ALF saves Fed's blushes
Last-gasp penalty earns Royals a point after Federici howler
Last Updated: 18/08/12 7:39pm
Adam Le Fondre scored a last-gasp penalty to save the blushes of keeper Adam Federici on Reading's return to the Premier League.
Goal of the match: Le Fondre's penalty. Hit a low effort under the diving Asmir Begovic to earn a point for the Royals.
Shot of the match: Jon Walters was excellent for Stoke and saw a glancing first-half header go just wide.
Save of the match: Neither keeper had lots to do but Adam Federici saved a Walters' effort at his near post in the first half.
Blunder of the match: Federici gifted Stoke a first-half lead after failing to gather Michael Kightly's shot.
Talking point: Reading battled back to claim a point and those fighting qualities will serve them well as they seek to establish themselves in the top flight this season.
Federici let Stoke debutant Michael Kightly's tame 34th minute shot through his arms and into the net to gift the Potters the lead.
But Reading substitute Garath McCleary was brought down by Dean Whitehead in the box to earn a penalty, with the Stoke midfielder receiving his marching orders for a second bookable offence.
Le Fondre stepped up to slot past Asmir Begovic to earn a share of the spoils for Brian McDermott's side.
The Royals' return to the Premier League was always going to be tricky against a side who have proved difficult to beat as they have firmly established themselves in the top flight.
And they were not exactly having fun in the sun in an opening half-hour that must have had some fans pining for the Olympics.
A succession of niggly Stoke fouls ruined what little flow there was and even referee Kevin Friend's patience snapped when he booked Whitehead for tripping Reading new boy Danny Guthrie.
Ian Harte's dead-ball skills did cause a few problems but it took until the 20th minute for the first effort on goal to arrive, Jon Walters' pot-shot careering over the crossbar.
Both sides seemed to be wilting in the heat and took the opportunity for a drinks break while Stoke goalkeeper Begovic was treated for a facial injury.
Kaspars Gorkss should have hit the target with a free header from Guthrie's corner and Walters was unlucky to steer his own glancing effort narrowly wide from Kightly's cross.
It did not matter as Reading simply gifted Stoke the lead in the 34th minute thanks to some calamitous defending and goalkeeping.
The Royals defence failed to clear a routine straight ball, which fell to Kightly, who was given an age to control and shoot.
His strike took a slight nick off Gorkss but not enough to deceive Federici, who embarrassingly allowed it to slip through his arms.
Gorkss' afternoon got worse when he was booked for bundling over Walters before an under-pressure Le Fondre could not quite get his head on Hal Robson-Kanu's cross on the stroke of half-time.
Kightly would have had a second goal shortly after the restart had Gorkss not thrown himself at Walters' hooked cross from Peter Crouch's knockdown.
Reading should have been given a lifeline on the hour mark when Whitehead was penalised for felling Pogrebnyak in full flight on the edge of the box but Friend decided not to produce a second yellow card.
He also waved away two Pogrebnyak penalty appeals, which would have been equally controversial if given, before the home side threw on McCleary for Robson-Kanu.
McCleary instantly provided the guile Reading had been missing with a lovely reverse pass to Pogrebnyak, whose shot was blocked behind for a corner which saw the Russian nod the hosts' first effort on target straight at Begovic after 70 minutes.
That was the striker's final real contribution as the changes continued for both sides but Stoke looked certain to cling on before dramatically falling apart in the 89th minute.
McCleary was allowed to advance unchallenged into the area, playing a one-two before he was upended by Whitehead.
Friend allowed play to continue and fellow substitute Noel Hunt was denied by Begovic but the referee brought play back, awarding the penalty and showing Whitehead a deserved second yellow card.
Le Fondre despatched the spot-kick to spark pandemonium at the Madejski, which was almost repeated when Robert Huth gave away a stoppage-time free-kick that Harte curled inches over the top.
|Reading||Team Statistics||Stoke City|
|0||1st Half Goals||1|
|2||Shots on Target||3|
|6||Shots off Target||4|
|51.3||1st Half Poss.||48.7|
|55.3||2nd Half Poss.||44.7|
Barclays Premier League
|13||Queens Park Rangers||0||0|
|19||West Bromwich Albion||0||0|
|20||West Ham United||0||0|
Reading v Stoke
Brian McDermott was pleased with a point after watching Reading battle back to earn a last-gasp draw against Stoke.
Tony Pulis was disappointed after Stoke conceded a last-gasp penalty against Reading at the Madejski.
Pavel Pogrebnyak is adamant he has the right mentality to become a hit in the Premier League with Reading.