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14:00 9th November 2013


RANGERS came from behind to share the spoils with Reading at the Madejski Stadium. 

The R's created a number of chances throughout this action-packed Championship affair but fell behind in the 62nd minute thanks to Garath McCleary's stunning solo effort.

The visitors rescued a point when Joey Barton scored direct from a free-kick 12 minutes from time.

QPR made one enforced change to the side that overcame Derby County at Loftus Road last weekend, with Gary O'Neil replacing Ale Faurlin (knee).

There was also room on the bench for Niko Kranjcar and Nedum Onuoha, who had both previously been out with hamstring injuries.

It was visitors QPR who made the brighter start, with only the woodwork preventing Harry Redknapp's side from taking the lead in the third minute.

Lovely passing play from the R's ended with Junior Hoilett driving at the home defence before seeing his bullet effort crash back off the crossbar.

Reading's goal lived a charmed life in the opening stanza, especially when Charlie Austin was twice denied by Alex McCarthy.

First, a Matty Phillips cross deflected into the path of the former Burnley striker, whose snap-snot was blocked by the Royals goalkeeper.

Moments later, McCarthy was called into action again - once more from Austin - pulling off another smart save to deny him.

QPR were asking the greater questions and again went close in the 12th minute. Phillips received Barton's ball over the top of the Reading defence before crashing an effort into the side-netting.

The hosts had appeals for a penalty waived away by referee Andy Taylor in the 20th minute, though video replays later showed there was minimal contact when Jordan Obita went down under the challenge of Danny Simpson.

O'Neil went close for the visitors with a shot that was deflected away soon after, before McCleary blasted high and wide of the target after skipping past Richard Dunne.

Pavel Pogrebnyak prodded just wide for Reading in the 27th minute. In fact, the home side improved as the half went on and Pogrebnyak went close again with a header only a minute later.

Rangers were forced into a substitution in the 31st minute when Jermaine Jenas was unable to continue, so Kranjcar come on in his place.

Chances were few and far between for the remainder of the opening period, though Austin did force McCarthy into a stop for the third time in the first half with a header.

QPR almost took the lead just before the half-time whistle sounded. Hoilett cut in from the left - evading a number of challenges in the process - before seeing his low drive tipped away in fine style by McCarthy.

The R's made a second substitution at the interval with Onuoha replacing Dunne, who appeared to pick up a knock in the first half.

The second period took a little while to get going, though a spell of pressure from Rangers saw Benoit Assou-Ekotto have a shot blocked away in the 56th minute. Barton then skewed wide shortly after.

However, it was hosts Reading who took the lead thanks to spectacular strike in the 62nd minute.

A throw-in was eventually worked to McCleary on 30 yards, who fizzed a low effort home via the left-hand post.

Rangers responded by using their third - and final - substitute four minutes later, with Andy Johnson brought on in place of O'Neil. 

The contest turned into a rather scrappy one following the opening goal of the game, with the home side doing their best to protect the lead.

McCarthy was once again tested by Austin just after the 70-minute mark, though did well to hold on to the forward's stinging, low effort.

At the other end, Rob Green produced an excellent block with his outstretched left leg to deny Obita.

QPR levelled matters with a majestic effort of their own in the 78th minute.

Austin was clipped on the edge of the box and when Barton stepped up to take the subsequent free-kick, he pummelled an effort past McCarthy from 20 yards.

Johnson went close to giving Rangers the initiative in the 83rd minute, turning on Assou-Ekotto's scuffed effort before firing wide.

Three minutes later, Phillips blasted high and wide of the target following a slide-rule pass from Johnson.

Both teams continued to press in search of a winning goal but a second strike of the afternoon just evaded them.
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