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Blackman strike helps Royals to draw with Swans

24 July 2015

Royals earn friendly draw against Premier League opponents

A superb strike from Nick Blackman helped the Royals to a thoroughly commendable 1-1 draw against Premier League outfit Swansea City in a pre-season friendly at Adams Park.

Blackman’s goal had Reading ahead shortly after the interval, only for Kyle Bartley to hit back soon after.

Both sides were denied by the frame of the goal later in the second period, but ultimately an entertaining contest ended in parity.

Danny Williams was handed the Royals captain’s armband for the evening, with veteran midfielder Leon Britton named as his opposite number for the Swans.

Despite a heavy downpour in the hours before kick-off, the playing surface was withstanding the conditions and playing slickly.

And it was a neat interchange down the left-hand side which brought the first chance of the fixture as Jefferson Montero found the feet of Marvin Emnes, but the Dutchman dragged his shot wide from the edge of the box as he spun.

Former Royal Gylfi Sigurdsson chanced his arm trying to break the deadlock early on with a free-kick, but his 25-yard effort didn’t dip early enough to test Bond.

Reading began to see more of the ball against a Swans side reputed for their possession play, and Niall Keown found the angle a little too tight to attack as Oliver Norwood delivered a free-kick from deep.

Williams then crafted a chance for himself after receiving the ball from Aaron Tshibola on the left flank, but his shot fizzed just beyond Kristoffer Nordfeldt’s far post as he cut infield.

Having escaped the referee’s notebook for a late challenge on Stephen Quinn, Swans midfielder Leon Britton eventually had his name taken as he shunted Pavel Pogrebnyak to the ground.  Oliver Norwood delivered the resultant free-kick but curled just past the far post.

The score remained goalless as the game headed towards the interval, but the bookings count was levelled up when Williams was cautioned for felling Montero as the Ecuadorian threatened to break through the middle.

Half-time: Reading 0 Swansea City 0

The deadlock was broken within a minute of the restart in spectacular fashion. Blackman, continuing his vein of goalscoring form in pre-season, unleashed a belter from distance which found the back of the net via the underside of the bar.

The strike was not too dissimilar from his long-range effort scored against Swansea at Madejski Stadium last summer and it gave Steve Clarke's side the lead...though not for long.

Less than two minutes later the scores were level again, as defender Bartley – still up in attack after a set-piece for the Swans – stabbed in Montero’s low cross from close range.

Russian forward Pogrebnyak came within the width of the post of re-establishing the Royals’ lead as he bulleted a near-post header from a Norwood delivery against the woodwork.  Quinn then teed up Norwood for an effort of his own from a set-piece, only for a deflection to take the strike marginally wide.

And at the other end, Jonjo Shelvey hammered an effort a fraction wide of Bond’s goal from a central position as both teams continued to pose a threat.  Marvin Emnes also popped a strike at goal, only for Anton Ferdinand to block the angle.

The Swans were then twice denied by the woodwork – firstly as an inswinging corner from Shelvey flew over everyone and bounced clear off the post, and then Emnes could only shoot against the bar on the follow up after Shelvey’s rocketed shot was parried away by Bond.

But neither goalkeeper was beaten again before the full-time whistle, as honours were shared at Adams Park.

Full-time: Reading 1 Swansea City 1

Reading: Bond; Gunter, Obita, Ferdinand, Keown; Norwood, Tshibola, Williams; Quinn (Taylor 80), Blackman, Pogrebnyak (Samuel 72).
Unused subs: Al-Habsi, Long, Griffin, Akpan, Kuhl, Novakovich.
Goal: Blackman (46).

Swansea City: Nordfeldt; Rangel, Bartley, Kingsley, Tabanou; Britton (Fulton HT), Shelvey, Sigurdsson; Dyer, Montero (Barrow 70), Emnes.
Unused subs: Vickers, Hanley, Sheehan.
Goal: Bartley (48).

Attendance: 1,284.

Referee: Iain Williamson

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