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Match Reports

Honours even in end-to-end Griffin Park encounter

Liam Kelly's spotkick earns the Royals a point at Brentford

16 September 2017

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The points were shared in an enthralling affair at Griffin Park this afternoon - the Royals came from behind to earn a point thanks to Liam Kelly's emphatic spotkick, after Josh Clarke had handed the hosts a 15th minute lead.

  • Josh Clarke arrows home side ahead after 15 minutes
  • Liam Kelly penalty levels matters in the second half after push on Moore
  • Mannone saves and McShane blocks deny Bees late win
  • Aluko clips the crossbar with 25-yard effort in injury time

The Royals made two changes to the side that lost at home to Bristol City last weekend - Dave Edwards starting in place of Leandro Bacuna and Garath McCleary coming into the eleven as a replacement for Mo Barrow. Jordan Obita was fit enough to make the substitutes' bench for the first time this season.

In the opening minute, Reading carved out an opportunity. Aluko threaded the ball through to Bodvarsson who sprung the offside trap to scamper in behind the Bees defence. A defender got back to block his shot just in time and deflect it wide of the left upright.

And the Icelander found himself in space soon after too, rounding the keeper who had come racing out of his area to inteercept the pass, but slipping as he looked to direct the ball towards the open goal from a very difficult position.

Neal Maupay scuffed a shot that Gunter could easily clear at the other end as Brentford began to find their flow - and Andreas Bjelland rose high to head harmlessly over with a quarter of an hour played.

And moments later, the home side had the lead. A neat passing exchange saw Maupay lay the ball off for Josh Clarke who beat the backtracking McCleary and rifled high past the blocking body of Moore and the gloves of Mannone which got a touch but weren't enough to keep the ball out of the roof of his net.

Buoyed by the goal, Brentford came close to a second when Kamohelo fizzed a well-struck effort at goal, but Mannone was down low to his right to smother it into his body.

A clever turn and jinking run from Aluko almost ended with a threaded ball into Bodvarsson but a combination of two Brentford defenders were enough to crowd the Icelander out with 25 minutes played.


Reading were lucky not to go 2-0 down on the half hour mark when a low cross from the right bobbled kindly to the feet of Watkins whose first time shot was brilliantly blocked by the slide of Chris Gunter inside the box.

Aluko played a clever pass through the Brentford defence to send McCleary through one on one with Daniel Bentley, but the offside flag was raised before the Bees keeper was forced to save from the Royals forward's toed shot. But at the other end, Brentford continued to threaten - Watkins drawing the foul from Edwards and Josefzoon sweeping a free kick over the crossbar from a dangerous position.

McShane headed wide from a Liam Kelly set piece that was flaoted to the far post from the right side. And twice McCleary tried throughballs looking for Bodvarsson, but both were slightly overhit as the Royals looked in vain for a response before the break.

And the last action of the half saw Blackett deliver a good cross from the left - but Bentley did enough to beat Edwards to an up and under on the edge of the six yard box and Brentford cleared to the sound of the whistle.

Half time | Brentford 1-0 Reading

Bodvarsson was replaced by Roy Beerens at the break, and he scuttled onto a lofted ball from Van den Berg to tee up Kelly for a shot early in the second period; the midfielder's drilled effort fizzed across a crowded box but was eventually cleared.

Van den Berg and Beerens combined well once more, this time Joey feeding the substitute in space 20 yards out, but Beerens opted to try to thread a pass through the middle looking for MCCleary rather than taking aim himself and a promising move broke down.

Appeals for a penalty were waved away when Moore headed a deep free kick back into the middle from the far post and Brentford scrappily cleared their area with what the away contingent claimed was a hand.

Reading were much improved and Aluko scurried his way to the byline only for Bentley to snaffle up his cut back. And at the other end, the Bees threatened a second when a cross from the right was aimed at Florian Josefzoon who missed his volley completely to the Royals' relief.

Kelly found some space in the Brentford box to fire a shot away, earning a corner via the deflection. But the referee whistled for a Reading foul as Kelly's corner was delivered into the Brentford box on the hour.

Midway through the second half, Beerens rode an ugly Egan tackle but couldn't pick out a Reading man with his cross, and Brentford broke through the pacy Josefzoon who went through one on one but arrowed wide of the bottom right corner.

And Brentford would rue that missed opportunity as with 20 minutes left, Reading levelled. Van den Berg won a free kick which Kelly delivered into the Bees' box. Moore looked to connect but a clear push from Henry was spotted by the man in the middle, who pointed to the spot. Kelly stepped up and picked out the top left corner with his spotkick to make it 1-1.

A brilliant right-footed block from McShane denied Egan who swung a leg at a half-cleared free kick. Then McShane stood in the way of a low cross from Henry as Brentford pressed for the lead once more. And it took another deflection from McShane's body to resuce the Royals with ten minutes left as Clarke's low drive looped onto the roof of the Reading net courtesy of the skipper's block.

It took a double save from Mannone to keep Bjelland out at the back post, the Italian saving well with his body initally and then pawing the defender's follow-up effort away from goal. But he didn't see Maupay moments later as he dropped the ball looking to kick long and the poaching striker almost nipped in - only for the referee to award a foul for the striker's challenge on the keeper as he tried to steal the ball.

Both sides looked for a winner in what had proved an entertaining end-to-end affair from start to finish. And at the start of four additional minutes, Watkins headed over under pressure from Moore in the Royals box.

But Aluko came within a whisker of stealing victory. He turned, 25 yards out, and unleashed a sweet strike that beat the diving Bentley and clipped the top of the crossbar to the 1,650 travelling fans' anguish. And 1-1 it ended, with the points shared at Griffin Park.

Full time | Brentford 1-1 Reading

Brentford: Bentley, Henry, Bjelland, Maupay, Watkins, Mokotjo (McEachran 73), Egan (c), Woods, Jozefzoon (Archibald 87), Sawyers (Yennaris 73), Clarke.
Subs: Daniels, Shaibu, Barbet, Mepham. 
Yellow: Egan, Maupay
Goals: Clarke 15

Reading: Mannone, Gunter, Blackett (Obita 70), McShane (c), Moore, Van den Berg, Kelly (Bacuna 77), Edwards, McCleary, Aluko, Bodvarsson (Beerens HT).
Subs: Jaakkola, Ilori, Evans, Clement.
Yellow: McShane, McCleary, Edwards, Obita.
Goals: Kelly pen 69

Att: 9,739 (1,650 away)

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