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Match report | Böðvarsson brace earns Royals away point

Reading pegged back in the second half but get off the mark at Ewood Park

22 August 2018

The Royals earned an away point at Ewood Park this evening to get off the mark in the Championship, courtesy of a Jon Dadi Bodvarsson first half brace.

  • Fierce Rothwell effort denied by the stanchion after five first half minutes
  • Brilliant dinked finish from Böðvarsson hands the visitors the lead 
  • Böðvarsson makes it 2-0 with a follow-up from Méïte's excellent downward header
  • Two fouls awarded inside the box to allow Mulgrew a brace from the spot. 2-2 it ends.

Paul Clement made three changes to the side that lost to Bolton at the weekend, bringing in Jón Daði Böðvarsson, Sone Aluko and Leandro Bacuna for the Ewood Park clash.

First up, Paul McShane needed to produce a good header under pressure to clear a good cross from Elliott Bennett, but it was soon he woodwork which came to the Royals' rescue five minutes in - Joe Rothwell smashed a right-footed effort against the stanchion before skying the follow-up high over the crossbar.

Liam Kelly provided a teasing inswinging set piece at the other end but it drifted behind for a goal kick and it was the hosts who had begun the brighter - Vito Mannone at fyull stretch to push an arcing shot from Adam Armstrong wide.

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However, the Royals took the lead after twelve minutes with a fine finish from Jón Daði Böðvarsson. Leandro Bacuna played an early ball over the top and the covering defender could only glance it on into his penalty area. Böðvarsson won the race to the bouncing ball and cannily angled a first time dink over the onrushing David Raya and into the back of the Blackburn net from a tight angle.

The Icelander was winning a free kick next and Aluko's outswinger was met by the head of Méïte who couldn't keep his effort down.

Reading were now looking the stronger side and after a couple of tasty crosses from Yiadom on the right, the second goal arrived from a cross from the left. Blackett delivered a sumptuous ball and Méïte's downward header was clawed out superbly by Raya as it looked destined for the bottom right corner. Böðvarsson was in the right place at the right time though to slot home the rebound.

Just short of the half hour mark, a flowing move from the Royals almost resulted in a third - a fine sliding block from Evans denied Bacuna who volleyed goalwards from the edge of the area.

Rothwell nearly pulled one back for Tony Mowbray's men before half-time, he drove powerfully at goal but it deflected off one Reading body before Liam Moore's headed block diverted it behind for a corner.

And in three minutes of injury time a cleared corner was recycled to good effect and delivered into substitute Craig Conway. He had time to direct his header but he placed it straight at Mannone who gobbled the ball up gratefully.

Half-time: Blackburn Rovers 0-2 Reading

Former Royal Dominic Samuel was brought on at the break but it was Bennett who earned Rovers a chance to halve the deficit. His pace got him to the ball before McShane who's outstretched leg tripped the winger and the referee pointed to the penalty spot. Charlie Mulgrew stepped up and slammed home to make it 1-2.

The game opened up and Rovers were looking dangerous, Graham getting in behind McShane but Conway was unable to tee up a shot or a telling pass from a good position on the left.

At the other end, Yiadom fizzed a powerful cross into the Blackburn box and Böðvarsson came so close to bundling it in at the back post. But Rovers hacked it clear.

Josh Sims was brought onto the field just after the hour to add some fresh legs to the Royals side but Samuel arrowed high and wide for the home side as Rovers sought an equaliser.

That was Samuel's last action of the game though as he hobbled off to be replaced by Joe Nuttall with 20 minutes of the match remaining. Blackburn were coming closer to a leveller and Andy Yiadom needed to chest a Bennett strike away from goal as the Rovers man looked to capitalise on a Mannone punch which fell his way.

And with a quarter of an hour remaining, Rovers were awarded another penalty as bodies tumbled inside the box and McShane was penalised once more. Mulgrew slotted this one inside the left upright to level the game.

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Substitute Mo Barrow broke at pace down the right but his pull back was just behind Baldock on the edge of the box as Reading looked for a way back into the game. Barrow was very nearly on the end of a Baldock cross from the byline moments later. At the other end though Nuttall nodded just over the crossbar.

Marc McNulty got a shooting opportunity with virtually his first touch, but he curled his effort wide of the right post from the edge of the box with six minutes left on the clock.

Six minutes of injury time were signalled and both teams looked for the winner. But an entertaining game ended all square and Reading had an away point to show for their efforts.

Full-time: Blackburn Rovers 2-2 Reading

Blackburn Rovers: Raya, Nyambe, Smallwood (Samuel HT (Nuttall 71)), Armstrong (Conway 44), Rothwell, Graham, Mulgrew (c), Bell, Lenihan, Evans, Bennett.
Unused subs: Leutwiler, Downing, Travis, Hart.
Goals: Mulgrew pen 52, pen 75
Yellow: Evans

: Mannone, Yiadom, Blackett, McShane (c), Moore, Bacuna, Kelly, Aluko (Sims 62), Méïte (Barrow 76), Baldock (McNulty 83), Böðvarsson.
Unused subs: Walker, O'Shea, Meyler, Swift.
Goals:  Böðvarsson 12, 25

Attendance: 11,818 (247 away)

Referee: Mr O Langford

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