Two disasterous mistakes from 'international' goalkeeper Bobby Mihaylov cost Reading two of the three points that looked like going Reading's way all afternoon until Bobby's moments of madness.
Despite fielding an identical team to that that won so convincingly over Southampton just seven days before it took the Royals a good twenty minutes to get going. Nothing at all seemed to happen directly after the kick off. A lot of kicking the ball around no-where in particular. Charlton probably enjoyed the majority of the posession but did very little with it. When they did Bobby was more than equal to the long range shots at the Reading goal.
Then Adie Williams, sorry, Martin Williams gave the Royals the lead out of nothing. One minute 0-0 with the game going nowhere - the next minute the Royals one-up and everything looking rather sexy all of a sudden. On twenty-five minutes Gooding on the right played a diagonal forward ball over to Williams on the left just outside the box. The ball may have got a touch on the way to Williams, but when it arrived he took it on his chest - bought it down onto his foot and hit a fantastic volley over the keeper dipping into the right side of the Charlton net. What a goal!
Before that it was only Williams who had looked like putting the R's in front. Earlier he'd tried a worthy lob shot from the other side of the box, that cleared the keeper but also the left post.
Then Reading went mental. Southampton style mental and we really bought the game under our control. After a very quiet first half of the half the second half of the half (phew!) was Readings. A superb ball over the top of the midfield caught Trevor Morley onside. He connected superbly from long distance and the Charlton keeper made a fantastic mid-air save to push the ball wide of his left post. Then a Booty cross from the right saw Gooding with a shooting chance just right of centre in the box. Pudding shot once and it was charged down. It came right back to him and there seemed to be a gap as he hit it again towards goal. But again a defender got in the way.
So only 1-0 at half time. But it could have easily been more by the end. The Royals came out to chants of 'Bobby Mihaylov' and 'Bobby, Bobby, whats the score?'. Popular man our Bulgarian international.
Royals briefly carried on from where they'd left off just before half time but the game noticably slowed down a bit. Still Reading looked pretty safe despite the one goal margin. Charlton never looked like scoring. Until about 15 minutes of the second half.
The ball was floating around in the area. The defence maybe had it covered. But for some reason Bobby legged it off his line, flapped at it, missed it totally, put it into the path of the Charlton forward, and left an empty net as a target. Shit. 1-1. But I was willing to forgive this pretty major cock-up.
Then with 15 minutes left Reading rightfully regained the lead. We won a corner on the left wing. Caskey stepped up to take it and played a decent corner into the area. Their keeper did a 'Bobby' and came out to fumble the ball. Lambert took advantage and bundled the ball into the back of the net at the far post. Yes! Then, once again, there was only one team in it. Caskey took a long shot, and Williams tried another shot which was saved to prevent the Royals increasing their lead.
With less than ten minutes left Bobby really cocked-up. Bobby casually walked out to a loose ball running slowly down the right edge of his box. He didn't bother collecting it until he saw a Charlton forward approaching. As they do. He went to pick it up and just lost it, he slipped, the forward was in there to take it away. The defence wasn't exactly expecting it and weren't there. So an empty net again for the away side to draw the game level with a shot from an angle. 2-2. Gutted is not the word.
Suddenly the half time hero was being booed.
What else is there to say? Well the pitch was a bit slippery although amazingly Williams managed to keep his feet better than usual and had a great game. Especially that goal. Caskey was back to his shit self - I hardly noticed him. Gilkes had a good game - determined - making tackles and runs. But it felt like a defeat, we can't string two wins together, but this game was ours. And we drew. Bollocks.
Another report from Jon Hanford...
Two blunders by Reading's Bulgarian international keeper Bobby Mikhailov earned Charlton a point they certainly did not deserve after twice going behind. Charlton had the early chances with Mikhailov saving at David Whyte's feet in the first minute and then catching a point-blank effort from Shaun Newton after four minutes. But it was Reading who went ahead on 26 minutes when Richard Rufus got his head to a Martyn Booty cross but instead of clearing the ball it dropped for Martin Williams. He took the ball on his chest and volley superbly inside the far post from 20 yards.
Reading's top scorer Trevor Morley could have had a second on 35 minutes but his dipping volley on the run was brilliantly turned aside by Andy Petterson and the keeper was again in superb form a minute later when he twice blocked close-range efforts from Mick Gooding. But despite showing very little in attack Charlton were level on 68 minutes when Mikhailov hesitated when a fairly harmless ball dropped on the edge of the six-yard box. When he did come, he lost out in the air to Brendan O'Connell and the ball dropped for sub Kevin Lisbie to grab his first ever senior goal in-off the upright.
Reading got their noses in front again six minutes later when Darren Caskey floated in a free kick from the left but Petterson dropped the ball after colliding with one of his own defenders and James Lambert had a simple task from close range.
Reading looked totally in control but with nine minutes left Mikhailov made a total hash of a back header from team-mate Keith McPherson wide on the edge of his area and allowed Whyte to take the ball away from him and curl right-footed into the empty net from just outside the area.