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Report | Andy arrows last-ditch equaliser for Royals

Rinomhota fires Reading level with last kick of game at Carrow Road

10 April 2019

Norwich City struck twice late on to overturn a deficit against the Royals, but Andy Rinomhota struck with the last kick of the game to give Reading a 2-2 draw against the league leaders.

Yakou Méïté had the Royals in front, before Ben Godfrey and Christoph Zimmermann thought they had won it for Norwich with two late strikes.

But with six minutes of stoppage time elapsed, Rinomhota took aim and fired with his weaker foot to give Reading what could be a crucial point.

The team news saw a return to the line-up for Chris Gunter in place of Nélson Oliveira, who was ineligible to face his parent club. Youngsters Josh Barrett and Tom McIntyre were both among the substitutes for the Royals on the night.

The Canaries started brightly in front of an expectant home crowd at Carrow Road, immediately taking control of play to try and nose in front early on - but Reading held their own against the table-toppers and kept a tight formation.

Chances weren't easy to come by in an open start to the game in East Anglia, with both teams looking to impose themselves - fruitlessly in the first quarter-hour.

But the table-topping hosts started to put themselves on the front foot, with Onel Hernandez cutting in to the left of the Reading box and firing low to Emi Martínez's near post - but the goalkeeper was equal to it and pushed around the post.

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Yakou Méïté was showing his strength up front, holding off a strong Norwich defence to link play, but Reading couldn't get themselves in a shooting position often against the Canaries with 25 minutes played. A ball over the top from Miazga saw the Ivorian get behind the Norwich defence for the first time, beating Ben Godfrey to it but the flag had gone up against him.

Up the other end, Championship top scorer, Teemu Pukki, threaded a backheel across the area and Hernandez struck again - only for Martínez to save once more. The resulting break saw the Royals take the lead...

Mo Barrow was set free on the left, stretching his legs and finding space to cross low in the area for Méïté to power a strike high into the net beyond Tim Krul, sending the travelling Reading contingent into bedlam and giving Reading a vital lead.

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But Norwich, who had won each of their last eight matches going into Wednesday's game, weren't going to go away easily. A low cross from the right found Pukki in space at the front post. He's been lethal in front of goal this season, but that particular first-time strike slid wide of the post.

Shortly afterwards, the ball fell invitingly for Todd Cantwell 15 yards out, who arrowed a volley narrowly over the bar. The hosts were hitting their stride.

The Royals aimed to see out the half with a goal advantage, but Norwich made them work for it every step of the way. Reading weathered corners and free-kicks stoutly, with Pukki taking another shot at goal that skidded wide. Reading took their lead into the interval.

Half time | Norwich City 0-1 Reading

Only two minutes of the second half had passed before the Royals were under attack once more, with a 30-yard piledriver from Tom Trybull had Martínez at full stretch, but the woodwork came to Reading's rescue in front of a raucous home support.

Marco Stiepermann had laid off to Todd Cantwell in the Reading box to fire into the net, but the flag had long gone up for offside against the Norwich playmaker - much to the dismay of those in yellow.

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The hosts were turning the screw, but Reading would not be bowed in an increasingly fractious atmosphere at Carrow Road.

A cross from Jamal Lewis found the right man in Pukki, who powerfully headed at goal, but the right man was between the posts for the Royals. Martínez made a stunning, instinctive save to parry over the bar. 

For all the Norwich pressure, Reading showed their own attacking flair as Ovie Ejaria showed superb footwork to dance clear of the Norwich midfield. He played in Barrow, who fed Méïté in the area. The angle was a tight one as Reading's top scorer dragged his effort wide of the post, but the odds were stacked against him.

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Norwich threw on attacking reinforcements in the form of Jordan Rhodes, who were throwing men forward against the Royals.

Hernandez continued to cause problems on the Reading left, jinking away from his man to fire into the side netting in another warning sign for the Royals, 15 minutes remained and Reading's backs were firmly against the wall, but defending manfully.

In putting his body on the line to clear yet another Norwich attack, Liam Moore seemed to have a recurrence of a shoulder injury he suffered in March. As he opted to do at the time, he opted to carry on - albeit worse for wear.

But with four minutes of normal time remaining, Reading's resistance was broken - and it took a goal of real quality to do so. The ball broke invitingly for Godfrey on the edge of the box, who rifled a strike into the top corner, giving the goalkeeper no chance.

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Before Reading could settle for a point, Norwich turned the result on its head. A corner was whipped into the area and skipper Zimmermann rose highest, nodding into the far corner, in off the post to make Reading's battling performance go cruelly unrewarded.

Or so we thought. Garath McCleary surged forward with mere seconds to spare, squaring back to Rinomhota on the edge of the box. He went left-footed, first time, outswinging and into the top corner with the last kick of the game. Cue utter bedlam from Reading players and supporters alike.

Full time | Norwich City 2-2 Reading

Norwich City: Krul, Aarons, Godfrey, Zimmermann (c), Lewis (Vrancic 81), Stiepermann, Trybull, McLean, Hernandez, Cantwell (Rhodes 70), Pukk (Klose 90)i.
Subs: McGovern, Leitner, Hanley, Srbeny.
Goals: Godfrey 86, Stiepermann 88
Yellow:

Reading: Martínez, Gunter (Loader 90+4), Yiadom, Blackett, Moore (c), Miazga, Rinomhota, Baker (Baldock 90+4), Ejaria, Barrow (McCleary 77), Méïté.
Subs: Walker, Harriott, Barrett, McIntyre.
Goals: Méïté 30
Yellow: Martínez, Baker

Attendande: 26,662


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