Reading battle from the brink in dramatic final minute against Nottingham Forest


Mark Bowen’s Reading revival continued after a dramatic last-minute equaliser from a Tobias Figueireido own goal shared the points at the Madjeski Stadium.

Seemingly set to be a goalless draw in Berkshire, both sets of supporters were treated to ecstasy and agony in the final minute of added time after both teams found the net.

Despite winning five out their last seven home games, Reading were slow out of the traps as Forest quickly asserted their dominance onto the first-half.

But the break brought renewed energy to the hosts, who began to gain control and trouble their once-comfortable counterparts.

A 95th minute strike from Ben Watson appeared to be the winner for the visitors, but in a matter of seconds, Reading levelled in what turned out to be the last kick off the game, calling for dramatic scenes at the Madjeski.

Admitting his side had done “fantastically well” in the league recently, Mark Bowen’s Reading headed into the clash with Forest in confident mood. Amassing 17 points in their previous eight matches, the Championship’s in-form side were experiencing somewhat of a resurrection under the Welshman.

Despite the feel-good factor being firmly back at the Madjeski, Bowen revealed he was expecting a stern test from the Nottinghamshire visitors. The day’s counterparts had been in good form of their own, having won the previous three games and began the day fourth in the table.

The fixture also had added importance as the pair were set to meet again in 11 days time, due to the postponement of the scheduled meeting last October.

The hosts came inches away from striking the first blow when an out-swinging free kick from John Swift caused havoc. Yakou Meite managed to steal a run on the Forest backline but was unable to reach the delivery.

Despite the early chance, the visitors settled the better with Sammy Ameobi and top-scorer Lewis Grabban threatening. The former had two efforts blocked whilst Grabban’s tireless nature was troubling the Reading defenders.

It was no surprise to the sold-out away end that their side begun the brighter. With the third best away record in the league, Sabri Lamouchi’s men had grown accustomed to starting fast on the road.

Forest continued to press down their initiative, forcing regular mistakes in the hosts’ play. Struggling to deal with the press, the Royals were unable to find any sort of rhythm in possession, much to the concern of the ever-growing anxious crowd.


Photo: @ReadingFC/Twitter

Yakou Meite had Reading’s best chance of the half when his left-footed effort forced Brice Samba into action, the goalkeeper using his legs to save smartly.

For all Forest’s dominance, they failed to register a single effort on target during the first-half and headed in even at the break. With Reading uncharacteristically sloppy, the Reds had floundered in stamping their authority on the scoreline.

But two minutes after the break, Lewis Grabban did have Forest’s first goal-bound strike when his delicate dink had to be cleared off the line by the retreating Liam Moore. The forward had pounced on a slip from Michael Morrison before attempting to chip Rafael.

Despite the close shave, the intensity in the Berkshire-outfit’s play was much-improved; regaining previous week’s tempo in their pace and pass, it was Forest’s turn to feel the heat.

Reading’s newly-found momentum almost bore fruit instantly as Tyler Blackett watched his side-footed effort hit the post, with the rebound away from any blue and white shirt.

Michael Morrison had a guilt-edged opportunity to open the scoring after finding himself unmarked and just six-yards-out to tap the ball home. But somehow, Brice Samba was once again in inspired form, managing to stick a leg out and clear the ball to safety.

In what was becoming a workmanlike, gritty last half-hour, both sides lacked the end-product to snatch all three points. Regular breaks for cynical fouls meant a resurgent Reading found sustained pressure slow-going while Forest failed to capture their first-half intensity.

In an evenly-matched affair, the two sides exchanged blows throughout, but neither were able to land a telling one.

Until the last minute.

A corner was not cleared by a Reading shirt, leaving Ben Watson free  to volley home and seemingly snatch it at the death for Forest.

But what then occurred was quite astonishing.

From kick-off, Reading charged straight down the other end, with substitute George Puscas stealing in at the front post and deflecting his effort onto Forest’s Figueireido to send the Reading supporters into a frenzy.

In what turned out to be the last kick of the match, both sides had saved their best and worst for last in a dramatic final minute.

After conceding late, Nottingham Forest drop to fifth, while Reading remain in 14th.

Team Lineups

Reading (4-3-3): Rafael; Gunter, Morrison, Moore (c), Blackett; Adam (Obita 76′), Pele, Swift; Meite, Ejaria (Rinomhota 80′); Baldock (Puscas 63′)

Unused substitutes: Walker, Miazga, R, McCleary, Loader

Nottingham Forest (4-2-3-1): Samba; Cash, Figueiredo, Worrall, Chema (Jenkinson 87′); Watson (c), Sow; Ameobi, Silva, (Yates 69′) Ribeiro (Lolley 69′); Grabban

Unused substitutes: Smith, Dawson, Adomah, Mighten

Attendance: 16,602 (2,073 away)


About Author

Football, Boxing and Cricket correspondent from Hampshire, covering southern sport. Editor and Head of Boxing at Prost International. Accreditated EFL & EPL journalist.

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