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Match Reports

📝 Match report | Royals comeback in vain as Rovers nick late winner

Entertaining end to our away travels in 2019-20 but Blackburn take the points

18 July 2020

Attacks were on top at Ewood Park but having come from behind to draw level, the Royals fell foul of a late winner from Sam Gallagher in our final away game of the season.

On a wet surface, Blackburn began the better and it took a timely clearance from Tom McIntyre to prevent Ben Brereton's low cross picking out a Blackburn body in the middle in the opening minute of the match.

But he wasn't to be denied a moment later, cutting inside from the right and passing the ball home with a cool left-footed finish that handed the hosts the lead.

And before you knew it, Rovers had a second. Adam Armstrong finding the space to shoot from the edge of the Royals box with only 6 minutes played and arrowing low beyond Rafael's dive and into the bottom right corner for 2-0.

Yakou Meite had an opportunity to pull one back in a bizarre opening ten minutes - Olise's cross dropping for the Ivorian but his first time effort was scuffed into the ground and bounced harmlessly up and over the crossbar.

And the visitors did pull one back soon after. Rinomhota won a free kick 25 yards out Swift took aim and struck a fabulous set piece past the Blackburn wall and beyond the dive of Christian Walton in the Rovers' goal. The ball nestled in the bottom left corner and Reading had responded.

Richards got a shot away after Olise had supplied the ball to feet, but his effort was delfected and skidded behind for a corner. Swift took and McIntyre met it but he couldn't direct the ball on target.

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Armstrong scurried free at the other end as Tony Mowbray's men quickly passed their way into an attacking position, but this time the forwards sweetly struck drive whistled over the bar.

McIntyre blocked a fierce shot from Rothwell with his face on the half hour and after treatment he was taken off, replaced by Liam Moore at the centre of defence who also took the armband from Swift as he entered the pitch.

Blackett was adjudged to have fouled in earning the space to connect with a deep cross from the right, while Armstrong at the other end skied high into the stand after cutting in from the left flank. 

But as three minutes of injury time were declared, it took a fine save from Rafael to deny Brereton a second - Rovers countered in numbers and Armstrong found Brereton in space on the right side of the box. He bore down on goal but Rafael was off his line to parry his stabbed effort wide of the near post with an arm.

The half ended with a testing Olise cross that floated into the grateful Walton's arms. 

Half-time | Blackburn 2-1 Reading

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A nice exchange of passes down the right almost presented an opportunitt to Andy Rinomhota - Chris Gunter cutting the ball back for the midfielder but he couldn't control the ball to pull the trigger.

Armstrong was proving a constant threat but as he scuttled across the edge of the area, he was tracked by Swift who got something on the Rovers forward's shot to take the sting out of it for Rafael.

The home side were pressing to restore their two-goal cushion but some good defending by Moore saw out a threatening cross from the touchline on the left. From the resultant corner though, Rovers did make it 3-1 - Rothwell taking aim from just inside the box and Moore's attempts to head it clear only ending in the defender deflecting the strike past Rafael and inside the right post.

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Reading responded quickly. A triple substitution saw Obita, McCleary and Baldock come onto the pitch and two of them combined to pull a goal back. Obita was allowed space on the left and his cross into the box was met by the head of Baldock. Still with a lot to do, the striker glanced the ball brilliantly inside the near post with Walton's dive in vain.

And incredibly, Reading were back level with 23 minutes left of the match. Baldock and McCleary won the ball back and Baldock scampered towards the byline down the right side of the box. He dinked a lovely cross up for Meite to rise to and Meite did well to muster the power and precision to beat Walton with a header that squeezed inside the left upright for 3-3!

McCleary won a free kick in an identical position that Swift scored our opener, but this time the wall did its job. The ball rebounded to Obita to struck a sweeping effort first time but it sailed over the bar.

Olise was a whisker away from giving the Royals a lead with a quarter of an hour remaining - he cut onto his left foot and arced an effort goalwards. It took a slight deflection and skimmed off the outside of the left post to hand the Royals a corner.

Somewhat against the run of play though, Blackburn nicked the winner. A deep swirling cross to the far post found substitute Gallagher who launched himself at the ball and headed past Rafael to make it 4-3.

Seven minutes of added time gave Mark Bowen's men hope of another comeback and Osho connected with an Olise free kick before Meite headed the loose ball wide under pressure from close range.

Jack Vale nearly added another when he struck the crossbar with a sweet effort from 12 yards out, but as Baldock's failed overkick was hacked clear and McCleary's follow-up drive sailed high and wide, the curtain was brought down on an end to end seven-goal affair. 

Full-time | Blackburn 4-3 Reading

Blackburn: Walton, Nyambe, Johnson (Davenport 70), Armstrong (Chapman 77), Rothwell (Vale 77), Brereton (Gallagher 70), Holtby (Buckley 70), Carter, Lenihan (c), Travis, Rankin-Costello.
Unused subs: Leutwiler, Bennett, Magloire, Downing.
Goals: Brereton 2, Armstrong 6, Rothwell 56, Gallagher 87
Yellow: Davenport

Reading: Rafael, Blackett (Obita 58), Gunter, Morrison, McIntyre (Moore 34), Richards (McCleary 58), Rinomhota, Swift (c) (Osho 82), Olise, Méïté, Pușcaș (Baldock 58).
Unused subs: Walker, Miazga, Araruna, Boyé. 
Goals: Swift 14, Baldock 63, Meite 67

Referee: Mr T Robinson


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