Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Saturday October 27 2012
Honours are shared in six-goal thriller.
Having scraped a last gasp win against Aston Villa last weekend, Martin Jol made two changes to his starting eleven with Mahamadou Diarra and Damien Duff coming in for the ex-Reading player Steve Sidwell and Mladen Peric.
The game started at a lively pace with Fulham forcing an early corner but a swift Reading break, from our corner, saw Pogrebnyak head wide when it looked easier to score from a Shorey cross.
Our hosts were having the greater share of possession but were unable to find that quality final ball. Fulham`s first chance came when Berbatov worked some space before seeing his shot go wide of the target.
Fulham fell behind, on 25 minutes, when Mikele Leigertwood hit the sweetest of shots from twenty-five yards out, after being set up by Jobi McAnuff, gave Schwarzer no chance. The goal being the first Leigertwood had scored since 2005.
Duff engineered a great chance but Rodallega saw the ball hit his shoulder, rather than his head, and the chance was gone. Before the break Fulham could have gotten on level terms but Duff turned the ball wide from Richardson`s cross.
Half Time - Reading 1 Fulham 0
Reading started the second half well with Pogrebnyak featuring prominently. Fulham were having trouble getting the ball forward with any purpose and Berbatov looked a forlorn figure, alone, up front.
Jol brought Bryan Ruiz on, for Hugo Rodallega, just before the hour mark and the substitute produced the goods almost immediately, burying a shot past the young Reading keeper, Alex McCarthy, after exchanging passes with Damien Duff.
Fulham were now starting to believe they could win this one, Berbatov showed his skill to make his way through a tangle of bodies but his shot hit the side-netting.
Kebe, as the game opened up, forced Schwarzer into a double save but moments later, from a corner, Chris Baird scored his second in two games flicking home a header from a Ruiz corner. Fulham were ahead with 13 minutes of normal time left and had turned the game on its head.
Unfortunately, Reading were not finished and were to come back to make it 2-2 with a goal from Garath McCleary, with five minutes remaining, when McCleary finished neatly after a pass from Adam LeFondre.
But before any of the traveling support could allow their heads to drop, Fulham went ahead again when Berbatov netted, just two minutes later, finishing off after a good ball from Steve Sidwell.
Sadly, Fulham couldn`t hold on to the lead because with minutes left, Reading made it 3-3 when Hal Robson-Kanu netted after a free kick taken by Shorey fell at his feet in a crowded area.
Shwarzer, as time ran out, produced some heroics to keep Fulham in with a chance of getting a point, finally the final whistle sounded and the honours were shared in a fantastic game.
Date:Saturday October 27 2012
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Fulham Draw Doncaster in 3rd Round (Thursday August 28 2014)
Stats: Brentford v Fulham (Wednesday August 27 2014)
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