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Home   /   Reading v Stoke City – AS IT HAPPENED

By Leon Imber (@LeonImber)

Reading have lost their last two matches but still hold a two goal lead at the top of the table. Manager Veljko Paunović has given Lewis Gibson, on loan from Everton, his first start of the season in a bid to avoid three losses on the bounce.

Stoke City boss Michael O’Neill names an unchanged side from the one that lost 3-2 to Watford in the week. Stoke have had a steady start to the season, sitting 11th in the standings.

Will Reading get back to their best? Leon Imber will take you through the action as it happens.

Starting Line-ups

Lucas Joao is the Royals’ top scorer this season with six goals.
Tyrese Campbell has the joint-top most assists in the division going into the weekend’s matches.

KICK OFF

4′ Good reaction save by Angus Gunn. Ball came into the box and Alfa Semedo should be doing a lot, lot better. A point blank header and he couldn’t generate the power.

6′ Great save. Semedo again rose highest and he got plenty of power on that one. From the edge of the box he nearly lobbed Gunn with a header. The home side on top so far.

10′ Morgan Fox played very dangerously back to his goalkeeper, Gunn. Lucas Joao chased it and we know how dangerous he can be. Gunn managed to hoof it away. Got away with one there, spared Fox’s blushes.

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15′ Very patient here from the Royals. Not rushing into anything but holding the ball well in Stoke’s third of the pitch. Just searching for that killer ball behind the defence that they so far haven’t found. The Potters pottering about with little threat.

20′ Semedo tried too hard there. Reading’s spell of possession seemed never ending. But the ex-Benfica man tried to stick it through the legs of a Stoke midfielder and when it doesn’t work, hacks him down. The free kick came to nothing.

23′ GOAL – TYRESE CAMPBELL

Simple ball into the box and Tomas Esteves made an absolute hash of the clearance. Campbell was on hand to fire in a tidy finish striking the ball through a sea of bodies. Unexpected, but Stoke lead.

27′ The Potters looking much more dangerous after the goal. A high and dangerous ball is played into Reading’s box and they struggle to deal with it yet again. The away side are giving them a terrible time in the air.

30′ Omar Richards with a delightful ball into the box, I don’t know how nobody got on the end of it. It was perfect. Paunović expresses his frustration at that one.

35′ GOAL – STEVEN FLETCHER

Reading keeper Rafael has had a shocker! The Brazilian played an awful ball out which Stoke could pick up easily and set Fletcher through on goal. A man of his pedigree is never going to miss that. The away side lead two goals to the good and now looking comfortable in this game.

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38′ What a miss. Debutant Gibson found himself with a free header at the back post and he couldn’t get a clean connection. Reading simply need to be putting these chances away. In fairness, when confidence was flowing at the start of the season, they probably would be.

42′ What on earth happened there. A corner came into the box from Esteves and an absolute bundle of bodies sat in the middle of the area. There must’ve been about eight of them. Reading appealed for a penalty in the process but I don’t think anybody quite knew what was happening.

45+1′ HALF TIME – Reading 0-2 Stoke City

One thing I really do love about the Championship, and it’s been on show today, is the unpredictability of every match. Some say it’s the best league in the world. Do you agree?

45′ KICK OFF

46′ Esteves took a left-footed shot from around 25 yards and it whistled just wide of Gunn’s left post. Just inches in that one, would’ve been a perfect route back into the game for the Royals. Tashan Oakley-Boothe has entered the fray in place of Nick Powell.

49′ OFF THE POST! Lovely counter by Stoke. Campbell struck a lovely, low curling effort across Rafael’s goal only to be met head on by the goalpost. In the space of about three minutes, Reading could’ve got back into the game and Stoke could have put it to bed.

54′ George Pușcaș’ headed effort from a corner is well held by Gunn. Josh Laurent was lurking and perhaps should’ve picked it up before it reached the Stoke goalkeeper. It has been an afternoon of ‘would’ve, could’ve, should’ve’ for Reading.

56′ Esteves’ snapshot was met by a defender in red and white taking the ball out for a corner. The home side couldn’t make anything of it though. Stoke looking comfortable.

61′ Dangerous free-kick was played in by Jordan Thompson and Harry Souttar got a head on it. The defender, who stands at six feet and seven inches tall heads well over. He’s the obvious target for set-pieces though.

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63′ Reading’s first substitutions of the game as Pușcaș and Esteves make way for Sam Baldock and Michael Olise. Pușcaș has been pretty ineffective today and despite being a cause for the first goal, I didn’t think Esteves played too badly.

66′ Olise already with his first involvement. He curled a long range effort from about 35 yards which soared over Gunn’s goal carrying no threat. The away side will take those all day long.

70′ Very little to report at this stage of the game. Baldock attempted to zigzag his way through the Stoke back-line but he was rudely interrupted. The Potters have been pretty resolute in their defending in the second half.

72′ Fletcher makes way for Nathan Collins. The goal scorer can be happy with today’s performance. Think he put himself about very effectively, still going at the ripe age of 33.

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74′ Another substitution, this time for Reading as Andrew Yiadom left the pitch with Sone Aluko coming on. Straight after, Oakley-Boothe went very close to making it three. Can you see any way back for the home side at this point?

78′ Close. A series of strange headers kept the ball hovering in the Stoke box, Baldock eventually managed to get it on the ground and scuffed a shot which trickled inches, and I mean inches wide of Gunn’s right goalpost. It hasn’t been Reading’s afternoon at all.

82′ A lengthy break in play allowed both teams to take in some water and advice from management. Jacob Brown entered play in place of Campbell, who has been my man of the match today. Do you agree?

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87′ Olise launched a shot miles high and wide. That should be it. Reading stay top of the league but should Bristol City or Swansea City win today, they will overtake the Royals. Stoke will move up to sixth, but other results later today could see them drop.

89′ Aluko’s shot well held by Gunn. Understandable desperation for the league leaders hitting shots from distances they wouldn’t usually. The Potters goalkeeper hasn’t had an awful amount to do today.

90+5′ GOAL – JACOB BROWN

A mistake by Everton loanee Gibson allows Brown in to slot in a third for Stoke in the last kick of the game. In an attempt to rectify his error, Gibson crashed his body into the goalpost and stays down. Let’s hope he is okay.

FULL TIME – READING 0-3 STOKE CITY

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