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Reading 1-1 Nottingham Forest

A game that should have ended 0-0 somehow ended up at 1-1, and sets up a rather tasty match in the reverse fixture next Wednesday.

Both sides had some decent chances. A John Swift cross early on only needed a touch that never arrived, Meite drew a save from a tight angle, and Blackett hit the post. At the other end Grabban lacked his normal goalscoring touch (although, possibly usual for the Madejski) as he volleyed over from the penalty spot, and then Rafael managed to push him wide enough when clean through on goal to stop any real chance.

Charlie Adam has been an important cog in Reading's machine recently, but pushing him into the ten role did somewhat hamper us. A couple of times he went for a shot when he could have picked someone in a better position, we failed to switch play as regularly, and Swift struggled in the deeper role. In the first half that was mainly because Forest pressed high, Pelé was caught a couple of times too. I would hope that the press was why Adam was further up the field, to save him from that pressure, and it's not like he did nothing. Just when you have a player the calibre of Swift it's disappointing to not fully utilise him.

With Joao out we need to decide which striker can fit into this new system, but I'm not sure that's Baldock. He works hard, but he's too lightweight. Puscas replaced him with half an hour left, and looked a better option. In most games this season he's played off the shoulder of the last defender, but this time he played a deeper role linking with the midfield. By no means a perfect replacement - he still seems unable to have both feet leave the ground at the same time - but better. I'd at least like to see him from the start, as long as he's up to it, at Millwall.

Meite was frustrating. Again, without Joao we need someone with an aerial presence to focus our long balls, because of that Meite won more aerial duels than any player on the pitch, and his ability to buy a foul is useful to get Swift and Adam on the ball in dangerous abilities. But his technical ability is lacking, and too often he makes the wrong decision. Too many shots from poor positions, and at one point he let the ball run out of play before he'd even controlled it. He's still only 23, and his workrate is excellent, but you're always left wanting more. Right now I'd keep him in the side, but if we can get Joao fit it may be different.

Forest's goal may have been from a corner that wasn't, after going out of play, and a handball, but to leave Ben Watson completely unmarked - especially when there are ten Reading players in the box - deserved to be punished. With the Forest players celebrating like they'd just won the league, Reading regrouped and, somehow, equalised. I actually thought that the ref was going to blow while we were busy passing the ball around the back, but eventually (quite quickly) the ball was with Obita on the left. His pinpoint cross showed the benefit of having... wingers? Putting it right onto the foot of Tobias Figueiredo, who deflected the ball into his own net. I'm still hoping that Obita can show something that justifies offering him a new contract. He's a great option at LB, but we already have a lot of cover there.

It's a solid result against fourth in the league, and it says a lot that we dominated many aspects of the game. Whether it will be the same at The City Ground is hard to tell. They'll no doubt be incredibly up for it given how this game finished, and they'll come into it off the back of a game with Luton, while we have a difficult trip to Millwall first.


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