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February 9, 2013
• Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
Referee: M. Oliver
• Attendance: 26737
R. Huth 67'
C. Jerome 81'
A. Mariappa 83'
So that's it from the Britannia Stadium. Another three points for Stoke after a dominant display. Reading will feel hard done by not to get a penalty at the end, but in truth it would have been a soft one, and harsh on the hosts for how well they've played today.
90' + 5'
Reading want a penalty! Le Fondre goes down right at the death, but Michael Oliver says no! The striker knocked it past Ryan Shotton and bumped into the defender, but it's cleared away by Stoke and that's full time!
90' + 4'
Reading break, but Cameron Jerome gets back to put in a tackle, and it falls to Begovic.
90' + 3'
Stoke in possession and wasting plenty of time by kicking it long into the corner.
90' + 1'
Harte has a free kick from near the touch line on the right wing, and with the box packed his delivery is poor, clearing the penalty area. I think he was going for goal there, a really bad decision from the veteran.
Four added minutes for Stoke to hold on...
Kebe hangs a cross up to the back post and it's headed across goal, but Stoke clear. All hands to the pump at the moment for Stoke, I believe the cliche goes.
That "spill" from Federici was actually a rather nice save, after Whelan's shot was deflected. Many apologies to the Australian keeper.
Set for a grandstand finish at the Britannia Stadium, but Stoke still holding the ball well and doing most of the attacking. Pearce saves the day for Reading, as Whelan's shot from distance is spilled by Federici. With Walters running in to follow-up, the centre-back gets a vital touch to take it clear of the striker.
Yellow CardGeoff Cameron
Assist Ian Harte
GOAL! It's not over yet! Adrian Mariappa gets half-a-yard on Glenn Whelan at the front post from a corner, and powers a header past Begovic. About 10 minutes to go, I would say (including injury time). All to play for now!
GOAL! Cameron Jerome is the goalscorer, and that should seal the win for the hosts. It's a fantastic strike from the substitute, who brings down a high ball under pressure from Pearce. He turns with his first touch, and facing away from goal, hits a ferocious effort on the spin and into the far corner, giving Federici no chance. A great effort.
Really poor from Reading. A counterattack with three on two for the visitors. Kebe passes to Pogrebnyak, but doesn't put enough on it. The striker has to check back and eventually runs the ball out of play. Frustrating for the travelling fans.
Walters whips in a cross for Kenwyne Jones, but his header towards the far post is cleared for a corner, and Reading eventually get it out of the danger area.
Reading had the ball in the Stoke net there, but it was ruled out. Pogrebnyak was adjudged to have handled (a little harshly) after the ball was kicked at him. Le Fondre gathered the ball, and finished quite nicely, but the Stoke defenders had already stopped.
Reading seeing plenty of the ball now, and are starting to launch the ball long. Stoke dealing with that pretty well so far though, as you might expect.
Yellow CardGlenn Whelan
Glenn Whelan is booked for a tackle on Mikele Leigertwood, and it was quite a nasty one, with both players refusing to pull out. Whelan looked to have taken the worst of it, but definitely left the floor when making the challenge.
Movement on the Reading bench now following that goal, it looks like Garath McCleary will be joining the fray.
GOAL! Robert Huth heads home at the far post, a great effort in off the bar with Reading slipping up for the first time. First goal of the season for the German centre-back.
So close! Walters somehow brings the ball down in the box from a free kick, swivels and shoots, but it is deflected over for a corner.
A couple of changes there for the hosts, as Cameron Jerome coming on for the impressive Peter Crouch and Michael Kightly replaced by Kenwyne Jones, with Jonathan Walters heading out to the right wing.
Ian Harte whips in Reading's first corner of the game, and it's cleared to the edge of the box where former Crawley Town midfielder Hope Akpan is waiting. However, his shot is deflected and all the pace is taken off it, with Begovic collecting calmly.
Again Etherington does well, linking up with Crouch on the edge of the box before looping a cross in towards the far post. Federici claims it well, though, with Walters waiting to pounce.
Half an hour left at the Britannia Stadium, not currently looking close to a goal at either end, with both goalkeepers largely untested. Let's see if I can jinx it with that comment though...
Stoke line up their ninth corner of the game, but again it comes to nothing for the hosts. Reading have defended exceptionally well from the high-ball here.
Watch out Stoke City - here comes Adam le Fondre. The striker scored five goals in January from the substitutes' bench, and has equalled the Premier League record for most goals scored in a season off the bench.
Adam Le Fondre
Almost! A ball in from the right and it is yet another Peter Crouch knockdown. His link-up play has been fantastic today. The header just evades Walters, bounces off Mariappa, and lands safely in the welcoming hands of Federici.
'The Pog' isn't looking happy at some of the treatment he is getting. He's put under pressure by the Stoke defence out by the touchline, and simply kicks the ball out of play, expecting to hear a whistle. A little odd from the striker.
Alex Fisher reporting from Stoke: "The second half appears to have a bit more urgency about it here at the Brittania but chances are still at a premium, in fact neither keeper has had a shot to save since the restart. Reading have changed from a 4-5-1 formation to a 4-4-2 formation in the second half with Nick Blackman moving upfront alongside Pavel Pogrebnyak."
