Wokingham Today

Frustrated Stam settles for another draw

Reading 2 Leeds United 2

- By TOM CROCKER tcrocker@wokinghamp­aper.co.uk

JAAP STAM was left rueing missed opportunit­ies as Reading were forced to settle for another home draw.

The Royals led 1-0 through Jon

Dadi Bodvarsson and squandered two big opportunit­ies to double the tally through George Evans and Mo Barrow.

And Leeds punished the misses, moving 2-1 ahead thanks to goals from Pontus Jansson and Pablo Hernandez either side of half-time.

But a Eunan O’Kane own goal levelled the contest at 2-2 and saw the spoils shared, with Reading slipping down to 19th in the Championsh­ip table and still seeking a first league victory on a Saturday since April.

“It is frustratin­g,” admitted Royals boss Stam.

“For us it’s very important that if you get into situations with clear cut chances then you need to take them, you need to finish them.

“I think it was a deserved point.

“If you look at how we played in the first half, it was very promising.

“We scored that goal and created another couple of 100% chances where you need to score.

“They come back into the game, score that equaliser then the game changes.

“They scored that second goal so we needed to get back into the game, which we did, then you try to push forward but at times we couldn’t bring what we brought in the first half.

“Going forwards, the first half was a bit more sparkling than the second half.”

Stam made three changes from the side which drew with Bolton Wanderers on Tuesday evening. Leandro Bacuna, Tiago Ilori and Bodvarsson all came back into the side with Tom Holmes and Dave Edwards dropping to the bench, while Chris Martin missed out through illness.

Both clubs came into the game on the back of a poor run of form with Reading winning just one of their last 15 games while Leeds had only managed one victory in their previous 12 matches.

The visitors started brightly with lively winger Ezgjan Alioski denied by an Ilori block before Anssi Jaakkola got down well to save the rebound.

Royals had a penalty claim turned down shortly afterwards when Bodvarsson went down under the sliding challenge of Laurens De Bock.

But Bodvarsson did break the deadlock on 16 minutes. After a flowing passing move, Pelle Clement turned the ball onto Sone Aluko just inside the Leeds half and the forward slid a pass through for Bodvarsson, and the Icelander made no mistake one-on-one.

The lead was almost doubled shortly afterwards when Mo Barrow burst down the left and delivered a teasing cross to the back post for a stretching Bodvarsson, but goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell produced the stop.

Evans followed in, but his shot was blocked by Matthew Pennington.

Chances kept coming for Reading in one of their most promising first half displays at Madejski Stadium all season with Barrow nipping the bouncing ball off De Bock on halfway and breaking clean through on goal.

However, his low shot was stopped by Peacock-Farrell.

The goalkeeper was called into action again soon after when Evans let fly from 30 yards, tipping onto the bar and over.

But Leeds ended the second half strongly with Caleb Ekuban’s deflected effort going close before the scores were levelled when a low Adam Forshaw cross was prodded home by Jansson, despite the best efforts of Chris Gunter on the line.

Both sides looked to get their noses in front just before the break with Alioski thwarted by Jaakkola before Clement curled wide from the edge of the box.

But it was the visitors who grabbed the next goal, 10 minutes after the restart. Liam Kelly conceded possession just inside his own half, allowing Leeds to break at pace before Hernandez cut inside to curl in rightfoote­d from the edge of the box.

Undeterred by falling behind, Stam’s man battled straight back to level.

Aluko again played a key role, picking out Leandro Bacuna on the right and his powerful ball across goal was deflected in by the sliding O’Kane.

Both managers made changes, but it became clear why neither side had picked up many wins in recent weeks as the game settled into a stalemate.

It was Paul Heckingbot­tom’s charges who ended the game stronger with Alioski’s fierce effort brilliant stopped by Jaakkola, but the keeper was almost embarrasse­d when his clearance was charged down by Pierre-Michel Lasogga.

The ball rebounded back towards the goal, but the Finn raced back to gratefully regain possession after it hit the inside of the post.

Despite dropping a place in the table, Reading did at least move to six points clear of the bottom three, but they face a tough run-in against a number of the top six sides.

“All season has been tough for us,” said Stam.

“We need to look at it game to game.

“I’m confident enough we can get something out of every game.”

READING: Jaakkola; Bacuna, Ilori, Moore, Gunter (c); Kelly; Aluko, Evans (Edwards 63), Clement (Swift 63), Barrow; Bodvarsson.

Subs not used: Mannone, Holmes, Blackett, Loader, Smith.

Goals: Bodvarsson (16), O’Kane (OG) (58) Yellow cards: Evans (24), Kelly (31)

LEEDS: Peacock-Farrell; Berardi, Jansson (c), Pennington, De Bock; O’Kane, Forshaw; Alioski, Saiz, Hernandez (Dallas 85); Ekuban (Lasogga 77).

Subs not used: Wiedwald, Anita, Pearce, Phillips, Vieira.

Goals: Jansson (43), Hernandez (56)

Yellow card: Pennington (48)

Referee: Scott Duncan

Attendance: 19,770

 ?? Pictures: Steve Smyth ?? Anssi Jaakkola avoids late embarrassm­ent
Pictures: Steve Smyth Anssi Jaakkola avoids late embarrassm­ent
 ??  ?? Tiago Ilori makes a block Eunan O’Kane turns into his own net
Tiago Ilori makes a block Eunan O’Kane turns into his own net
 ??  ?? Chris Gunter cannot quite clear Pontus Jansson’s shot off the line
Chris Gunter cannot quite clear Pontus Jansson’s shot off the line
 ??  ??

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