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Reading 2-2 Fulham Cham 35 1516 - Reading Chronicle

last updated Monday 07th March 2016, 10:28 PM


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Anthony Smith at Reading Chronicle


Reading (2) 2-2 (1) Fulham


Hal Robson-Kanu gave Reading FC a warning of what they could be missing next season with both goals in a 2-2 draw against Fulham.

The sought-after winger scored twice in the first half - one of them a penalty he won himself - to take his tally to three goals in his last three games and five for the campaign.

Sadly, it was not enough to clinch a fourth straight win in all competitions for Brian McDermott's Royals as Moussa Dembele and Ross McCormack scored either side of Robson-Kanu's brace to claim a point for the visitors.

Robson-Kanu's contract is due to expire this June and he is facing the prospect of heading to the Euro 2016 finals with Wales as a free agent.

Royals are yet to offer him a new deal, though Robson-Kanu took the decision himself not to open talks until this season is over.

Whether he stays at Madejski Stadium remains to be seen as Swansea City have been heavily linked with the former Arsenal trainee, who is unlikely to be short of offers as a Bosman free transfer.

As for Reading, they are now unbeaten in six matches under McDermott and are slowly building confidence.

They may have been favourites before today's kick off, but Fulham belied their league position with a performance of guts and skill to frustrate the home side.

McDermott made one change from the side that won 4-3 at Charlton Athletic a week earlier.

Paul McShane was ruled out through injury so Anton Ferdinand took his place on his first start for over a month.

But Deniss Rakels' injury-time winner at The Valley was not enough to force his way into the starting line-up, with the Latvia striker named on the bench again.

The Cottagers arrived with a dreadful away record of only two league wins on their travels all season.

But they pushed Royals back in the opening exchanges and took the lead with six minutes on the clock.

It took some last-ditch defending from Ferdinand to cut out a corner with the Cottagers attacking.

But Royals switched off at the flag-kick and Michel Madl's nod-back found the unmarked Dembele, who took advantage by hooking the ball past Ali Al Habsi from six yards out.

Al Habsi, named February's Player of the Month before kick-off, got a strong hand to the ball but failed to keep it out.

Reading just weren't at the races, but they were almost gifted an equaliser with 19 minutes gone when Fulham keeper Andy Lonergan misjudged Oliver Norwood's corner, but Yann Kermorgant was unable to take advantage from close range.

It was not a great start from either keeper, and two minutes later Al Habsi spilled Tom Cairney long-range effort before McCormack went down as he chased the rebound, but referee Simon Hooper waved his penalty claim away.

Yet it was another spot kick at the other end which put Royals back on level terms.

Robson-Kanu was tripped in the area by Fernando Amorebieta, and the Welshman dusted himself down before sending Lonergan the wrong way.

Back came Fulham and a goal-bound drive from ex-Royal Chris Baird was bravely blocked by Stephen Quinn just after the half-hour mark.

And moments later McCormack's 30-yard free-kick was too hot for Al Habsi to handle, forcing Reading to scramble the ball away from inside their six yard box.

But if Royals were looking wobbly at the back, they began to click going forward and they took the lead four minutes before the break.

Quinn picked out John's run with a clever pass and the on-loan Benfica winger floated a perfect cross-shot to the back post for Robson-Kanu to head home from close range.

Sadly, Robson-Kanu's afternoon came to a premature end as he failed to reappear for the second half after picking up an Achilles injury, and was replaced by Garath McCleary.

Royals though, refused to slack off and they almost snatched a third less than a minute after the restart when Kermorgant was clean through but dragged his shot wide of the far post.

But the wind was quickly taken out of Royals' sails when Fulham levelled from the spot in the 52nd minute.

Jake Cooper's clumsy challenge on Fredericks gave Hooper little choice but to point to the spot and McCormack fired past Al Habsi for his 19th goal of the season.

It was end-to-end stuff and Reading almost got their noses back in front when John teed up Quinn with a cheeky back-heel, but the Irishman's angled-drive deflected an inch wide of the post.

Norwood swung in the perfect delivery from the resulting corner, only for John to head over from a good position.

John was proving to be a thorn in Fulham's side and he forced a vital save from Lonergan in the 69th minute.

Then only a superb last-ditch tackle by Ashley Richards prevented Kermorgant from tucking home the rebound.

Reading threatened again four minutes later, but Cooper could not keep his header down from John's centre.

At that point it only looked a matter of time before Royals snatched a late winner, as they had done a week ago against the Addicks.

But chances for Kermorgant and John came and went and Fulham held out for the draw.

A point moved Reading up one place in the table to 11th ahead of a long trip to Huddersfield on Tuesday night (7.45pm ko) followed by the FA Cup quarter final clash against Crystal Palace next Friday night.























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