Wolves comeback stuns Royals

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WOLVES managed to turn things around in their Division One play-off semi-final in a classic game of two halves, as they came from a goal down to earn a 2-1 win at Molineux.

Alan Pardew's Royals looked controlled and comfortable in the first 45 minutes of the game, and went in at the break with a deserved lead through Nicky Forster's strike.

The hosts had looked nervous and on edge but piled on the pressure in the second half and the loss of Forster through injury only served to unsettle Reading even further as they looked to see the game out.

Wolves drew level through a slightly fortuitous goal from substitute Shaun Newton that took two deflections, with the final touch coming off Graeme Murty.

Royals keeper Marcus Hahnemann made a string of fine stops to keep them in the game but Lee Naylor gave Wolves the lead with six minutes left to play, while youngster Nathan Tyson was also harshly sent off in stoppage time to add insult to injury.

Earlier, Reading had looked the calmer of the two sides and played the better football, with the deserved lead coming after 25 minutes when Nicky Shorey's wicked cross was missed by Paul Butler and goalkeeper Matt Murray, and Forster controlled well before firing home.

Wolves came out of the blocks with much more purpose in the second half, and Hahnemann had to be at his best to keep the Royals ahead.

He first tipped George Ndah's fierce left foot shot wide with a strong one-handed save before then repeating the feat with his left hand to keep out Kenny Miller's fine low strike.

Forster was forced to limp out of the action with an ankle injury just after the hour, and that was when the game started turning against Reading.

Wolves skipper Paul Ince galloped into the box and looked to have been brought down for a penalty, but Newton was taking no chances and struck a shot at goal, that looked to be going wide from the first deflection only for Murty to divert the ball into the back of the net.

Wolves were well and truly on top at this stage and Hahenmann had to do well again to once more deny Miller with a good stop, Butler should have given Wolves the lead directly from the corner but he somehow shot wide when unmarked six yards out.

Ince was brought down again on the edge of the box on 84 minutes and Naylor stepped up to drive the ball through a crowd of players into the bottom corner to send Molineux wild.

A sour point for Wolves came as Miller injured his ankle in the celebrations and had to be replaced by Dean Sturridge.

To add insult to injury Nathan Tyson was sent off in stoppage time for foul and abusive language after a late tackle on Butler, who had to be carried off as a result.

Dave Jones will be hoping that now will finally be the time that Wolves can come through the play-offs after so much heartache, but the game is still finely balanced.

Reading will be desperate for Forster to be available for Wednesday night as they suffered after he was forced to go off, while Wolves also have worries over Miller and Butler for the nerve-jangling return at the Madejski.