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Adkins backing play-off push

Reading failed to win at home for the sixth match in succession but manager Nigel Adkins maintained that his side could still make the Sky Bet Championship play-offs.

Last Updated: 29/03/14 at 18:38 Post Comment

Nigel Adkins: Still seeking promotion push

Nigel Adkins: Still seeking promotion push

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Although Reading retained sixth place in the table, they were dominated by a slick Huddersfield team and fortunate to escape with a draw.

"We have got that belief in ourselves and everyone is working hard for each other," Adkins said.

"We're still sixth and we're still in the play-offs. We picked up a point and we've just got to keep grinding away. We're at Charlton next and we've been free-scoring away from home.

"We went behind early on and that gave us a real challenge but we got ourselves back into it quickly, which was pleasing. It was a good point on the board and there's a good spirit among the players."

With such poor home form, Reading needed an early fillip. But they did not get it, with Huddersfield taking the lead after only four minutes following an error by home defender Sean Morrison.

Nahki Wells nipped in, raced through and shot low past home goalkeeper Alex McCarthy. It was his 19th goal of the season and fifth for Huddersfield since his move from Bradford City in the January transfer window.

But Reading were level just three minutes later. Captain Jobi McAnuff drove into the Huddersfield area and was stopped by a tug of his shirt from Oliver Norwood.

Pavel Pogrebnyak sent goalkeeper Alex Smithies the wrong way from the spot to score his 11th goal of the season and score a second penalty in as many matches.

Huddersfield recovered swiftly and Reading were indebted to McCarthy for keeping them level. He made a good block from Norwood and an even better save to keep out a curling effort from Adam Clayton. Wells also struck a post from an acute angle.

Reading had to rely on the counter-attack and could have gone ahead just past the half-hour mark. Chris Gunter crossed from the right to the near post and Pogrebnyak's glancing header was parried away by Smithies.

It was a rare attack from Reading, with Huddersfield going on to dominate the second half as well. Paul Dixon and Norwood drove wide and McCarthy made solid stops to keep out long-range attempts by Oscar Gobern and Danny Ward.

As the one-way traffic continued, Gobern tested McCarthy again and Jordan Obita had to clear off the goal-line from a Murray Wallace header. But Reading clung on for a point.

"We've done very well against a good top-six side," Huddersfield manager Mark Robins said. "We knew we would have to play in a way to nullify their wide players and we did just that.

"We controlled the first period really well and we were camped in their half at times. We passed the ball nicely and created quite a few chances and had one effort cleared off the line.

"I'm harsh on the players sometimes but they are trying to do the best they can and they did that today. I'm pleased with the way it's going."

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C

lassic management. Build them up and then knock them back. Raise expectations and then dampen them. Create a dynamic where by you demand the most from your team, but where the team are given room to manoeuvre unexpected or unwanted results. Classy work by Van Gaal, he really reminds me a lot of me. A smart cookie, make no doubt.

hump3.
Van Gaal: 'I struggle for first three months'

H

e will be the England left back for ten years or more, and then you will have to thank MUFC for that. *smiles*

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Shaw: Criticism spot on

P

urely because of that little diva moment he had last night, I don't want him coming to my club. DESTROYED ? Grow up and give something back to the club that helped put you up there on the world stage.

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