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Clarke applauds spirited response

31 October 2015

Manager reflects on draw with league leaders

Reading manager Steve Clarke was pleased with the fortitude that his side showed after going a goal down to league leaders Brighton & Hove Albion, as they fought back from a goal down to earn a 1-1 draw at Madejski Stadium.

Jamie Murphy’s goal for the visitors, six minutes into the second half, had the Seagulls ahead.  But unlike last weekend against Fulham, the Royals’ reaction to going behind was not to concede again – instead it was to dig in and earn a deserved equaliser through Matej Vydra.

“We spoke before and at half-time about the importance of the first goal,” he said.  “So having been a goal behind to a good Brighton team that are top of the league for a reason – they’re very strong defensively – we did well to get back in and make it 1-1.

“We started a little bit slowly, which might have been a bit of a hangover from last week, but once we got to grips with the game I thought we more or less bossed the first half without creating anything that was really clear cut.  There were a lot of free-kicks around the edge of the box that on another day we could have done better with.

“In the second half they got the goal, then sat in and tried to defend their lead.  But I thought our response was good because we kept pushing and chasing and looking for ways to open them up.  Eventually we got the goal we deserved.”

Indeed Vydra’s goal was his first since joining the club – the forward’s Reading career has been a little stop-start, owing to an injury sustained shortly after his arrival.

He was quickest to react when goalkeeper David Stockdale wasn’t able to hold onto Nick Blackman’s fierce strike, and the gaffer was pleased to see the Czech forward open his account.

“It’s been a little bit difficult for Matej because he came in and picked up a nasty injury,” he continued.  “He has worked ever so hard to get over that, and he’s now finding his way back into the team and finding out about his teammates.

“He does a great job for the team wherever we ask him to play.  And it was great reaction to the goalkeeper not holding onto the shot – Matej was there first and did what we know he can do, and what he will do in the future.”

We’re back at Madejski Stadium this Tuesday as we face Huddersfield Town – kick off is at 8pm.  For ticket info, click here.

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