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The Madejski Stadium (ATT 19,873) 1st January 2014 - Kick off 15:00

Reading Reading vs Nottingham Forest N Forest

Reading 1

S Kelly (90+5)

ft

N Forest 1

G Halford (36)

Championship: Stephen Kelly scores in stoppage time to earn Reading a 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest

Last Updated: 02/01/14 10:43am

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Stephen Kelly (2nd right): Celebrates his last-gasp leveller

Stephen Kelly (2nd right): Celebrates his last-gasp leveller

Stephen Kelly scored in stoppage time as Reading grabbed a 1-1 Championship draw with Nottingham Forest at the Madjeski Stadium on New Year's Day.

Dominant Forest looked all set for their third straight win in the Championship after Greg Halford's first-half header, but Kelly headed home the equaliser to rescue a point for the hosts.

The consolation for Forest was they at least stretched their unbeaten run to seven matches, while the equaliser ended a run of three consecutive defeats for Reading.

Forest lost 3-2 to Reading at the City Ground in late November, but had subsequently embarked on a six-match unbeaten run of three wins and three draws.

Successive victories against QPR and Leeds over the Christmas period cemented their place in the top six.

In stark contrast, Reading's form had dipped dramatically after the success at Forest.

They had lost four of their past five matches and the last three in a row, dropping from fifth to ninth position in the table. A series of injuries to key players had further hampered manager Nigel Adkins' team selection.

Rain lashed down at the Madejski Stadium from the start, making conditions slippery but far from unplayable. It led to a low-key opening, with neither side willing or able to muster anything of note going forward.

Billy Sharp could have done better for Reading, but he allowed Jamaal Lascelles to recover from an error to clear the danger.

Forest awoke and twice Jamie Paterson let fly. First, his well-struck 25-yard shot was deflected behind for a corner. Then he sent in another long-range effort that was comfortably saved by home goalkeeper Alex McCarthy.

As the rain relented, the football began to improve.

Danny Guthrie released Nick Blackman and the winger bemused Eric Lichaj before unleashing an angled drive that sailed narrowly over the Forest crossbar.

Forest replied by going ahead in the 36th minute.

Reid swung over a free-kick from the left and Halford, a former Reading player, rose above a pack of defenders to guide in a looping header. It was his third goal in as many games.

Reading appeared powerless to respond, clearly lacking any confidence after such a poor run, and their disorganisation was again apparent in the second half.

Forest continued to control the flow, with Henri Lansbury and Reid easily winning the midfield battle.

Forest should have increased their lead when Reid chipped a cross into the home area and Halford found himself alone. This time, though, he was wasteful, stooping low to head straight at McCarthy.

Paterson was also denied, by a last-ditch block from Kelly at McCarthy's near post.

The weather deteriorated again, as did Reading's play.

Forest substitute Matt Derbyshire should have wrapped it up but twice shot wide from promising positions.

Forest had to survive a scare near the end when an Alex Pearce header from a Guthrie corner was nodded off the line by Derbyshire, but they could not keep out Kelly's late header from a Royston Drenthe free-kick.

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Table

Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Watford 12 24
2 Derby County 12 23
3 Middlesbrough 12 23
4 Norwich City 12 21
5 Nottingham Forest 12 21
6 Ipswich Town 12 20
7 Wolverhampton Wanderers 12 20
8 Charlton Athletic 12 19
9 Bournemouth 12 18
10 Brentford 12 18
11 Sheffield Wednesday 12 17
12 Cardiff City 12 16
13 Blackburn Rovers 12 16
14 Leeds United 12 15
15 Rotherham United 12 15
16 Reading 12 15
17 Huddersfield Town 12 15
18 Millwall 12 13
19 Wigan Athletic 12 11
20 Brighton and Hove Albion 12 11
21 Birmingham City 12 11
22 Fulham 12 10
23 Bolton Wanderers 12 8
24 Blackpool 12 6