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Barclays Premier League

The Madejski Stadium (ATT 23,973) 18th August 2012 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: K Friend

Reading Reading vs Stoke City Stoke City

Reading 1

A Le Fondre (pen 90)

ft

Stoke City 1

M Kightly (34)
D Whitehead (S/O 89)

ALF saves Fed's blushes

Last-gasp penalty earns Royals a point after Federici howler

Last Updated: 18/08/12 7:39pm

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Adam Le Fondre scored a last-gasp penalty to save the blushes of keeper Adam Federici on Reading's return to the Premier League.

Man of the match: Adam Le Fondre. Worked hard all match and was rewarded with a last-gasp penalty.
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.

First effort

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.

Lifeline

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.

ReadingTeam StatisticsStoke City
1Goals1
01st Half Goals1
2Shots on Target3
6Shots off Target4
2Blocked Shots4
4Corners3
11Fouls17
1Offsides3
2Yellow Cards3
0Red Cards1
67.9Passing Success62.9
12Tackles17
75Tackles Success82.4
52.5Possession47.5
51.7Territorial Advantage48.3
299Total Passes264
24Total Crosses24
185Lost Balls174
37Recoveries29
51.31st Half Poss.48.7
55.32nd Half Poss.44.7

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Matches

Table

Barclays Premier League

Barclays Premier League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Arsenal 0 0
2 Aston Villa 0 0
3 Burnley 0 0
4 Chelsea 0 0
5 Crystal Palace 0 0
6 Everton 0 0
7 Hull City 0 0
8 Leicester City 0 0
9 Liverpool 0 0
10 Manchester City 0 0
11 Manchester United 0 0
12 Newcastle United 0 0
13 Queens Park Rangers 0 0
14 Southampton 0 0
15 Stoke City 0 0
16 Sunderland 0 0
17 Swansea City 0 0
18 Tottenham Hotspur 0 0
19 West Bromwich Albion 0 0
20 West Ham United 0 0

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