Reading 2-1 Town - Half-Time
Friday, 11th Sep 2015 21:01
Reading lead Town 2-1 at the break at the Madejski Stadium, Orlando Sa having scored twice either side of a Freddie Sears’s fourth of the season, all the goals having come within a seven-minute spell early on.
Boss Mick McCarthy included Sears, David McGoldrick and Brett Pitman from the start with the former Colchester man wide on the right
Central defender Christophe Berra returned to the Town line-up having missed the 3-2 defeat to Brighton two weeks ago with a hamstring problem.
Daryl Murphy was on the bench after his calf injury, while there was no place in the 18 for new signing Tommy Oar. Jonny Parr was included in a matchday squad for the first time this season having suffered with a niggly thigh injury since pre-season.
The home side began the game strongly and in the seventh minute they went in front. Jonas Knudsen’s under-hit clearance only reached Vydra who found Nick Blackman. The former Sheffield United man whipped over a cross and Orlando Sa got in front of Tommy Smith to flick a header home.
But four minutes later the Blues were back on terms. Pitman found Ryan Fraser inside the area and the Scotland U21 international twisted and turned before hitting a shot which Royals keeper Jonathan Bond palmed away but straight to the in-running Sears, who chested into the net.
However, parity would only last for another three minutes, Sa hitting a low 20-yard strike beyond Dean Gerken’s right hand and into the net after a counter-attack to reclaim the lead.
The Blues, wearing orange, started to see more of the ball as the game reached the 20-minute mark with McGoldrick increasingly influential, although the home side continued to look very dangerous when in the Town half.
Following a Town corner, left-back Knudsen smashed a low shot not too far wide from 25 yards.
Town went close again on 23 when Fraser threaded Sears in on the left of the area but having cut inside, the earlier goalscorer lashed over from close range when it seemed easier to hit the target.
Three minutes later Fraser shot over from distance, then on 32 skipper Luke Chambers was booked for tripping Stephen Quinn, although it looked like an inadvertent tangle of legs.
From the corner, Gerken turned the ball around the post but the linesman’s flag had been raised in any case, although no one had appeared to get a touch on the ball. On 36 Skuse was booked for a late challenge on Aaron Tshibola.
In the 38th minute, after a Pitman dummy on the edge of the area had just failed to come off, Reading again broke quickly but Berra stepped across to intercept Sa’s final pass to Vydra which would have seen the on-loan Watford man in on goal.
Moments later, Fraser became the third Town player to get his name in the book for a foul on Oliver Norwood.
The Blues could have got on terms in the 44th minute after McGoldrick headed Fraser’s left-sided corner wide when under the attention of Blackman.
The striker will feel he probably should have hit the target, while one or two Town players claimed that he had been pulled back by Blackman but referee Roger East wasn’t interested.
Neither side threatened again before the end of a thoroughly entertaining first half. After the three early goals the Blues saw a lot of the ball, passing it around slickly at times, with McGoldrick, Fraser and Sears all looking dangerous.
Town had had chances to get back on terms, while Reading always looked a threat on the break.
Reading: Bond, Gunter, Obita, Ferdinand, McShane, Norwood, Quinn, Tshibola, Blackman, Sa, Vydra. Subs: Al-Habsi, Hector, Robson-Kanu, McCleary, Piazon, Williams, John.
Town: Gerken, Chambers (c), Knudsen, Berra, Smith, Skuse, Douglas, Fraser, Sears, McGoldrick, Pitman. Subs: Bialkowski, Malarczyk, Parr, Coke, Maitland-Niles, Touré, Murphy.
Photo: Action Images
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