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Barclays Premier League

The Madejski Stadium (ATT 24,097) 29th September 2012 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: A Marriner

Reading Reading vs Newcastle United Newcastle

Reading 2

J Kebe (58)
N Hunt (62)

ft

Newcastle 2

D Ba (58, 83)

Hand of Ba denies Reading

Striker's stunning first goal overshadowed by controversial second

Last Updated: 29/09/12 7:48pm

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Demba Ba scored a controversial equaliser to deny Reading their first win since returning to the Premier League in a 2-2 draw with Newcastle United.

Man of the Match: Reading captain Jobi McAnuff was a constant threat to the Newcastle defence and almost scored an injury-time winner Goal of the Match: Demba Ba's second grabs the headlines but his first was a breath-taking first-time volley from Cheick Tiote's long pass Save of the Match: Having brilliantly denied Pavel Pogrebnyak in the first half, Steve Harper produced an even better stop in the second half to frustrate Jason Roberts Talking Point: Did Demba Ba mean to use his hand to score his second goal? It did not look intentional but Reading will still be furious

After a dreadful, goalless first half, the game, which saw Newcastle boss Alan Pardew and his new eight-year contract return to a Reading club where he started his managerial career, exploded into life following the interval in what was a superb second half.

Ba scored a stunning equaliser just seconds after Jimmy Kebe had given Reading the lead but the first-time volley will be overshadowed by the Senegal striker's second goal.

Newcastle's No.19 netted to cancel out Noel Hunt's header with the ball clearly coming off his hand after he missed an attempt to make contact with his forehead.

It did not look intentional but Reading manager Brian McDermott will still feel hard done by as the search for a first victory after five games continues.

The Reading faithful have not forgotten how Pardew, having laid the foundations for the club's current success, resigned as manager in 2003 so he could take charge of West Ham United.

Newcastle took the bold step on Thursday of handing Pardew a contract which runs until 2020.

And each time Reading took the lead, the home support took great delight in warning Newcastle fans: "Eight years for Pardew? You're having a laugh".

Both Reading goals were set up by club captain Jobi McAnuff, who returned to the side after missing the Capital One Cup victory over QPR.

Platform

Pardew, whose touchline ban expired on Saturday, gave a first league start to Gael Bigirimana alongside Cheick Tiote in the centre of midfield, with Vurnon Anita dropped to the bench.

Bigirimana immediately looked at home in the centre of midfield, dovetailing nicely with Tiote as Newcastle controlled the middle of the park.

But they could not create anything from that platform with Hatem Ben Arfa a passenger for most of the game while Ba was erratic and Papiss Cisse anonymous.

Ba goals delight Pardew

Reading grew into the game and had the best chance of the first half when Pavel Pogrebnyak's header, after a patient build-up, was palmed over by Steve Harper.

But otherwise there was little to get the fans of either side excited.

It took 24 minutes for the first shot on goal, which fell to the left-back Nicky Shorey and his volley went out for a throw-in, which pretty much summed up the quality of football on show.

Pogrebnyak then found himself a yard of space in the Newcastle box but the ball bounced awkwardly and he shinned it over the bar into the crowd.

Reading worked the ball wide for McAnuff, who curled an inviting cross in for Pogrebnyak to meet above Steven Taylor at the far post but Harper launched himself well to tip his header over the bar.

James Perch was booked for a foul on McAnuff but then provided vital intervention as Pogrebnyak was readying to shoot, after chesting the ball down in the box.

Tangle

Pogrebnyak continued to cause problems after the restart, getting the better of Taylor to break into the box but his control was poor and Michael Williamson cleared.

McDermott remains upbeat

Cisse's low shot was blocked by Kaspars Gorkss - and suddenly the game awoke from its slumbers with three goals in four minutes.

Kebe put Reading ahead. The Mali winger was played in by McAnuff and ran at Perch, who got himself in a tangle and Kebe scuffed a low shot inside the near post.

Newcastle hit back within seconds and it was no surprise that Tiote was the creator, clipping the ball towards Ba who met it with a spectacular volley on the run.

With barely a chance to draw breath, McAnuff then worked his way to the byline and whipped in a cross which Hunt met with a precise, glancing header to beat Harper at his far post.

The chants aimed at Pardew resumed but they were quietened just six minutes from time in controversial fashion when Ba stooped to meet Shane Ferguson's cross but handled it into the net.

Reading upped the ante and Jason Roberts, on as substitute, forced another top save from Harper with a strike from distance and McAnuff saw a shot rebound back off the post.

ReadingTeam StatisticsNewcastle United
2Goals2
01st Half Goals0
5Shots on Target2
9Shots off Target4
2Blocked Shots3
6Corners3
8Fouls9
3Offsides1
0Yellow Cards3
0Red Cards0
66.1Passing Success76.9
21Tackles22
71.4Tackles Success68.2
47.5Possession52.5
63.2Territorial Advantage36.8
348Total Passes407
38Total Crosses17
206Lost Balls201
56Recoveries55
46.71st Half Poss.53.3
45.42nd Half Poss.54.6

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