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Match Reports

Böðvarsson brace earns Royals a point

Account of the action from Griffin Park

29 September 2018

Two opportunistic goals by Jón Daði Böðvarsson helped Reading to earn a 2-2 draw away at Brentford.

  • Maupay opens scoring for the hosts
  • Böðvarsson gets Reading on terms by pouncing on a spillage
  • Icelander hits winner in similar fashion, bundling in on the rebound
  • Benrahma gets shown second yellow for the Bees
  • Barbet heads in leveller in added time

Neal Maupay had the hosts ahead early on, continuing his fine run of goalscoring form.

Then both Royals goals came as a result of cutting-edge play by John Swift - each time Daniel Bentley kept out the initial effort, but there was too much action on the ball to allow a clean take... and both times, our Icelander was there to turn in.

However there would be late drama when Yoann Barbet turned in a corner late on, meaning the spoils would be shared.

Chris Gunter came back into the back line in place of the suspended John O'Shea, while Swift, Meite and Barrow all returned to the starting eleven at Griffin Park.

In a lively atmosphere, the first opening went the way of the home side as they demonstrated their breaking power.  Said Benrahma picked up wide on the right and delivered a teaser of a low cross, which was a matter of inches beyond the outstretched leg of Romaine Sawyers in the six-yard box.

Then Reading had a flurry of chances from set-pieces; Leandro Bacuna's free-kick, on his 50th appearance for Reading, was just taken off the head of Saeid Ezatolahi, and from the resulting corner Jón Daði Böðvarsson won the flick-on, but none of his teammates could bundle in.

Bacuna also showed his aptitude at the other end, putting his body on the line to block a fierce effort from Sawyers.

But it was first blood to the Bees, 11 minutes in.  Benrahma's cross-shot was diverted into the path of Maupay, and the Championship's leading goalscorer kept up his lethal streak by slotting low into the corner from six yards.

The Royals had a golden opportunity to bring the game back to level terms when Bacuna pinched possession deep in the Royals' half and darted downfield.  His inswinging delivery from the left was met by the head of Böðvarsson... but he get too much contact, when all it needed was a flick.

The Royals continued to work hard - and it was that endeavour which helped bring about the leveller before the half-hour.

Reading hassled and harried with some high pressing, not allowing the Bees to play through the thirds. A slip in defence by Chris Mepham had almost allowed Meite a route to goal but he was bailed out.

But when Swift, formerly a Brentford loanee, drilled powerfully at Daniel Bentley's near post, it was spilled by the stopper - allowing Böðvarsson to follow up and divert in as Bentley tried to push off his line.  All level!

The relentless tempo continued - a breathless encounter.  Brentford's next opportunity of note came when the fleet-footed Benrahma got to the right byline and had a shot diverted goalwards by Lewis MacLeod, only for Royals captain Liam Moore to block over.

Brentford had managed to wrestle the initiative back in their favour as the first half wound to a close, and when full-back Yoann Barbet cut in off the left, it needed safe hands by goalkeeper Sam Walker to keep the ball at bay from a venomous effort.

Half-time: Brentford 1-1 Reading

The second half threatened to start at an equally tumultuous pace - but when Ezatolahi committed a foul just outside the Royals box, it took the referee almost five minutes to get the game restarted as a fracas ensued.  Bacuna and Josh McEachran each saw yellow, and when Benrahma finally struck the free-kick, it flashed narrowly wide.

This is the time of year that the weather can sometimes begin to affect matches - and it was certainly doing so.  But not because of any swirling wind or driving rain - it was the low sun in the eyes of the Royals defence which added an extra challenge.

But shortly after the hour-mark, the Royals had their noses in front for the first time - and the goal had big similarities to the first.

It was once again a driven effort by Swift that caused chaos for the goalkeeper - this time from a free-kick - and when Bentley spilled, it was Böðvarsson once again who was on hand to bundle in from close range!

The lead could have been extended further when Ezatolahi, who had been manning the base of midfield expertly, found himself in a forward position and hit with power, but sliced just high and wide.

And at the other end, things opened up on the edge of the area and allowed Maupay to pull the trigger - just past the post.

With the game ticking away and the Bees trailling, Reading had to withstand plenty of pressure from the hosts to try and see out the win.  Benrahmi in particular was linking the play and providing a threat down the right.

And so it was something of a relief to the Royals rearguard when the Algerian winger was dismissed with five minutes of normal time remaining, hacking down Josh Sims as the Saints loanee threatened a counter.  A second yellow was followed by a red.

The fourth official found due cause to signal for a remarkable ten added minutes at the end of the game; and early in that added time, they struck a leveller.  Attacking a corner, Barbet glanced in.

Both teams aimed to win it late, but a fifth goal in the game was elusive.  2-2 it ended after a breathless affair.

Full-time: Brentford 2-2 Reading

Brentford: Bentley, MacLeod, Mepham, McEachran (Mokotjo 70), Sawyers (Judge 80), Benrahma, Dalsgaard, Konsa (c), Barbet, Watkins (Canos 70), Maupay.
Unused subs: Odubajo, Yennaris, Jeanvier, Daniels.
Goals: Maupay (11), Barbet (90+2).
Yellow: McEachran, Watkins, Benrahma, Maupay, Mepham.
Red: Behrahma.

Reading: Walker, Gunter, Yiadom, Moore (c), Ilori, Ezatolahi, Bacuna, Swift (Kelly 90), Barrow (Sims 70), Meite (Aluko 82), Böðvarsson.
Unused subs: Jaakkola, Blackett, Rinomhota, McNulty.
Goals: Böðvarsson (26, 63).
Yellow: Bacuna.

Attendance: 10,045
Referee: Mr G Eltringham

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