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Match Reports

Report | Reading strike back twice to draw at QPR

Pușcaș and Baldock earn Reading draw against high flyers

22 October 2019

Goals from George Pușcaș and Sam Baldock earned Reading a creditable 2-2 draw against Queens Park Rangers away from home on Tuesday.

Nahki Wells and Jordan Hugill had put the hosts ahead twice at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium, but the Royals fought back to earn a hard-fought point on the night.

The team news saw three Royal changes in London, as Andy Rinomhota, Baldock and Omar Richards all came into proceedings after Saturday's win against Preston.

The match started on an even keel between the teams at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium, with the Royals looking bright in possession against their high-flying opponents.

Reading showed their attacking intent early on, with a cleverly disguised ball from John Swift finding Andy Yiadom on the right, who crossed first time into the path of Baldock, but Yoann Barbet was able to rise highest and head clear.

A brilliant piece of interplay between Ovie Ejaria and George Pușcaș followed in midfield, with Ejaria able to slip it through to Baldock on the run. He was onside, and forced a strong save from Liam Kelly (no, not that one) in the QPR goal.

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Rangers' first forward foray came just shy of the quarter-hour mark, as front two Nahki Wells and Jordan Hugill combined up front. Wells floated a ball to the far post for his strike partner to head, beating Yiadom to the header put going straight at Rafael.

Baldock and Pușcaș were forming a lively partnership up front for the Royals, deftly playing to each other whenever they could, but the assistant referee's flag would intervene on a pair of occasions as they appeared to be through on goal.

The Royals kept up the pressure on their opponents throughout the first 20 minutes, keeping QPR penned in and trying to make the breakthrough.

Ejaria looked like the dangerman for the Royals. Richards did well to flick to the playmaker in midfield, whose typically mazy run saw him onto his left foot 20 yards from goal. His low strike was bound for the bottom corner, but a brilliant flying save from Kelly saw him turn it behind.

Against the run of play, dramatic circumstances saw QPR blocked from taking the lead. A ball back into the area saw Ebere Eze go down, before a combination of Miazga and Richards stopped two goalbound efforts from the hosts, with the referee putting the whistle to his mouth under appeals of handball from Richards, before seeming to change his mind and play carried on.

But with a rare move forward for the hosts, they took the lead. A quick move from the left saw Eze play it to Wells in space on the edge of the box, whose low driven effort was a fine finish past Rafael.

However, less than two minutes later, Reading were level. Ejaria did superbly in Reading's defensive third to out-muscle his marker and provide a sumptuous ball to Pușcaș one-on-one with Kelly.

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He made no mistake from outside the area as he slotted past the QPR 'keeper, with the ball creeping in off the inside of the post and giving Reading a deserved goal - the Romanian's fourth of the season.

It was an open and thoroughly entertaining first half in West London, with the match hanging in the balance between two sides at opposite ends of the table before kick-off.

QPR spurned a golden chance to take the lead again with 40 minutes on the clock, as a floated free-kick was only half-cleared. Toni Leistner saw a shot blocked by Michael Morrison, before Jordan Hugill's rebound cleared the crossbar in a let-off for Reading.

The remainder of the half passed without further incident, Reading shaded proceedings on the balance of play but it was all square at the interval.

Half time | QPR 1-1 Reading

The second half started where the first had left off, with both sides battling for possession and trying to edge themselves ahead in the game.

It took almost ten minutes for a chance to come as a result in the second period, with a Ryan Manning free-kick heading into a dangerous area in the Reading box - but the ball bounced through the crowded area and safe.

Up the other end, a quickly-taken set piece from Ejaria saw the ball worked to Baldock as the Royals caught the QPR defence off-guard, with the striker's touch and half-volley clearing the crossbar.

But on the hour mark, QPR took the lead again. A quick break saw the ball fall to Hugill outside the area. His pot-shot took a heavy deflection on its way through, wrong-footing Rafael and seeing the hosts in front once more.

Reading tried to strike back quickly once more, with a ball over the top finding Pușcaș  in the box, but he couldn't add to his tally as a tricky first touch was claimed in the air by Kelly.

Swift was brought down in prime shooting range shortly afterwards. He stood over the free-kick, beat the wall and Kelly had to have two attempts to claim it and pluck it from the top corner.

Midway through the second half, McCleary was introduced for his first senior appearance of the season, adding another attacking outlet as Rinomhota was withdrawn.

The match had fully opened up at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium on Tuesday, as both sides threw caution to the wind in search of the win in a fascinating match, but it was the Royals who had to draw themselves level.

And with 15 minutes to go, they did just that. Another sublime piece of skill and improvisation from Ejaria saw him keep possession as he laid back to Swift. The midfielder's cross-field ball saw Yiadom nod back towards goal, and Baldock, on his return to the team, was there to make sure of the goal and draw Reading level.

Shortly afterwards, Baldock almost had a second as Pușcaș broke away on the right-hand side. The Romanian arrowed a low ball across goal, it was a tight angle for Baldock to shoot under pressure, and he couldn't quite get the right contact as Reading looked to pull in front for the first time in the game.

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Baldock was the recipient of a clever Swift free-kick that saw him beat the offside trap, but Swift's intuitive pass didn't quite have the pace required for the striker to get a shot away in time - with Yoann Barbet able to cover.

Reading kept up the attacking pressure, as McCleary slid through to Baldock once more on his weaker left foot. The angle was tight once again, and he couldn't keep his strike down in front of more than 1,100 travelling Royals in the away end.

All things considered, a creditable point on the road for the Royals.

Full time | QPR 2-2 Reading

Queens Park Rangers: Kelly, Rangel (Kane HT), Leistner, Barbet, Manning, Cameron, Scowen, Chair (Pugh 77), Eze, Wells (Amos 67), Hugill.
Subs: Lumley, Ball, Mlakar, Osayi-Samuel.
Goals: Wells (29), Hugill (58)
Yellow: Hugill, Eze

Reading: Rafael, Yiadom, Morrison, Miazga, Moore (c), Richards, Rinomhota (McCleary 67), Ejaria (Pelé 90+2), Swift, Baldock, Pușcaș.
Subs: Walker, Loader, McIntyre, Olise, Blackett.
Goals: Pușcaș (31), Baldock (74)
Yellow: Rinomhota, Miazga

Attendance: 12,330 (1,163 away)
Referee: Mr J Simpson


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