Match Report: 2010/2011 Season

Reading: Pearce (15 mins).
Nottingham Forest: Earnshaw (50 mins).
Half Time: 1-0
Attendance: 17,324

Pos Team P Pts GD
17 Preston 3 3 -5
18 READING 3 2 -1
19 Nottm Forest 3 2 -1
Reading: Federici, Mills, Griffin (Gunnarsson, 9), Williams, Pearce, McAnuff, Howard, Kebe, Karacan, Sigurdsson, Long (Hunt, 78). Subs not used: Hamer, Church, Robson-Kanu, Antonio, Taylor.
Nottingham Forest: Camp, Morgan, Chambers, Wilson, Bertrand, Cohen, Anderson, Moussi, Majewski (McGugan, 62), Blackstock (Tyson, 74), Earnshaw (Adebola, 87). Subs not used: Moloney, Thornhill, McCleary, Darlow.
Reading: Howard, Pearce
Nottingham Forest: Bertrand, Blackstock
Ref: Lee Probert (Gloucestershire).
This was probably a fair result for two evenly matched teams with hopes of promotion this season. Forest started well, gaining control of midfield with their physical strength and fluid passing. Federici had to be at his best to prevent the visitors from taking an early lead. Reading lost Griffin through injury after nine minutes but the ever reliable Gunnarsson proved a more than adequate replacement.

Reading took the lead after fifteen minutes very much against the run of play. Long, showing real appetite for a physical battle with the Forest defence, was fouled in a wide position on the left. The free kick floated to the far post where Kebe was unmarked. Although Kebe was slow to bring the ball under control he made room for a shot which was blocked. Neither Long nor the Forest defence were able to make decisive contact with ball and it rolled free for Pearce to drive low into the net.

Forest threatened to equalise and were again denied a superb full stretch save when a Forest header was looping into the top corner of the net on thirty-seven minutes. Reading looked dangerous on the break. Williams, growing in confidence made a well timed run behind the Forest defence and found himself inside the box with a scoring opportunity. His effort was well struck but parried away for a corner by Camp. Pearce and Mills, having looked vulnerable against Scunthorpe, were looking very secure at the back winning everything in the air and looking comfortable in possession. Pearce made an outstanding and crucial tackle when Forest looked likely to break through as half time approached.

The game was still very much in the balance at half time and there was a nagging doubt that Reading might not be able to hold on to their need. The Royals however started very positively and Howard forced a save from Camp with a volley which he kept down well but did not hit with sufficient power. Forest equalised in the most unpredictable manner when Federici hammered a clearance into Karacan's back and the ball fell to Earnshaw who gratefully accepted the simple task of rolling the ball into the empty net. Both sides then proceeded to go for the winner with some conviction which made for an entertaining final phase to the game.

The referee gave Reading a helping hand with a couple of very dubious decisions. Williams brought down Anderson when he looked to have a clear run on goal. It looked a certain yellow card at least but the referee waved play on. Later Kebe looked to have brought Cohen down. It was either a penalty, or a free kick for diving and it was weak refereeing to allow play to continue either way. Reading looked particularly dangerous attacking down the right where Kebe and Gunnarsson were combining well to open up the Forest defence. Sigurdsson came close with a brilliant curling effort form long range following an excellent exhange of passes between Howard and McAnuff. Howard was having a busy game in midfield. His excellent touch giving him time and space to move the ball around to good effect. Both sides looked likely to score. Kebe came close with a well placed downward header from a Pearce cross but Camp got down quickly to push the ball away for a corner.

In the closing minutes both teams failed to capitalise on good situations by delay and indecision at the crucial moment, Howard being the guilty part for the Royals. With more than one option to provide someone with clear sight of goal he simply ran into the Forest defence so Reading had to be satisfied with a draw. It was much improve performance against a very useful Forest team and this game will offer encouragement to both managers taht they are heading in the right direction. It is very early days.
John Wells

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Robert Earnshaw pounced on a handling error by Reading keeper Adam Federici to earn Nottingham Forest a deserved share of the points. Alex Pearce gave Reading an early lead when he volleyed in a Jimmy Kebe header following Marcus Williams' free-kick. Federici denied Radoslaw Majewski, Paul Anderson and Earnshaw to keep Reading ahead, but then made a crucial howler. The Australian kicked a clearance into defender Matt Mills, allowing Earnshaw to nip in and tap home the equaliser. Pearce's opener had come against the run of play, underlining Reading's struggle to find the fluency which made them such a formidable force in the second half of last season.
BBC Sport