18 August 2012 18:46
Reading salvaged a late 1-1 draw against Stoke City on their return to the English Premier League after late drama at the Madejski Stadium.
Debutant Michael Kightly opened the scoring on 35 minutes after some poor goalkeeping from Adam Federici saw his deflected shot go through the hands of the Australian.
When the lively Garath McCleary was clumsily brought down by Dean Whitehead, who was sent off for the challenge, Adam le Fondre coolly put away his first Premier League goal to snatch an unlikely point for Reading a minute from time on Saturday.
The opening goal looked as though it would come aerially as Reading’s Kaspars Gorkss and Stoke’s Jonathan Walters both threatened.
Ireland international Walters was lively and followed his near miss with a shot that was saved by Federici.
The Australian goalkeeper, though, lost his concentration a few minutes later.
Gorkss’ poor headed clearance had Reading in trouble as it fell straight to the unchallenged Kightly.
But, despite initially saving the winger’s shot, Federici inexplicably let it drop into the net under him to give the visitors the lead 10 minutes before half-time.
Walters and le Fondre both threatened before the break, but Stoke held firm to take their 1-0 lead into the interval.
Stoke could have extended their lead had it not been for the heroics of Reading defender Gorkss.
Whitehead played a magnificent cross-field pass to Peter Crouch, who nodded it across the goal to Walters, but the 28-year-old could not sort out his feet and Gorkss cleared the danger excellently.
After a largely scrappy half, Reading found their equaliser to secure a late point.
The impressive McCleary darted towards the Stoke area, playing a nice exchange with Noel Hunt.
As he got into the area, Whitehead hauled him down, and despite Reading taking the shot, the referee had no option but to point to the spot.
Former Sunderland man Whitehead was shown his second yellow card and le Fondre beat Asmir Begovic from the penalty spot.
Reading almost snatched all three points through veteran Ian Harte, whose free-kick whistled just over the bar to see his side settle for a draw.