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📰 Match report | Stalemate at Kenilworth Road

A frantic finish from a Royals side desperate for victory wasn't enough at Luton

21 April 2021

Reading threw everything at their opponents in a frantic end to a scrappy affair at Kenilworth Road, but there was no way through the Hatters' defence. Another point to show for their efforts, but will it be enough to keep up the fight for a top six spot...

The hosts began sharply and created an early half chance - a low cross from the right was met by the swinging boot of Adebayo but his shot was charged down by a hooped shirt before Rafael could be troubled.

Adebayo caused more problems when he took aim from outside the box. The shot deflected off Moore and skipped up but Rafael jumped and clung onto the ball well to deny the Hatters striker an opener.

An up and under cross from Puscas saw Meite compete for an aerial ball with Naismith inside the box and Yiadom won a corner as the ball bobbled loose. But Luton cleared their lines from Olise's set piece.

A quarter of an hour gone and Andy Rinomhota put Reading on the attack with a header forward from Simon Sluga's long goal kick - Puscas and Ejaria harried the defenders and Ejaria won the ball from Pearson on the left side of the box. He played an early cut back into Puscas but in controlling it the ball hit the Romanian's arm so as he pulled the trigger, the referee awarded Luton a free kick.

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The home side were playing at a high tempo though and dispossessing the Royals on the left, Naismith powered forward from half way and delivered a good cross to pick out Clark arriving in the middle. His cushioned volley flew just wide of the top right corner though to the visitors' relief.

Rafael had to punch clear a LuaLua cross from the left, then Laurent threatened at the other end, beating his man down the left and delivering a cross that saw Naismith hold off Yiadom at the back post and see off the danger.

Reading had enjoyed a good spell as the half hour mark ticked past, but Rafael needed to be alert to save a powerful Dewsbury-Hall effort that was flying towards the Reading goal from 22 yards out.

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Andy Yiadom was booked for tangling with LuaLua, who won his side a free kick near the byline. And James Bree went for goal from seemingly an impossible angle, sweeping a set piece just over the crossbar. And the Royals were lucky again when Rafael failed to collect a bobbling low cross, the ball dribbling to the feet of Holmes who hacked it out for a throw.

Sluga picked up a punt forward from Moore on the very edge of his box - appeals for him handling outside his box were waved away. Before half-time, Meite won a free kick in a dangerous position, but Moore stepped up and the wall did its job, twice - repelling the set piece and Moore's follow up volley.

Three minutes of injury time were signalled and Puscas had a great chance to make it 1-0. A cleared corner was volleyed back towards a crowded Luton box and a deflection took the ball high into the air. It dropped for Puscas who directed a header wide from 10 yards out - a difficult header to control but an opportunity missed.

Half-time: Luton Town 0-0 Reading


The second half began painfully for the captain Liam Moore who hurt his shoulder when he was seemingly pulled back by a Luton forward down the Hatters' right. He received treatment and bravely carried on.

Laurent looked to find Meite's run into the box but he overhit his pass, then Richards scuttled into the area and won a corner as the game began to open up just before the hour mark. 

Luton were looking to take advantage of Reading's new endeavour and on the break Liam Moore did well to see Adebayo onto his right foot and the Hatters striker drilled his shot wide of the right post.

Adebayo was causing the Royals problems again soon after, muscling Holmes off the ball on the left wing and sending a low cross flashing across the box which no Luton leg could turn home.

Good footwork from Ejaria saw him earn an opportunity to shoot, but a wall of orange blocked it. Moments later, Luton bodies charged down a Meite effort as he pivoted just inside the Hatters box.

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Reading needed a goal and Rinomhota did well to get the ball into the box to Meite who turned his man but just couldn't get the ball out from under his feet to shoot, surrounded by Luton defenders. And Town nearly capitalised on the counter attack, Cornick racing into acres of space down the right but unable to find Adebayo with a crossfield ball.

Reading threw everything at it, making a triple substitution with 12 minutes left - Aluko, Baldock and Semedo coming on for Richards, Ejaria and Olise. But they needed Rafael to deny Mpanzu a winner with 8 minutes remaining.

Swift found Baldock down the left and he won a corner with only five minutes remaining. Half appeals for a handball in Luton's clearance fell on deaf ears and time was running out for the Royals.

A quick free kick from the away team set Baldock away down the left. His low cross bounced through to Meite but he couldn't get the ball under control and stab it at goal at the near post. Moments later Gibson took a speculative shot that skidded wide. 

Four minutes of injury time were signalled and Aluko won a free kick. Swift struck it well and Sluga nearlty spilled it, but he gathered it into his body at the second attempt. 

For all the effort, Reading couldn't find a reward. And the referee blew his whistle to declare a stalemate. Goalless and a point. But will it be enough?

Full-time: Luton Town 0-0 Reading

Luton Town: Sluga, Bradley (c), Pearson, Tunnicliffe (Rea 73), Mpanzu, Clark (Cornick 64), Dewsbury-Hall, Naismith, Lualua (Moncur 64), Bree, Adebayo (Collins 84).
Unused subs: Shea, Cranie, Potts, Nombe, Morrell.
Yellow: Bradley, Collins.

Reading: Rafael, Yiadom, Richards (Aluko 78), Moore (c) (Gibson 83), Holmes, Rinomhota, Laurent, Ejaria (Semedo 78), Olise (Baldock 78), Meite, Puscas (Swift 72).
Unused subs: Southwood, Esteves, Gibson, Tetek, Semedo, Aluko, Onen, Baldock.
Yellow: Yiadom

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