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18:01 6th February 2016

Hard-Fought Contest

Reading 0

Wolves 0

Wolves and Reading fought out a goalless draw in a hard-fought contest at the Madejski Stadium. Chances were of a premium but it was a much improved performance from Kenny Jackett’s team.

George Saville made his first start of the season for Wolves and James Henry returned to the starting line-up with Tommy Rowe and Joe Mason dropping down to the bench.

Wolves kicked-off defending the end of the ground that housed 1,800 of their supporters.

The first threat came in the form of Oliver Norwood who took the ball to the by-line before pulling it back into the heart of the goalmouth where Ethan Ebanks-Landell was in position to clear behind for a corner.

Wolves’ first chance came when former Reading man Henry was just beaten to Kevin McDonald’s through ball by home keeper Ali Al Habsi who had spotted the danger and was quickly out of his area to clear.

Hal Robson-Kanu looked like he was going to take full advantage when an attempted clearance was deflected into his path but his shot was cleared after Danny Batth threw himself into the path of the ball.

In the 12th minute Bjorn Sigurdarson nodded down to Henry who hit a low shot from 18-yards that was around a foot wide of the target.

Then Saville steered the ball into the path over Matt Doherty whose cross was just too high for the incoming Sigurdarson.

At the opposite end, Danny Williams’s drive struck a body in a crowded area and went behind for a corner that came to nothing, before Connor Coady went into the book for a tackle on Jordan Obita wide on the left. Then Garath McCleary’s effort from the edge of the box went straight into the arms of Carl Ikeme.

After Savile had been fouled a couple of yards outside the home area, Henry curled the free-kick around the defensive wall forcing Al Habsi into a tremendous diving save.

The final attack of a scrappy opening half, played out in blustery conditions, came when Coady set up Henry for a cross that Al Habsi collected before Sigurdarson could take advantage.

Half-Time: Reading 0 Wolves 0

Wolves had a great chance of opening their account in the 49th minute when Jake Cooper headed the ball wide of his keeper and, when it ran to Henry, the fans behind the goal were preparing to celebrate. 

But the winger failed to make proper contact and when he regained possession his cross went behind Sigurdarson and the home defence cleared their lines.

A Dominic Iorfa clearance fell at the feet of Paul McShane who was narrowly wide from 20-yards with a low drive and then, after Reading had sent Ola John on for McLeary, Ikeme got his fingertips to a fierce effort from Norwood that looked destined to find its way inside the far post.

Midway through the half Doherty teed up Coady who was well wide of the mark from just outside the box, and then Ebanks-Landell lifted the ball over a crowded six-yard box from close in but, unfortunately, over the bar too.

Saville was booked for a foul on Norwood before both sides made changes – Nathan Byrne taking the place of Rajiv van La Parra and, for Reading, Deniss Rakels replaced Matej Vydra.

In the 80th minute Ebanks-Landell dragged a shot wide after the home defence had struggled to clear a Saville corner before a great run by Sigurdarson took him into the home box where McShane’s great challenge thwarted the striker’s chance of winning it for Wolves (pictured).

McShane was booked for shoving Henry into the advertising hoardings behind the goal shortly afterwards and then a low cross from Coady landed in the heart of the six-yard box where it was a home boot that got there first to clear. 

When Robson-Kanu latched onto a half clearance he hit a low shot and it took a smart save from Ikeme to save the day.

In the final minute home penalty appeals were turned down after Rakels went down under a challenge from Batth, and in the second of the three minutes of added time, Yann Kermorgant set himself up for a volley that flew over Ikeme’s bar.

But Wolves were more than worthy of the point they collected. 

Reading: Habsi, Gunter, McShane (capt), Norwood, Vydra (Rakels 79) Robson-Kanu, Obita, McCleary (John 58), Williams, Kermorgant, Cooper.

Unused subs: Bond, Hector, Ferdinand, Piazon, Quinn.

Booking: McShane (84 – ungentlemanly conduct).

Wolves: Ikeme, Iorfa, Doherty, Saville, Batth (capt), Ebanks-Landell, van La Parra (Byrne 79) Coady, Sigurdarson, McDonald, Henry.

Unused subs: McCarey, Mason, Rowe, Price, Deslandes, Le Fondre. 

Bookings: Coady (20 – foul), Saville (70 – foul).

Referee: T. Harrington.

Attendance: 17,771 (1,805 visiting supporters).


    For the first 50 years of their existence, England played their home matches all around the country.