READING 1 TOWN 1
Nahki Wells scored his second goal of the week to earn Town an impressive point at Play-Off chasing Reading.
The striker’s fourth minute strike from Tommy Smith’s long ball was superbly taken; however, the Terriers protected the lead for little over two minutes.
Pavel Pogrebnyak’s spot kick, after Jobi McAnuff was adjudged to have been fouled, levelled matters and 1-1 was the way that the match finished.
Town had by far the better chances to win the game though; Wells hit the upright whilst Adam Clayton and Danny Ward brought the best out of Alex McCarthy with efforts from range.
Mark Robins fielded an unchanged XI at the Madejski and they got off to a fantastic start with Nahki Wells netting his fifth of the season inside four minutes.
Tommy Smith’s hopeful ball forward proved too difficult for former Terrier Sean Morrison to deal with and Wells calmly controlled and stroked the ball past Alex McCarthy from 12 yards.
Reading hadn’t won at home in five matches before today, but they were quickly level from a rather contentious penalty award. Jobi McAnuff went past Adam Clayton and into Town’s penalty area far too easily and when the midfielder went down under a challenge from Tommy Smith, referee Stroud pointed at the spot.
Pavel Pogrebnyak shouldered the responsibility and sent Alex Smithies the wrong way.
Morrison returned to a Reading defence which featured winger Jordan Obita at left-back and as a unit they looked far from secure. Norwood tested McCarthy from range before Clayton drew a world class save from the stopper with an arching effort from 25 yards.
In the 12th minute Wells almost restored Town’s advantage, but his shot from the edge of the area cannoned back off Reading’s upright.
Opportunities kept falling the way of Terriers as the half wore on with Danny Ward and Adam Hammill both firing over from good areas before Wells forced McCarthy into another low save after some direct running by the Bermudian.
The home side looked unable to cope with Town at times, but they weren’t without a threat in the final third. A fantastic piece of interplay down their right-wing released Chris Gunter whose cutback found Pavel Pogrebnyak’s head, but his effort was superbly turned away by a full stretch Smithies.
Anthony Gerrard then blocked Hal Robson-Kanu’s effort and Smithies kept out Michael Hector’s rebound as the pendulum swung Reading’s way.
The end to end nature of the first half had definitely taken its toll on both sets of players with the second half starting at a far less frenetic pace.
Reading were first to try though, with goal scorer Pogrebnyak shooting into the side netting from close range.
However, just like in the first half, McCarthy was the busier of the two ‘keepers. Gobern forced him into a fairly elementary save with a well struck effort on the hour mark before Ward had him scrambling with a low effort from 20 yards, which would have sneaked in.
With ten minutes to go Town were the team in the ascendency with Hammill causing problems down the left. He won the Terriers a corner, which he took, and found the head of the unmarked Murray Wallace with, but with McCarthy beaten Obita cleared off the line.
Town were the team most likely to snatch an equaliser as 90 minutes approached, but in the end neither side did quite enough to win the game.
Town’s team (4-5-1):
Alex Smithies; Paul Dixon, Peter Clarke (c), Anthony Gerrard (Murray Wallace, 46), Tommy Smith; Danny Ward (Sean Scannell, 75), Oscar Gobern, Oliver Norwood, Adam Clayton, Adam Hammill; Nahki Wells
Ian Bennett, Calum Woods, Jonathan Hogg, Duane Holmes, Harry Bunn
Bookings Town: Tommy Smith 1, Oscar Gobern 75, Adam Clayton 90