

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