Been a pretty low-key start to the second half, keeping in-tone with the entire first half. This game will need something pretty special to avoid being last on the highlights shows - although the last time I said that about a match, it did not happen, so sorry if that's cursed, folks.
And we're off for the second half.
The Premier League stats are telling us that Stoke have had 70% of possession in the first half, with the two teams now coming out for the second half.
So, at half-time, the big questions: What half-time entertainment could possibly improve on that wonderful first 45 minutes, when will we see Adam le Fondre for Reading, and what does Alex Fisher make of it? Well, the third question I can answer for you right now: "Half time here at the Britannia Stadium and it has been far from a classic, with neither side playing anything resembling quality football. Stoke have probably edged it slightly and did have the best chance through Crouch late on but Federici saved well."
45' + 2'
Solid clearance from the visitors, and the makings of a good counterattack but 'the Pog' shows too much of it to the defenders and it is nicked back before referee Michael Oliver blows for half-time.
45' + 1'
Long throw coming up for Stoke...
Coming up to half-time now. Reading may have to change things up at the break, because they really aren't creating anything, and Pavel Pogrebnyak has struggled to get any touches of the ball so far.
And so ends the great corner run of the 40 minute mark for Stoke. There were about four in there by my reckoning. Reading get the ball clear and earn a free kick to alleviate some of the pressure.
Stoke come close again! From the resulting corner, Robert Huth's strike is well-blocked by a Reading foot. Or it might have been Federici again. Panic stations for the visitors.
Close for Stoke! Kightly puts in a great nutmeg on Harte before firing in a cross. The ball eventually falls for Crouch, who chests it down before volleying it on the turn, but Federici makes a great save to push it over.
All a bit quiet at the Britannia Stadium. Reading are trying to get forward, but not really troubling the Stoke backline.
Chance! Federici manages to glove away a corner, but Ryan Shawcross' engineered, looping volley comes straight back at him and he has to be alert to push it over the bar.
It initially goes short, but Reading struggle to clear. It keeps coming back in until Walters' header is easily picked up by Federici. There did look a chance for N'Zonzi to unleash a volley in all of that, but he got a call from Kightly, who opted to recycle possession. An effort on target would have been nice there, really (unless you are a Reading fan).
First real long throw of the day, and Shotton's effort is headed clear by the Reading defence. Another coming up though...
First real effort. Michael Kightly gets the ball wide on the right. After angling to cross on his right foot, he cuts inside and shoots on his left, but it rather tame and blocked by a defender. Federici would have saved it had the defender not cleared.
Some nice link-up play between Crouch and Steven N'Zonzi, with the ball again going wide to Etherington, but his cross is deflected and Federici just about keeps it in play.
Kightly gets a knockdown from Crouch on the edge of the box, but handles it and a free kick is given. That just about sums up the level of play so far this afternoon with a quarter of the match gone.
Begovic is out in the channel on the left and shanks a clearance high into the air and it drops out for a throw-in right next to him. Nothing comes of it for the visitors, but plenty of jeers for the visiting fans to let loose.
Stoke starting to up the pressure on the visitors, but no real danger for Federici to deal with as of yet.
Etherington delivers another great cross from the left. Crouch is leaning all over the defender but isn't penalised. His knockdown is eventually cleared after a bit of a playground scramble.
Fair to say it has not been a classic so far, but then Stoke are famed for their, shall we say, classic style of play. The visitors, meanwhile, are struggling to get going. A couple of crosses so far, but none have connected with a Reading player thus far.
Alex Fisher reports from Stoke: "We have played 10 minutes here at the Britannia Stadium and to say the standard has been poor would be a serious compliment. Neither side keeping hold of the ball well, long balls being played from defenders to strikers and passes being mis-placed right, left and centre. On a positive note, things can only get better."
Great ball in from Etherington, bending away from Federici in the Reading goal, and on the six-yard line, Crouch heads wide under some decent pressure from a visiting defender. Good chance for the hosts, there.
A cross is put into the Stoke box from deep, but it is easily collected by Begovic under no pressure. Reading are trying to get the ball down and play so far in this match, but it's not quite working yet.
Stoke's tactics clearly in effect already. The two centre-backs are hitting the ball up towards Crouch and Walters, with Etherington and Kightly pushed up very high looking for knockdowns.
Stoke come close! A corner is whipped across the face of goal, and Peter Crouch almost gets on the end of it, but cannot get a touch to force it home.
And we're off!
We are about to get underway at the Britannia Stadium...
And as you may have noticed, that is Reading handing a full debut to Nick Blackman, a recent signing from Sheffield United.
Reading: Federci; Kelly, Mariappa, Pearce, Harte; McAnuff, Leigertwood, Akpan, Kebe; Blackman; Pogrebnyak. Subs: Taylor, Shorey, Morrison, Karacan, McCleary, Le Fondre, Hunt.
Stoke: Begovic; Shotton, Huth, Shawcross, Wilkinson; Kightly, Whelan, N’Zonzi, Etherington; Walters, Crouch. Subs: Sorensen, Cameron, Whitehead, Adam, Jerome, Jones, Owen.
Hello, and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of Stoke v Reading. We're 15 minutes from kick-off, and the team news is coming up...
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