WITH­OUT MAC...

Skip­per’s red card rul­ing him out

The Football League Paper - - NEWS -

is­sue was whether he took the ball first. Stu­art At­twell clearly thought so, al­low­ing Read­ing’s skip­per to stride away and feed Obita, who lashed an ac­cu­rate low drive in off the far post.

If any­thing, though, the goal knocked Read­ing out of their de­fen­sive stride. Ful­ham, in­spired by sub Neeskens Ke­bano, were gal­vanised.

And when Cair­ney headed home af­ter Ali Al-Habsi had spilled Malone’s weak shot, the visi­tors’ pol­icy of com­posed con­the tain­ment be­came hang­ing on for dear life. McShane, de­servedly dis­missed for a knee-high hack at McDon­ald, hardly helped their cause. Ful­ham might even have had a penalty when Fred­er­icks was felled by Obita. Con­sid­er­ing Read­ing winger sim­ply fell into Fred­er­icks’ legs, it would have been harsh.

Slav­isa Jokanovic was frus­trated by Read­ing’s tac­tics but re­fused to crit­i­cise. “It is in the rules,” said the Serb, whose side won 5-0 here in the league. “It is on the limit of the le­gal sit­u­a­tion. They ar­rived with a clear plan and it worked for an hour.

“They didn’t give us too much space to­day, but we didn’t find enough ei­ther. We kicked too many long balls to Chris Martin. Sec­ond half we passed more, moved the ball from side to side and cre­ated a lot more chances.

“But ev­ery­thing is open. The chance is still 50-50. We wanted to ar­rive in the next game with an ad­van­tage, but we are al­ways con­fi­dent.”

Stam con­curred. “It’s won’t be about abil­ity or qual­ity,” he said. It’s about deal­ing with the stress. It’s about your heart, and it’s about how much you want it.”

OFF YOU GO: Read­ing’s Paul McShane is shown a red card by ref­eree Stu­art At­twell

ON PA­TROL: Slav­isa Jokanovic, left, and Jaap Stam

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