Match Report: Reading make up in spirit for a shortage of quality against Fulham

Reading 3 Fulham 3

Madejski Stadium

Reading have spirit. Scoring an 85th minute equaliser is sufficient proof of that. Scoring another equaliser in the 90th minute, even more so. What they do not have, though, is enough control or quality. Leading Fulham 1‑0 at home they allowed them to stroll back into the game. So, even after their late rally, Brian McDermott's team still lack a Premier League win.

It was certainly impressive that Reading rescued a point yesterday. There were four goals in the last 13 minutes of a match that had begun at walking pace, and three in the final five. Such manic spells tend to resolve themselves in favour of the team with more confidence and experience. But Reading twice managed to bend the game back their way.

With five minutes left, and Reading 2-1 down, Adam Le Fondre burst down the left, and hooked a cross in. It fell to his fellow substitute Garath McCleary who stabbed the ball past Mark Schwarzer. Two minutes later, Dimitar Berbatov put Fulham back in front. Two minutes after that, Nicky Shorey's free-kick dropped, eventually, to Hal Robson-Kanu, who bundled in the game's sixth and final goal.

"Anyone who has been here knows they are going to keep going," McDermott said of his players. "We know for a fact we are never going to give in, we are going to keep going."

It is worth asking, though, how Reading allowed it to come to that. This is precisely the sort of game that they should have won, against one of the League's weakest travelling sides. They even went ahead, through Mikele Leigertwood after 25 minutes. But their midfield lacked the cool authority that is needed in the top flight.

"People will talk about 'the win'," McDermott said. "What is important is to play the game. Forget 'the win', that will come."

McDermott had decided that he would go with a fairly rudimentary line-up yesterday. He paired his two target men, Pavel Pogrebnyak and Jason Roberts, up front together for the first time.

The approach worked at first. After 25 minutes Roberts stole the ball from Chris Baird, passed to Jobi McAnuff who found Leigertwood 20 yards out. The midfielder drove the ball perfectly into the top corner. From there, though, Reading started to retreat, until their final late rally.

Fulham must feel a different sort of frustration. They began the game prettily enough, passing better than their hosts, but without much edge. "We started off brightly, had possession, but no purpose to our game," Martin Jol said. "We didn't get the ball forward enough for my liking."

Hugo Rodallega started up front, with Dimitar Berbatov behind him. The Colombian international missed two headed chances in the first half and Fulham were lacking something. Jol replaced Rodallega, then, with Bryan Ruiz after 58 minutes. Berbatov, who needed an injection to play the second half, moved up front and Ruiz took his place in the hole.

Just three minutes after coming on, Ruiz scored. He received the ball in space, exchanged passes with Damien Duff and, from the edge of the box, curled it with his left foot into the far top corner.

Ruiz set up Berbatov, who shot into the side netting, and nearly John Arne Riise. Eventually Ruiz got the assist to go with his goal, curling a corner on to Baird's forehead. "He is the one who can create chances," Jol said of his brilliant Costa Rican, "play the ball forward, killer passes, great vision."

If Jol thought Fulham had won the game at 2-1, he certainly must have done at 3-2.

Straight after McCleary's goal, Berbatov received a pass on the left side of the box, shuffled backwards and clipped it into the far corner.

But Reading's spirit, for this game at least, matched Fulham's quality. "It was like the Harlem Globetrotters when they brought Ruiz on," McDermott said. "We all know Berbatov is an absolute class act. They have Brede Hangeland at the back, Mahamadou Diarra in the middle and Damien Duff – they have a number of players of real quality. We have to be the best group in the League."

Reading (4-4-2): McCarthy; Cummings, Mariappa, Gorkss, Shorey; Kebe (Robson-Kanu, 77), Leigertwood, Tabb (McCleary, 69), McAnuff; Pogrebnyak (Le Fondre, 80), Roberts.

Fulham (4-2-3-1): Schwarzer, Riether, Hughes, Hangeland, Riise; Diarra, Baird (Sidwell, 80); Duff (Dejagah, 67), Berbatov, Richardson; Rodallega (Ruiz, 58).

Referee: Mike Jones.

Man of the match: Ruiz (Fulham)

Match rating: 8/10

Voices
Lucerne’s Hotel Château Gütsch, one of the lots in our Homeless Veterans appeal charity auction
charity appeal
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
tv
News
people

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
News
i100
Travel
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
Arts and Entertainment
Jennifer Saunders stars as Miss Windsor, Dennis's hysterical French teacher
filmJennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Nabil Bentaleb (centre) celebrates putting Tottenham ahead
footballTottenham 4 Newcastle 0: Spurs fans dreaming of Wembley final after dominant win
Voices
Jimmy Mubenga died after being restrained on an aircraft by G4S escorts
voicesJonathan Cox: Tragedy of Jimmy Mubenga highlights lack of dignity shown to migrants
Life and Style
Sebastian Siemiatkowski is the 33-year-old co-founder and CEO of Klarna, which provides a simple way for people to buy things online
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum