Royals remain bottom of League One – Reading Today Online

Reading v Bristol Rovers

READING FC remain bottom of the League One table after Bristol Rovers came back from a goal down to take a point at the Select Car Leasing Stadium.

The Royals went ahead when Sam Smith lashed the ball in to net his first goal since returning to the club in the summer.

Rovers responded in the second-half when former Royal Chris Martin smacked the ball past David Button to earn his team a point.

The draw means that Reading are winless in their last eight and are seven points adrift of safety.

Looking for their first league win in seven matches, Ruben Selles lined-up with a youthful looking back four which included a league debut for defender Jeriel Dorsett.

Despite naturally being a centre-back, Dorsett was deployed as a left-back next to the young pairing of Nelson Abbey and Tyler Bindon in the centre of defence.

There was a start in central midfield for Sam Hutchinson after he returned to the team after a few weeks on the sidelines in Reading’s FA Cup win over MK Dons.

After a low key start to proceedings, a chance almost came the way of Femi Azeez when he cut out a sloppy pass from the back, but was unable to profit from it.

Rovers’ first opportunity was created by Aaron Collins from the right hand side of the box and he stung the gloves of David Button who sprung low to parry the shot away.

Lewis Wing tried a spectacular lob when he spotted goalkeeper Matthew Cox off his line, but his effort didn’t pay off and proved to be a simple catch for the keeper.

The game paused temporarily as tennis balls were thrown onto the pitch for a fourth consecutive league home match.

After the game resumed, Charlie Savage was booked for simulation after taking a dive in the middle of the park which means he will be suspended for Reading’s trip to Shrewsbury.

Savage tried to make amends when he linked up with Harvey Knibbs, who did brilliantly to hold off a defender and tee up the Welshman who curled a shot that dropped just wide of the far post.

After a quiet opening 40 minutes, there was finally some goalmouth action when Knibbs stole possession deep in Rovers’ half. He played it through to Sam Smith who took aim and drilled the ball into the bottom corner with a super finish to net his first goal since returning to the club in the summer.

The Royals should have extended their lead when Knibbs showed neat footwork in the box to skip past two defenders before he failed to cap off the move with what was a tame finish.

Button was required to make two stops in quick succession at the start of the second-half.

After initially giving away possession, he kept out Jevani Brown’s shot before he was tasked to make a much more impressive save to claw away a deflected effort from Collins that looked headed for the top corner.

Reading could, and should, have hurt Rovers on the counter when Abbey brought the ball out of defence and opted to play a pass to Lewis Wing when Femi Azeez had found himself in acres of space on the right, with the attack wasted.

The Gas got back on terms just before the hour when Reading were caught out by a ball in behind which Chris Martin latched onto before he planted the ball past Button into the roof of the net.

Dorsett had a chance to mark his debut with a goal when Wing picked him out with a pinpoint free-kick with the defender unable to direct the ball on target as it scrambled away from Smith also.

Selles’ next switch saw Michael Craig replace Hutchinson in the heart of midfield.

A double change with 10 minutes to go saw Smith and Dorsett replaced by Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan and Nesta Guinness-Walker.

Both teams had shouts for penalties in added time, but nothing was given as the game was spared of late drama.

Neither side was able to forge out a clear cut chance to snatch a winner as the points were shared.

The result keeps Reading bottom of the table after 15 matches.

Reading are back on the road this weekend when they face 19th placed Shrewsbury Town.

Reading: Button, Guinness-Walker, Abbey, Bindon, Yiadom, Hutchinson, Savage, Wing, Knibbs, Azeez, Smith

Subs: Pereira, Elliott, Dean, Ballard, Ehibhatiomhan, Guinness-Walker, Craig

Bristol Rovers: Cox, Grant, Wilson, Finley, Collins, Thomas, Woods, Taylor, Martin, Brown, Friend

Subs: Hall, Gordon, Marquis, Vale, Bogarde, Crama, Gibbons

Goals: Smith 40’, Martin 57’

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *