Match Analysis: Reading 1-1 Queens Park Rangers

Joey Barton of QPR holds up the shirt of team-mate Alejandro Faurlin as he celebrates with team-mates after scoring the equalising goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Reading and Queens Park Rangers at Madejski Stadium on November 09, 2013
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Sports Mole pores over the 1-1 draw between two sides chasing an immediate return to the Premier League - Reading and Queens Park Rangers.

Two sides chasing immediate promotion back to the Premier League played out a 1-1 draw at the Madejski Stadium in this week's Saturday lunchtime kickoff in the Championship.

Visiting Queens Park Rangers were quick out of the traps but could not take the lead before half time.

Garath McCleary's fierce low strike then gave Reading the lead just after the hour mark, but they were pegged back by Joey Barton's free kick 12 minutes from time.

Here, Sports Mole digs a little deeper to analyse the 90 minutes in Berkshire.

Match statistics:

Reading:
Shots 12
On target 3
Possession 49%
Corners 8
Fouls 8

QPR:
Shots 15
On target 7
Possession 51%
Corners 1
Fouls 7

Was the result fair?

Neither side clearly deserved to win the game but one would probably say that QPR were the side who edged the match. They worked Alex McCarthy in the Reading goal a number of times and almost took the lead in sensational fashion when Junior Hoilett's early shot smacked against the crossbar. Reading had their spells, but they certainly were not the better side.

Reading's performance

Nigel Adkins's men were sluggish at the start and could have been at least two down inside the first five minutes. They recovered after 20 minutes and could have had a penalty when Jordan Obita went down under the challenge of Danny Simpson before Chris Baird almost found the bottom corner of the net but was denied by Robert Green's save. That was as good as it got in the first half for Reading before they went ahead in stunning style when McCleary let fly from at least 25 yards and gave Green no chance. There were a couple of opportunities for the home side to get a second on the break but most will agree that QPR deserved their leveller.

QPR's performance

If it wasn't for McCarthy in the early stages, QPR would have been in front very early on. Twice he denied Charlie Austin with instinctive stops before pulling off the best of the lot just before half time when Hoilett's low shot looked destined for the corner. Barton came up with the goods with a free kick right on the edge of the box by curling it through a gap and into the corner. His celebration was a touching one as he held up the shirt of teammate Alejandro Faurlin, who earlier this week was ruled out for months because of a cruciate knee ligament injury. Rangers' recent form hasn't been as sizzling as it was earlier in the season, but they are still right up there.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Alex McCarthy: He's been mentioned quite a bit already and rightly so. The Royals' keeper was in fine form today as three times he denied Austin as well as superbly keeping out that Hoilett effort just before the interval. With England's current goalkeeping woes, a call-up for McCarthy in the near future is not out of the question.

Biggest gaffe

There was no obvious winner here so we've picked on Austin, who hit it straight at McCarthy from a Matt Phillips cutback in the first half.

Referee performance

Anthony Taylor had a solid game for the most part but might have given a penalty when Obita nutmegged Simpson and bashed hips with the former Newcastle right-back. QPR's players were incensed with the Reading winger but it could have easily been given.

What next?

Reading: Next up for the Royals is a trip to Blackburn Rovers in two weeks' time after the international break.

QPR: Rangers, meanwhile, return to Loftus Road where they host Charlton in a London derby.

Joey Barton of QPR holds up the shirt of team-mate Alejandro Faurlin as he celebrates with team-mates after scoring the equalising goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Reading and Queens Park Rangers at Madejski Stadium on November 09, 2013
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