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📝 Match Report | Goalless draw extends unbeaten run to seven

A point in the Potteries...

6 February 2021

Reading battled to a point in the Potteries to extend their unbeaten run in the league to seven.

The hosts began brightly, Collins wriggling away from Richards down the right and pulling the ball back into a dangerous area only for the Royals to clear the danger.

At the other end, Angus Gunn needed to punch clear a dangerous inswinging Swift set piece and then did the same from an Olise corner that followed.

Richards had to be alert to head the ball behind for a corner as a Stoke break ended with a cross from the left that nearly picked out Clarke at the far post.

Appeals for a penalty were dismissed when McClean burst into the area to latch onto a Fletcher throughball and he took a tumble under pressure from McIntyre - but with no contact the Stoke midfielder was booked for simulation.

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Stoke were looking the more likely to break the deadlock though and had the ball in the back of the net on the half hour mark - Clarke's cross from the right was directed back into the middle by McClean on the left and Fletcher acrobatically hooked the ball home...only to see the offside flag raised against him.

Twice the Potters came close from corners from the right. The first was glanced on at the near post and Laurent did enough to get in front of Batth and direct the ball over the crossbar from close range.

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The second was delivered into the same area and Fletcher got his head to this one before clattering into Rafael - but his header flew harmlessly high over the bar. 

Next, Mikel cut inside Swift on the right and pulled the ball back for McClean who arrowed a low shot straight at Rafael to the Royals' relief. Reading were a little fortunate to go in level at the break.

Half-time: Stoke City 0-0 Reading


In driving rain, the second half began in a similar vein - Stoke threatening in the opening throes. Holmes did find Olise in some space down the right but his low cross deflected off Batth and into Gunn's arms without further ado.

Holmes had to glance the ball behind as a free kick from deep floated towards the head of Batth at the back post, but the resultant corner was well defended.

The rain turned to snow but the pattern of play remained the same - Collins escaping his marker to collect a pass on the underlap and dart into the box. He looked to square it for McClean but Holmes reacted fast to intercept and clear the danger.

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In an attempt to change things, Paunovic brought on Meite for Swift on the hour mark and his very first touch saw him win a header in the area - the ball flew high and wide but Fox needed treatment after clashing heads with the the Royals forward.

With 20 minutes to go, Joao found Meite in some space on the right. Yakou checked his run and swepts a floated left-footed cross into the middle where the ball was headed off the forehead of Joao looking to direct an effort on goal.

Morrison nodded down an outswinging Olise corner but McIntyre couldn't get onto the loose ball to direct it through a crowded box and the referee whistled for a City free kick.

Reading were starting to find some fluency and Fox needed to head clear a Richards cross that was looking to pick out Meite with a quarter of an hour remaining.

Ejaria took aim from the edge of the area and forced Gunn into a smart save - the City keeper's handling good in difficult conditions at the Bet365 Stadium.

Into the final ten minutes and Ejaria weaved his way into the box and teed up Meite for a shot, but his left-footed drive was deflected wide of the mark and behind for a corner. Olise's delivery was met by Meite whose header cannoned into a Stoke body before the referee whistled for another foul in the build up.

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Stoke substitute Brown was booked for a very high foot on Morrison, before Aluko and Vokes were introduced late on.

In the last of the 90 minutes, Rafael produced a very good save to push away a downward Brown header - the substitute having connected well with a McClean cross and nodded it down towards the bottom left corner.

In the last of four minutes of injury time, Meite so nearly nicked a winner. Aluko won a corner and delivered it from the right, it was nodded down and fell to the feet of Meite whos forst effort was blocked. It came back to the Royals replacement who drilled low and just wide of the right post with the final kick of the game.

A point on the road. And the Royals remain unbeaten in seven.

Full-time: Stoke City 0-0 Reading


Stoke City: Gunn, Fox, Souttar, Batth, Collins, Allen (Cousins 87), McClean, Mikel (c), Clucas, Fletcher (Vokes 89), Clarke (Brown 83).
Unused subs: Bursik, Vokes, Smith, Thompson, Tymon, Forrester, Mattondo.
Yellow: McClean, Batth.

Reading: Rafael, Holmes, Richards, McIntyre, Morrison (c), Rinomhota, Laurent, Ejaria, Swift (Meite 60), Olise (Aluko 89), Joao.
Unused subs: Southwood, Yiadom, Esteves, Gibson, Tetek, Semedo, Baldock. 

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