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Match Reports

Preview: Royals v Rovers

22 February 2014

Royals left frustrated

Reading 0 
Blackburn Rovers 1 (Conway 36) 

Reading went down by a single goal in an exceptionally scrappy game against Blackburn - and were yet again left to rue a refereeing decision after being denied a clear penalty in the second half. 

Craig Conway capitalised on a defensive mistake to give Rovers a first half lead, although Chris Gunter may have been fouled in the build-up. The visitors then took every opportunity to manage the game and make it a scrappy affair lacking in tempo. 

Reading tried their best to break through Rovers' resistance and were inexplicably denied a spot kick - and a potential red card for Matt Kilgallon - when he handled in the box as Adam Le Fondre was about to equalise. 

At the same time though, the Royals were well below their best form shown in recent weeks, and as the away side Rovers can be happy with their display and three valuable points. 

Reading: McCarthy, Gunter, Obita, Gorkss, Pearce, Akpan (Guthrie 62), Williams, McCleary (Drenthe 62), McAnuff (c), Le Fondre, Pogrebnyak (Robson-Kanu 62)  
Subs: Federici, Kelly, Hector, Blackman 
Booked: McAnuff (foul 42), Obita (foul 76), Guthrie (foul 90+1) 

Blackburn: Robinson, Spurr, Kilgallon, Hanley, Lowe, Williamson, Henley, Conway, Cairney (Taylor 59), Gestede (Varney 78), Rhodes
Subs: Kane, Dunn, Eastwood, Olsson, Evans. 
Booked: Lowe (foul 34), Varney (ungentlemanly conduct 82), Williamson (ungentlemanly conduct 85), Taylor (foul 90+5) 

Referee: Mr G Scott 
Att: 18,858 (854 away)

First half
The first quarter of the game was pleasing on the eye, but Jobi McAnuff's effort at goal was the only real goalmouth incident in the first 25 minutes. Rudy Gestede then hit a very good effort just wide of Alex McCarthy's upright. 

With almost 35 gone, Reading were hit with a sucker punch. We had a free kick 25 yards out in a shooting position, but hit the wall and a misplaced header from Jobi McAnuff then gave Rovers chance to break. Chris Gunter looked like he'd done enough, but Craig Conway was able to steer home. 

Alex McCarthy then had to make a super save to deny Jordan Rhodes, and down the other end Paul Robinson was almost caught out by a near-post Jordan Obita cross but reacted well. Rhodes soon had a half a chance but flicked a header at McCarthy.

Right on half time Pavel Pogrebnyak skied an effort well over the bar, and Rovers ended the period on top, having been given a leg up by a bad goal for the Royals to give away. 

Second half:
Just as Reading looked to build momentum, Tom Cairney went down for three minutes of treatment right at the beginning of the period - but he was fine to continue. 

The game was tight, and just past the hour Nigel Adkins looked to change the flow of the match with a bold triple sub, bringing on Drenthe, Guthrie and Robson-Kanu. 

Reading soon had a strong penalty appeal waved away - Matt Kilgallon appeared to handle inside the box but despite vehement protests nothing was given. Had the spotkick been awarded, it would also surely have been a red card. 

Drenthe had a decent sight of goal at the back post as we entered the last 20 minutes but skewed wide - and then at the other end Conway was very close with a free kick. 

Drenthe then showed great feet on 73 minutes to work an opening, but his right-footed effort from 20 yards was a touch over the bar.

Blackburn were stopping the game with regular intervals, which made it exceptionally hard for the Royals to get any flow. 

And despite nine minutes of added time, Reading were unable to conjure up a goal.

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