Skipper’s red card ruling him out
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