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New Season Kicks-Off With Defeat At Stoke
07 August 2021
By Hob Nob Anyone?
Reading kicked off the new season with a trip to Stoke City with a much depleted squad, and were perhaps unfortunate to come away with no points.
The summer has seen Reading make no new signings due to transfer restrictions; and the departure of Olise, Aluko, Walker, Smith, Richards, and Baldock. On top of that Semedo and Esteves also left the club after finishing their loan spells with the Royals. Reading's squad is thin to say the least and it leaves a very difficult job ahead for the manager.
The Royals stepped out in their smart new Simod Cup winning style away kit but could only name five substitutes out of the allowed seven. Ethan Bristow and Femi Azeez stepped into the starting eleven to make their first Championship starts for Reading and could be proud of their efforts as Reading kicked-off their first league game in front of travelling fans for a very long time. The crowd of just over 19,000 were treated to a good game of football but Reading will be disappointed not to take a point after being 2-2 with five minutes left to play.
The game came to life after 25 minutes when three goals in three minutes saw Reading go a goal behind. Stoke went ahead only to see John Swift equalise after making the most of a defensive mistake. Reading goalkeeper Rafeal failed to make a save, jumping over the ball when he really should have done better for Stoke to immediately restore their lead.
In the second half Swift's corner from the right was met with a superb Liam Moore header to draw Reading level with half an hour left to play. Reading looked like they might hold out but the vital goal came on 85 minutes. The home side made a controversial fourth sub as the game entered the last minutes and then held out for the win. There were positives to take as Reading found the net twice and nearly drew on the road but it feels like a point dropped.
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