REPORT: READING 2 ALBION 2
- John Swift scores the first goal against Albion this season
- Sam Baldock and Anthony Knockaert on target for Albion
- Former Seagulls loanee Paul McShane scored for the Royals
- Liam Rosenior went off injured late in the game
Brighton & Hove Albion continued their unbeaten start to the season with a hard-fought 2-2 draw at Reading.
Goals from Sam Baldock and Anthony Knockaert put Albion 2-1 up after John Swift’s second-minute opener, but Paul Mcshane scored an equaliser to earn Reading a share of the spoils.
It was an afternoon to forget for van den Berg, who was shown a second yellow card late in the game for a foul on substitute Tomer Hemed.
Albion got off to the worst possible start inside the opening two minutes, when Swift curled a free-kick past David Stockdale.
The Seagulls quickly responded to the setback though and were level after eight minutes when Knockaert’s corner took a touch off Baldock before going in.
Hughton’s men were buoyed by the goal and had the large majority of possession just outside the Royals' penalty area.
Jiri Skalak had an opportunity to take the lead for Albion with a free-kick on the edge of the box, which was cleared by the Reading wall.
There was a nervy moment for the Seagulls when Lewis Dunk had to produce an excellent goalline clearance to keep out Swift’s driven left-footed strike.
Some slack Albion defending set up another chance for the hosts, but Yann Kermorgant curled his effort wide of the left-hand post.
George Evans then let fly for Reading with a speculative shot from distance, which sailed over the bar.
Liam Rosenior made a superb sliding challenge to deny Swift's attempt on goal after Chris Gunter’s dangerous ball into the box.
After making the worst-possible start to the first half, the Seagulls began the second very differently, as Knockaert gave Brighton the lead within 60 seconds of the restart from Sam Baldock’s delivery across the box.
The hosts came within inches of restoring parity to the scoreline, when the lively Aaron McLeary floated a ball in towards Kermorgant, whose subsequent header cannoned off the crossbar to safety.
After a quiet first half was by his own high standards, Knockaert became more involved in proceedings after half time, making a driving run down the flank and almost picking out Baldock.
Reading keeper and former Seagulls loanee Ali Al Habsi was then forced to clear the Frenchman’s threatening corner into the box.
It was another former Albion loanee that struck next though, as McShane clinically fired the ball home past Stockdale from McCleary’s cross.
The Royals could have made it 3-2 through Kermorgant, but Stockdale was on hand to make a fine reflex save to keep out his acrobatic attempt.
Albion switched their formation to 4-3-3 in a bid to snatch all three points, as Oliver Norwood replaced Baldock to feature against his former club for the first time.
Knockaert set up substitute Jamie Murphy with a deft backheel, but the winger was tackled at the last moment by van den Berg.
The Scot then set up Norwood, this time with a cross, which narrowly failed to find an Albion player inside the box.
Hemed played in the ever-threatening Knockaert on the left, but Al Habsi made a comfortable save.
Hemed was involved in the next key incident in the match, when van den Berg was sent off for a second yellow card after tugging the Israeli international outside the box.
The game ended on a sour note for the Seagulls, when Kermorgant was shown a yellow card for a late lunge on Rosenior, who was forced off injured.
There was still one last chance for Brighton to secure all three points, but Hemed headed over the bar from Knockaert’s cross and the spoils were shared.