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Match Reports

📰 Royals pegged back after Obita opener

The report from Madejski Stadium as Reading took on the Tigers

8 February 2020

Reading were held to a 1-1 draw at Madejski Stadium on Saturday afternoon, as Mallik Wilks scored a late equaliser for Hull City in the Sky Bet Championship.

The Royals had led in the first half through a rifled opener from Jordan Obita, but a heavily deflected effort from the Hull substitute levelled proceedings in RG2 on the day.

Reading made one change from their last league line-up, as Tyler Blackett came in for the injured Tom McIntyre - with several Royals having played 120 minutes against Cardiff in midweek in the Emirates FA Cup.

It was the visitors who pounced on the counter-attack to force the first chance of the game with just two minutes on the clock. Marcus Maddison burst forward on the right flank with Blackett tracking.

He worked his way into a shooting position, and forced Rafael into a flying save that diverted onto the post, with George Honeyman's follow-up blocked brilliantly by Liam Moore to keep the scores level early on.

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The visitors didn't have a match at all in midweek, and their relative freshness early on saw them pen the Royals in their half. And when a long ball found Jackson Irvine onside, he only had Moore to beat in search of shooting space.

He opted to bend one towards Rafael's left, but it bounced narrowly wide of the post in a let-off for Reading.

Gradually, the Royals worked their way into proceedings and saw more of the ball on a sunny afternoon at Madejski Stadium. 

Reading ended a decent spell of possession with their first effort of the day midway through the first period. A ball over the top was cushioned down by Sam Baldock, who teed up a strike for Jordan Obita, rifling a half-volley into George Long's side netting.

Seconds later, Yakou Méïté was slipped through on goal with only Long to beat. He struck with his weaker right foot, bringing a smart save from the Hull goalkeeper with his outstretched leg.

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But in a rare occurrence, Chris Gunter required treatment for an injury shortly afterwards. He couldn't carry on, and Felipe Araruna was brought on for his Reading debut - with the midfielder slotting in at right-back, where he is also able to play.

The Brazilian came straight into the action, lifting a ball over the defence for Baldock to control into space. It opened up for a strike, with Baldock dragging his left-footed effort inches wide of Long's post, grazing the side netting on its way through.

Overall, the teams found it tough going to break the other down. Maddison had a free kick from outside the area, but his dipping strike was straight at Rafael. Right in the final seconds of the half, Ejaria danced his way into the box and bore down on goal, bringing another block from Long.

The Tigers shaded the half in terms of chances created, but the teams went in level at the break at Madejski Stadium.

Half-time | Reading 0-0 Hull City

The second half started with a burst forward by Baldock, with the striker being fouled 25 yards out, in the centre of goal. Swift stood over the resulting free kick, which took a crucial deflection off the wall taking it over Long's crossbar.

Reading held the early possession in the second period, changing to a back four allowing Obita to maraud further forward. But it was Pelé who tested Long's gloves next, taking aim from 25 yards with a daisy-cutter, with the goalkeeper having to be alert to save.

But Reading's pressure told eventually. A passing move that moved through the whole team saw Blackett end up cutting a ball inside to Obita in the box, who took a touch and arrowed a low strike through Long's legs. 

It was a fantastic full-circle moment for Obita, who went off injured against the Tigers in September 2017 - and would spend almost two whole years on the sidelines before playing again for the Royals.

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He was withdrawn shortly afterwards to a standing ovation from the home support, with Omar Richards coming on in his place.

At the same time, Josh Magennis was brought on the Tigers, and he tried to get the visitors level with a low drive from outside the area, with Rafael equal to it in the Reading goal.

Sone Aluko was then brought on for the Royals in place of Baldock, who was full of running up front for Reading on Saturday.

Reading kept up their assault as they looked to double their advantage. A corner was cleared only into the path of Ejaria, who had two attempts at it but couldn't find the target from 20 yards.

Play began to break up quickly as Hull tried to force themselves back into the game, while the Royals were doing what they could to disrupt their momentum and hold their lead.

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Reading countered quickly from a Hull attack as Aluko took the ball forward, finding Richards on the left. The England U21 international took it to the edge of the box, with an out-swinging shot hitting the side netting.

A piece of individual brilliance almost had the Royals two goals in front. Ejaria went down in the box with the ball at his feet, but sprung back up with the ball still in his possession.

He danced his way past three defenders and shot left-footed, only just wide of the far post. Unfortunately for the Royals, Hull's next attack saw them equalise.

A quick break from the Tigers saw them get into the box and substitute Wilks took a shot on, with the ball taking a massive deflection off Michael Morrison and looping over a helpless Rafael into the far corner in a cruel twist against the Royals.

Reading weren't wanting to settle for a point, and a Swift free kick bent over the wall from 20 yards, forcing a low diving save from Long as the Tigers hoped to cling onto their point.

Into stoppage time we went, and a Richards cross from the right found Méïté's head, who wasn't quite in the right position to guide it at goal as he headed into the ground.

It was a point apiece on the day between the teams, with the Tigers likely to be the happier side at the full-time whistle.

Full-time | Reading 1-1 Hull City

Reading: Rafael, Gunter (Araruna 27), Morrison, Moore (c), Blackett, Obita (Richards 61), Pelé, Swift, Ejaria, Baldock (Aluko 68), Méïté.
Unused subs: Walker, Rinomhota, Adam, Pușcaș.
Goals: Obita (56)
Yellow: Aluko

Hull City: Long, Lichaj (c)(Wilks 70), McKenzie, McLoughlin, Elder, Irvine, Lopes, Batty (Magennis 61), Maddison, Honeyman, Eaves (Lewis-Potter 76).
Unused subs: Ingram, Kingsley, Bonds, Smith.
Goals: Wilks (82)
Yellow: Lopes, McLoughlin, Irvine

Referee: Mr A Davies
Attendance: 13,393 (691 away)


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