REPORT: ALBION 2 READING 2
Inigo Calderon’s stoppage-time equaliser was enough for Brighton & Hove Albion to claim a dramatic point against Reading in a Boxing Day clash at the Amex.
Glenn Murray netted a first-half brace against his former club to put the Royals in control of the match, but a strike late in either half from Jake Forster-Caskey and Calderon earned Albion a share of the spoils.
Interim manager Nathan Jones made one change to the starting line-up against Wolves last week, with Adrian Colunga replacing Solly March. Craig Mackail-Smith also returned to the bench following his loan spell at Peterborough to bolster Albion’s attacking options.
The atmosphere was raucous at the start of the game, however Albion fans were silenced within the opening minute as Hal Robson-Kanu broke down the left and fired a ball to the far post which Murray tapped home at the second attempt.
The Royals continued their lively start when another cross from Robson-Kanu resulted in Jake Taylor’s header being tipped away to safety by David Stockdale.
Murray then scored his and Reading’s second with 26 minutes on the clock, as his downward header from Oliver Norwood’s free-kick took a deflection before hitting the back of the net.
The Seagulls were dealt a further blow prior to the half-hour mark as Darren Bent was forced off with what appeared to be a groin injury and was replaced by Mackail-Smith.
Albion got a foothold back into the game five minutes before half-time when a looping throw from Greg Halford was flicked on by Lewis Dunk and Forster-Caskey poked home at the far post.
Murray proved to be a constant threat throughout the first half and he forced another save from Stockdale moments after Albion's goal.
Halford’s long throw became a useful weapon going forward, as Colunga latched onto the ball before his superb improvised volley cannoned off the far post.
The Seagulls continued their momentum as Gary Gardner, Mackail-Smith and Joe Bennett all tested Royals keeper Adam Federici in the first ten minutes after half-time.
Indeed, Albion continued to press forward in search of an equaliser and went close when Colunga's cross was met by a deft header from March, which produced a fine save from Federici.
Substitute Nick Blackman could have added a third for the visitors in the final five minutes, but it was Albion who struck a second decisive goal. Colunga capped off a fine second-half display with an assist for Calderon, who coolly slotted home to earn Albion a well-deserved point.
£100 store voucher 31405
Magnum Champagne 33365
Bottle Champagne 31550
Bottle Champagne 30910