Wat­ford hit back to draw 3-3 with Read­ing

Fab­brini pinches a point

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - To comment on this match go to http://boards.footy­mad.net/ By James An­drew

FOR a side made up of Spa­niards, Ital­ians and Brazil­ians, Wat­ford showed a very Bri­tish at­ti­tude not to lie down and ac­cept de­feat.

Gian­franco Zola’s side were as good in the sec­ond half as they were bad in the first when they went 2-0 down at the break.

But with some game-chang­ing sub­sti­tu­tions and a never-say-die at­ti­tude Wat­ford earned a point from a game that looked dead and buried at half time.

Zola praised his side for not los­ing the game, but ac­knowl­edged that his play­ers have to learn to adapt to the fast pace of the Cham­pi­onship – and quickly.

He said: “There are a lot of new play­ers in the squad and lots of them are for­eign and maybe they thought that the game builds slowly like it some other leagues, but they need to learn to start games with a high in­ten­sity.

“At half-time I told the play­ers that it was not enough. I thought we were scratch­ing their back and they were pun­ish­ing us.

“But it pleased me that we never gave up. That is the good thing about this side, sides can score one or two against us but we will not be beaten eas­ily. I am de­lighted we have that qual­ity in this side.”

Read­ing took the lead on eight min­utes when Adam Le Fon­dre fired the home side into the lead in spec­tac­u­lar fash­ion.

Wat­ford keeper Manuel Al­mu­nia came off his line to clear a cross from Jobi McAnuff and could only punch it as far as the edge of the area where Le Fon­dre was wait­ing and hit a first-time vol­ley through a crowded penalty area into the top cor­ner.

It was no more than Read­ing de­served and they should have dou­bled the lead on the half hour mark when Le Fon­dre robbed pos­ses­sion from Gabriele An­gella on the edge of the area but fired his shot straight at ex-Arse­nal Al­mu­nia.

But the sec­ond came be­fore the break when Danny Guthrie floated a free-kick to the back post where Alex Pearce headed the ball into the six-yard box, where Jem Karacan saw his shot saved my Al­mu­nia, but the ball re­bounded back to the mid­fielder and he bun­dled the ball over the line.

It looked like game over with Wat­ford of­fer­ing lit­tle in the way of at­tack in the first half – but that changed af­ter the break, once Zola had got his point across at half-time.

First Marco Faraoni scored a header from an Al­men Abdi cor­ner to give them hope but Karacan soon damp­ened their spir­its, scor­ing his sec­ond of the game af­ter good work from Le Fon­dre and Nick Black­man.

But Wat­ford were given a life­line when Diego Fab­brini was pulled down in the box by Guthrie and ref­eree Mike Jones had no hesi­ti­a­tion in point­ing to the spot.

Troy Deeney stepped up to coolly slot the ball past Alex McCarthy from the re­sult­ing spot­kick.

And with stop­page time ap­proach­ing sub­sti­tute Fab­brini prod­ded the ball past McCarthy from close range from a Lewis McGugan de­flected shot to sal­vage a point for the Hor­nets and bring an end to this thrilling en­counter.

Royals boss Nigel Ad­kins tried not to be too down­beat af­ter the game.

He said: “It was a crack­ing game of football. It re­ally was. But for a late de­flec­tion we could have won the game.

“It was an ex­cel­lent goal from Adam Le Fon­dre and then we did well to go in at half time 2-0 up and we de­served that.

“The game was far too open and we gave pos­ses­sion away too eas­ily we could not see the game out thanks to a de­flec­tion falls into the path of their player.

“There were a lot of pos­i­tives go­ing for­ward and we played good football, and but for a late de­flec­tion we could have been cel­e­brat­ing.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

PHEW: Wat­ford’s Diego Fab­brini cel­e­brates his late lev­eller

HAVE SOME OF THAT: Read­ing’s Adam Le Fon­dre scores their first goal

READ­ING

FOR­MA­TION: 4-4-2

ALEX McCARTHY

8 Pulled off two bril­liant saves to keep his side in the lead, help­less for the goals

CHRIS GUNTER Solid at the back in the first half but un­done in the sec­ond half

WAYNE BRIDGE

6

7 Com­posed per­for­mance from the ex­pe­ri­enced for­mer Eng­land in­ter­na­tional

SEAN MOR­RI­SON

5 Game of two halves. Did well in the first, not so good in the sec­ond

ALEX PEARCE

6 Strong at the back to keep Deeney quiet and did well to set up the sec­ond goal

JEM KARACAN

8 Stayed alert to take his goal well and linked up well in mid­field with McAnuff

DANNY GUTHRIE

7 Played his part in the dom­i­nant mid­field, good free kick that lead to the sec­ond goal

ROYS­TON DREN­THE

7 Good hold up play and strong on the ball, made it tough to get the ball off him

JOBI McANUFF

7 Good strong run­ning in the mid­dle of the park from the skip­per

NICK BLACK­MAN

6 Booked for a poor chal­lenge on Forestieri but linked up well with Le Fon­dre

ADAM LE FON­DRE

8 Took his goal bril­liantly shown. A nat­u­ral goalscorer who has the abil­ity to fire Read­ing to pro­mo­tion

SUB­STI­TUTES WIL­LIAMS 6; FOR DREN­THE (69) ROB­SON-KANU 6; FOR McANUFF (74) McCLEARY 5; FOR KARACAN (83) SUBS NOT USED: FED­ERICI, KELLY, MARI­APPA, POGREBNYAK

WAT­FORD

FOR­MA­TION: 3-5-2

MANUEL AL­MU­NIA

6 Poor clear­ance lead to Read­ing’s opener, but made up for it with some good saves

LLOYD DOY­LEY

5 Could not do any­thing to stop ei­ther goal, tough af­ter­noon against the Read­ing for­wards

GABRIELE AN­GELLA

5 Dif­fi­cult af­ter­noon try­ing to deal with Le Fon­dre and came off sec­ond best

JOEL EK­STRAND

5 Tough first half against a strong Read­ing at­tack. Re­placed at half time

MARCO FARAONI

7 Got his side back into the game with a good header in the sec­ond half

AL­MEN ABDI

6 Linked up well in mid­field and crossed well for Wat­ford’s first

IRINEY SAN­TOS

6 Played well through­out and helped get his side back into the game

LEWIS McGUGAN

6 Had one chance in the first half that was com­fort­ably saved

IKECHI ANYA

6 Looked pos­i­tive and was happy to run with the ball and try and beat his man on the flank

TROY DEENEY

7 The in de­mand striker did not have too many chances, but took his penalty well

FER­NANDO FORESTIERI

5 Quite af­ter­noon, had one chance that he flashed across goal

SUB­STI­TUTES BROWN 6; FOR EK­STRAND (46) FAB­BRINI 8; FOR IRINEY (59) ACUNA 7; FOR FORESTIERI (76) SUBS NOT USED: BOND, PUDIL, SMITH, BAT­TOC­CHIO

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