Forest hold on for a point as ‘Liability Luke’ saw red..

Chambers red card marrs an otherwise good point for the Reds..

Chambers' red card marrs an otherwise good point for the Reds..

Reading – 0
Nottingham Forest – 0

All the headlines and comment will inevitably focus on the late dismissal of Forest defender Luke Chambers, much as I have.  Late in the game the referee was summoned by one of his assistants, and after a conversation Chambers was shown a red card due to some kind of off-the-ball altercation between himself and Reading’s Shane Long.  A draw is a good result away at Reading regardless, but with the extra pressure invited upon us by the red card, it is even more so!  More on the red card later, though.

With pretty much no choice in his defensive selection, Davies opted to throw in a surprise or two in his starting line-up by going for:

Gunter    Morgan    Chambers    Lynch
Garner    McKenna    Majewski     Cohen
Adebola     McGoldrick

So my pre-match predictions were, well, mixed – defence and central midfield were correct – and my bet-hedging on strikers means I could claim that too, I suppose!  Now with seven substitutes, Forest’s bench consisted of Smith, Anderson, Earnshaw, Blackstock, McCleary, McGugan and Tyson.  A very attack-minded selection – although given our lack of senior defenders, not particularly surprising, although I had half-wondered whether Mitchell might earn a place on the bench.

A tentative start from both sides saw Reading enjoy greater possession, albeit not often in dangerous positions, and Forest content to allow their hosts to keep hold of the ball.  Indeed, despite the disparity in possession it was Forest who had the first shot on goal, after a quarter of an hour McGoldrick brought a save from Royals ‘keeper Federici after being played through by Radoslaw Majewski.

After a mix-up by the home side Adebola was able to tee Majewski up with a great opportunity from 15 yards out, unfortunately the Polish midfielder wasn’t able to hit the target.  Chambers picked up a booking shortly after this – probably falling foul of a couple of Reds players earlier escaping bookings for late challenges on Reading players.  Reading capitalised with a quick freekick that Forest weren’t alive to, fortunately it was eventually intercepted.

Majewski again combined with McGoldrick to give the striker an opportunity, but unfortunately he dragged his shot wide from the edge of the arc of the penalty area.  Almost immediately after Reading again caught Forest napping with a quick freekick that was rolled to Scott Davies who looked to have Lee Camp well beaten with a 25 yard drive, which fortunately didn’t find the target.

The second half – much like the first – had a slow start to it, but Forest started to gain a real foothold in the game.  Adebola and Garner worked well together to create a chance for Majewski whose route to goal was blocked off by Rosenior.  The ball broke for Joel Lynch who struck the ball firmly and on target with his right foot, but straight at Reading ‘keeper Federici at his near post.

Reading had good chances too – Kebe looked certain to score at the back post after a good cross but for a crucial intervention by Chris Gunter.  Cohen beat two players with a great piece of skill and picked out Joe Garner who was rather well-marked by Reading players, and only able to strike the side-netting from a tight angle.  Earnie was introduced for McGoldrick at this point to give Forest a new dimension up front.

Lynch – having a rather torrid game – lost possession to give Davies a chance which was well-saved by Lee Camp with Gunter on hand to ‘clear up’ afterwards at the expense of a corner.  Davies again was the danger-man when he rifled what looked like a goal-bound shot which struck his teammate Kebe just two yards from the goal and spun wide of the goal – so that really could have gone anywhere.

Forest had chances too, a cracking cross by Gunter picked out the magnificent leap by Adebola who beat everyone in the box to reach the ball – but unfortunately could only head over.  Adebola and Earnshaw combined well resulting in Earnie being fouled on the edge of the area to win a freekick – unfortunately the diminutive striker struck the freekick himself straight into the wall.

Tyson replaced Cohen, McCleary replaced Garner as Forest continued to attempt to forge a way through Reading.  A great ball from Lynch into the box found Earnshaw whose close range strike looked certain to score but for a great save by Federici, immediately after Karacan strolled past Chambers but then shot over from 15 yards.  Camp had another save to make from low cross, the ball falling to Davies who conspired to shoot over from close range.

Then came ‘the incident’ – the referee was summoned by his assistant and after a brief conversation he dismissed Chambers with a straight red card.  Reading piled on the pressure but despite the five minutes of stoppage time, were unable to find a way through the Reds resolve with Lynch moving into the middle, Gunter at left-back and McCleary back at right-back to earn a well-deserved point.

Billy has said post the game that Chambers’ side of the story is that Long had elbowed Chambers in the stomach, who ‘put his arm out’ to stop the player running away from him in order to remonstrate with him presumably.  The Reading player presumably then gave the impression he’d be struck rather than simply held back.  It of course remains to be seen whether or not any video footage of the incident will come to light.  If anyone saw what actually happened, I’d be very interested!

With Earnie and Gunter on Wales duty on Wednesday and ‘Liability Luke’ suspended, it will certainly be an interesting line-up come Bradford City’s visit in the League Cup.  Bradford City, of course, who today lost 5-0 to Notts County at Meadow Lane.