Joey Barton praised after QPR snatch draw against Reading

The midfielder equalised 12 minutes from time

QPR assistant manager Kevin Bond praised the efforts of Joey Barton for helping his side snatch a 1-1 draw at Reading, even though it was not enough to take them back to the top of the Sky Bet Championship.

Reading took a 62nd-minute lead through Garath McCleary but midfielder Barton equalised 12 minutes from time with a well-flighted free-kick to earn Rangers a point.

"Joey was excellent," Bond said. "He got a great goal and that really got us back in the game. He was terrific all match and he has been terrific for us all season."

Bond did feel, though, that Rangers missed the chance to take a stranglehold on the game in the first half.

"We had a number of chances early on and should have been at least 2-0 up but their keeper [Alex McCarthy] made a number of wonderful saves," he added.

"It would have been a whole different game if it had panned out early on for us. But I knew Reading would eventually come back at us and they did.

"Not scoring many goals does put a bit of pressure on yourselves but, thankfully, we've been mostly tight at the back this season."

QPR had got back on track, after three matches without a win, by beating Derby 2-1 in their last outing.

They tore into Reading from the off, with Junior Hoilett striking the bar from 25 yards and Charlie Austin twice being denied by athletic saves from McCarthy.

Reading gradually got into contention, with Pavel Pogrebnyak jabbing a shot just wide from a McCleary cross and also nodding over from a Chris Gunter centre. QPR keeper Robert Green also had to make a fine stop to keep out a glancing header from Chris Baird from a Guthrie free-kick.

QPR responded swiftly, with McCarthy again in action and having to make fine saves from an Austin header and an angled drive from Hoilett.

But Reading, hammered 5-2 at Sheffield Wednesday in their previous outing, went ahead just after the hour when McCleary unleashed a dipping 25-yard shot that deceived Green and bounced in off a post.

Reading could have doubled their lead, with Green saving smartly from Jordan Obita, but QPR stole a point when Kaspars Gorkss clumsily fouled Austin on the edge of the area and Barton clipped home the free-kick through a gap in the defensive wall. McCarthy got a hand to the ball but could not keep it out.

Reading manager Nigel Adkins was pleased at the reaction from his side after the 5-2 debacle against Wednesday.

"I anticipated a good response and no one let me down," Adkins said. "It was a good game with a lot of energy from both sides. We went in front and wanted to see it out but they got back into it with a good goal.

"We keep getting on the scorecard and keep ticking over. As long as we stay in the race, that's the main thing. Every game in this division is a challenge, every game is competitive. We drew a line under the Sheffield Wednesday game and we're just now striving to improve."

Bond, meanwhile, confirmed that central defender Richard Dunne, who was replaced at half-time, had a back injury and is likely to miss Ireland's friendlies against Latvia and Poland.

PA

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