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‘A lot of positives’ for McCleary from Seagulls draw

21 August 2016

Winger looks back at parity with the league leaders

Our undefeated run at home so far this season was maintained by a score-draw with league-leaders Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday – and winger Garath McCleary was pleased with the performance, even if the three points eluded the Royals.

“I think we did reasonably well today,” said the Jamaica international.  “We kept the ball well and created a lot of chances – a bit more than we had previously.  There are a lot of positives to take.

“It’s good not to lose and to stop the rot.  The gaffer has been fantastic since he has come in – all of the players are warming to his philosophy.  We know it is going to take a bit of time, but things are looking up.”

Seagulls stopper David Stockdale made his first visit to the net of the season when John Swift’s inswinging free-kick from the tightest of angles foxed the goalkeeper.  Brighton levelled when Joey van den Berg inadvertently turned into his own net, before taking the lead through Anthony Knockaert.

But the captain stepped up – Paul McShane found himself in a perfect position to sweep home the equalizer midway through the second half… although Yann Kermorgant was unfortunate not to hit a winner as a powerful header struck the woodwork before an athletic effort was just about dealt with.

“It was a great ball by John – I might have taken a bit of a deflection but thankfully it went in,” McCleary said of the opening goal. 

“But they scored from a set-piece and I think Joey might have been slightly pushed, but these things happen in football.  And then to concede straight after half-time was a blow but we came back well and had a few more chances at the end – Yann hit the bar and had a great overhead kick which he nearly scored.

“Macca was there to slot in that equaliser for us – I was quite surprised it was him!  I saw someone there but I didn’t know it was him; I’m happy for him to get off the mark as well. 

“I’m surprised he hasn’t got a few more stitches today – he’s got a few!  He leaves everything on the pitch; he has been tremendous this season, and so has pretty much everyone.  It’s a new system and a new philosophy and it might take a bit of time, but we’re all happy.  We’ve got a great bunch of lads as well.”

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