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Match Reports

Royals return empty-handed from Forest

Soudani strike seals defeat for Reading

11 August 2018

Despite showing another promising performance, Reading lost out by a single goal at Nottingham Forest on Saturday afternoon.

  • Forest claim victory with sole strike at The City Ground
  • Méïte goes close for the Royals in the first half
  • Soudani scores for Forest midway through the second half
  • McNulty and Baldock make league debuts for Reading

Paul Clement made three changes to the side that took on Derby County in the season opener, while captain Paul McShane was in the starting line-up to make his 100th appearance as a Reading player.

Forest looked to have the better of the opening stages, appearing more threatening going forward.

Tendayi Darikwa found space to cross to the far post, but it went over everyone and out for a goal kick. 

Sam Baldock, making his first Reading start, then speculatively struck from range but his effort didn't manage to dip on target.

The Royals fashioned the first clear chance of the game, though, as Mo Barrow split the Forest defence to find Yakou Méïte - who shot on the slide and Pantilimon saved with an outstretched leg.

Tiago Ilori was on hand to help the team at the other end, too - with a ball spread across to former Royal, Lewis Grabban, and Ilori got across brilliantly to put in a vital sliding challenge.

Tyler Blackett was also putting his body on the line, sliding in to block a shot from Joe Lolley on the edge of the Reading box.

Vito Mannone was called into action past the half-hour mark, with Grabban shaking off Ilori and turning - but the Royals' goalkeeper was alert to come off his line and make a strong save.

At the other end, a Blackett free-kick was partially cleared into the path of David Meyler to shoot, Böðvarsson tried to steer it goalwards on the turn but Pantilimon gathered.

An even first half between the sides on balance, and it went in poised at the break.

Half-time: Nottingham Forest 0-0 Reading

Reading fashioned the first chance of the second period early on. Kelly floated a free-kick invitingly towards the far post, Böðvarsson rose highest to head back across goal - just wide of the goal.

The Iceland striker was sent through again soon afterwards, Kelly picking the pass, and Böðvarsson did well to get past his defender - but the angle ended up too tight for an effort on target.

Forest still carried a threat going forward, though, with Osborn's cross blazed over the bar from close range by sub Matty Cash.

Marc McNulty was sent on for the Royals, making his competitive debut in the blue and white hoops for the final half-hour. 

However, it was the hosts who made the breakthrough. Forest substitute Hillal Soudani found space in the area, curling a fine effort on the turn into the bottom corner.

Reading almost fired back immediately, with McNulty managing to fashion a cross into the path of Böðvarsson, who couldn't quite get the shot out of his feet as Pantilimon comfortably saved.

Böðvarsson and Pantilimon continued their duel as Leandro Bacuna spread wide to Mo Barrow, whose cross found the Icelander once more - forcing the goalkeeper to claw it past the post.

Reading threw men forward as time started to tick on, trying to create as much as possible in their attacking third.

Their attacking endeavours unfortunately bore no fruit, though, as Forest emerged as the victors on the day.

Full-time: Nottingham Forest 1-0 Reading

Nottingham Forest: Pantilimon, Figueiredo, Fox (c), Guedioura, Colback, Grabban, Carvalho (Soudani 56), Osborn, Lolley (Robinson 78), Darikwa, Dias (Cash 56).
Subs: Smith, Watson, Murphy, Dawson.
Goals: Soudani 68

Reading: Mannone, Yiadom, Blackett (Richards 83), McShane (c), Ilori, Meyler (Bacuna 71), Kelly, Barrow, Méïte, Baldock (McNulty 59), Böðvarsson.
Subs: Walker, O’Shea, Swift, Clement.
Yellow: Barrow

Attendance: 27,948 (823 away)

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