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Monday 15th
posted by Morning Star in Sport

Fulham 1-1 Reading by Kaleem Aftab at Craven Cottage

A tense game at Craven Cottage on Saturday saw Reading cling on for the draw after having defender Paul McShane sent off for a reckless challenge on Fulham’s Kevin McDonald.

With no away goals in the Championship play-offs, whoever comes out on top at the Madejski stadium tomorrow night will progress to the playoff final.

Reading manager Jaap Stam believes that his side’s performance showed that all the talk of Fulham being favourites for promotion was premature. “Fulham are a good side. But we know what we can do, we are confident in what we do.”

And that according to Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic is “not [giving] you much space to play and then find a quick ball behind our centre-backs. They play a physical game to the limit of the rules. They came here with a clear plan and for an hour it worked.”

Stam sent his team out to win their personal battles. It was man-to-man marking and to stop Fulham implementing any sort of passing game.

“It made for a chess game in the first half, where only Fulham’s Sone Aluko had a chance to break the deadlock.

The Reading goal came on 55 minutes. Fulham players stood-still expecting a foul to be called on McShane, and when the whistle did not come, the ball found it’s way to Jordan Obita, who fired a great shot across the face of the goal and into the net via the post.

The goal spurred Fulham into action. They threw caution to the wind and were rewarded within 12 minutes when Scott Malone’s cross was parried by Reading goalkeeper Ali alHabsi into the path of Tom Cairney.

Fulham were in the ascendancy but couldn’t capitalise when Reading played out the last 10 minutes with 10 men.

The tie is finely balanced.