Albion remain unbeaten after draw at Reading

Glenn Murray. Picture by Phil Westlake

Glenn Murray. Picture by Phil Westlake

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Albion continued their unbeaten start to the season with a 2-2 draw at Reading in the Championship this afternoon.

The hosts took the lead through John Swift’s free kick inside two minutes but Albion levelled through a Joey Van Den Berg own goal after eight minutes. Anthony Knockaert gave Brighton the lead a minute into the second half but Paul McShane equalised just before the hour.

Reading finished the game with ten men as Van Den Berg was sent off in the final minute but Albion were unable to find a winner in injury-time despite late pressure.

Reading went ahead when Swift curled a free kick into the far corner from the left-hand side of the penalty area after just 90 seconds.

It was all level again on eight minutes when Reading defender Van Den Berg, under pressure from Glenn Murray, headed Knockaert’s inswinging corner into his own net. The hosts appealed for a foul by Murray but the goal was awarded by referee Mike Jones.

Albion struggled to create any opportunities in the remainder of the first half, while Reading had several openings and would have been disappointed not to be ahead at the break.

Yann Kermorgant saw a low shot cleared by Lewis Dunk, before Kermorgant again went close when he fired just wide from Garath McCleary’s pass.

George Evans then blazed just over from 35 yards on 32 minutes, before Albion full-back Liam Rosenior brilliantly blocked Swift’s shot after Jiri Skalak had switched off and allowed Chris Gunter to get a dangerous low cross in.

Kermorgant then volleyed Swift’s corner wide of the far post from 20 yards in the final action of the half.

Whatever Albion boss Chris Hughton said his team at half-time had an immediate effect as Brighton went ahead just 40 seconds into the second half. Sam Baldock got in down the left and pulled the ball back for Knockaert to sweep home from eight yards.

The Royals went within inches of drawing level on 53 minutes when Kermorgant brilliantly met McCleary’s right-wing cross but his header from 12 yards crashed back off the bar.

Reading did equalise just before the hour when former Albion loanee Paul McShane met a low cross from McCleary and drilled a shot past Stockdale.

Albion keeper Stockdale made a superb reaction save to keep out Kermorgant’s overhead kick on 67 minutes, before the hosts were awarded only a free kick for a Gaetan Bong foul on Gunter after 72 minutes with the home fans appealing for a penalty.

Both teams pressed for a winner in the closing stages, with Albion going close when Tomer Hemed released Knockaert who could only shoot straight at Reading keeper Ali Al Habsi on 87 minutes.

Reading were reduced to ten men in the final minute when Van Den Berg was shown a second yellow card after dragging Hemed back. Albion finished with ten men as well when Liam Rosenior limped off after a late foul by Kermorgant, before Hemed headed Knockaert’s cross over in the final action of the game.

READING: Al Habsi; Gunter, Van Der Berg, McShane, Evans, Beerens (Cooper 90), Swift (Quinn 81), Obita, McCleary (Mendes 86), Kermorgant, Williams. Subs: Harriott, Meite, Watson, Jaakola.

BRIGHTON: Stockdale; Rosenior, Bruno, Dunk, Bong; Knockaert, Kayal, Sidwell, Skalak (Murphy 76); Baldock (Norwood 68), Murray (Hemed 86). Subs: Maenpaa, Ince, LuaLua, White.

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