REPORT: READING 1 ALBION 1
- Jamie Murphy gave Albion the lead
- Matej Vydra netted an equaliser for Reading
- The Seagulls extend their unbeaten league run to 14 games
- Brighton's lead at the top of the Championship is cut to two points
Brighton & Hove Albion’s lead at the top of the Championship was cut to two points after being held to a 1-1 draw at the Madejski Stadium.
Jamie Murphy gave Albion the lead early in the second half, but Matej Vydra – who just loves scoring against the Seagulls – equalised with 12 minutes remaining.
The long-term injury to Gaetan Bong forced Chris Hughton into a restructure, which saw him deploy a 4-3-3 formation, with Liam Rosenior at left-back.
Albion started the match with real purpose, closing down the Reading players at every available opportunity.
But for all of Albion’s endeavour, it was the home side who threatened most in the early stages. Oliver Norwood forced David Stockdale into full stretch to keep out his 30-yard free-kick, while the division’s leading scorer, Nick Blackman, glanced a header wide from Vydra’s clever cross.
Despite some good passages of play, Albion struggled to create anything meaningful in the first half, but six minutes into the second, they were ahead.
Some slick passing on the right gave Tomer Hemed the chance to slide a perfect cross to the far post, where Murphy was arriving to turn the ball home for his second goal of the campaign.
Albion were now rampant, and Reading nearly fell further behind when Michael Hector’s back-pass wrong-footed Ali Al-Habsi, but the former Seagulls loan keeper desperately scrambled back to clear the ball off the line.
But in a flash the momentum was back with the home side, after Rosenior’s thumping shot was charged down and suddenly Reading had a four-on-one break, lead by Blackman. When the ball finally fell to Vydra, Stockdale had raced off his line and did enough to snub out the danger.
Blackman then created a half-chance for himself in the area, but saw his shot well-saved by Stockdale with his legs.
Albion looked to have weathered the storm, but when Stockdale could not keep hold of Blackman’s fierce low drive, Vydra pounced immediately to fire home his fourth goal against Albion in as many seasons.
The equaliser made for a nervy end to the game for Chris Hughton’s men, pinned down by wave after wave of Reading attacks. But although Paul McShane’s header late on had the defence scrambling, Albion held on for the draw.