The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Lewis Rudd

CHRIS Hughton re­fused to point the fin­ger at goal­keeper David Stock­dale as his Brighton side were pegged back by Read­ing at the Made­jski Sta­dium.

The Cham­pi­onship lead­ers looked well on their way to se­cur­ing a ninth win of the cam­paign when the re­called Jamie Mur­phy swept home early in the sec­ond half.

How­ever, Matej Vy­dra scored on the re­bound af­ter Stock­dale could only parry Nick Black­man’s strike from dis­tance.

The hosts con­tin­ued to push on and looked the more likely to net a win­ner, but their stub­born guests held out to leave Berk­shire with their un­beaten run in tact.

“Maybe it was a lit­tle bit too en­ter­tain­ing to­wards the end, but it was a fair re­sult,” said Hughton.

“In the first half I thought we were good, but this was al­ways go­ing to be a tough game.They have a lot of fire­power and cer­tainly know how to score a goal, and we knew we would have to come here and de­fend well.

“On the bal­ance of play it was a fair re­sult.

“I think you are al­ways dis­ap­pointed with ev­ery goal you con­cede, and there are al­ways phases of a goal you can pick out.

“I’m look­ing at a ball com­ing off Stock­dale, but be­fore that, the lad has got an op­por­tu­nity to get in a shot from a cen­tral po­si­tion.

“Stock­dale has been ex­cel­lent for us. He made some good saves and com­manded his area very well.”

The hosts were the more in­dus­tri­ous side dur­ing the open­ing 45 min­utes, and hav­ing weath­ered an early spell of pos­ses­sion from Brighton al­most broke the dead­lock from a set-piece. Oliver Nor­wood’s ef­fort from just out­side the box look des­tined for the top cor­ner, only for Stock­dale to pro­duce a top draw save at full stretch.

Fur­ther chances for the Roy­als saw in-from Black­man nar­rowly di­vert a header wide from a gor­geous Vy­dra cen­tre, while the re­called Garath McCleary and Danny Wil­liams flashed strikes wildly over the bar when well placed.

While well or­gan­ised and tidy on the ball, Brighton too had op­por­tu­ni­ties to seize the ini­tia­tive. Only a Paul McShane block de­nied Tomer

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Images

BAT­TLE: Brighton’s Beram Kayal and Read­ing’s Michael Hec­tor

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