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Adkins wants calm after defeat

Reading manager Nigel Adkins urged his players not to panic after they suffered a surprise 1-0 defeat against Blackburn at the Madejski Stadium.

Last Updated: 22/02/14 at 18:37 Post Comment

Nigel Adkins: Backing his side to make the play-offs

Nigel Adkins: Backing his side to make the play-offs

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Reading retained sixth place in the Championship, despite going down to Craig Conway's first-half goal.

"We've been in good form and had good momentum, but, unfortunately, we haven't capitalised on that today," Adkins said. "But we've been in this position before and we know what is required. As far as getting in the play-offs is concerned, I think we've got as good a chance as anyone.

"It was not a great game. It was a bit stop-start and Blackburn obviously came here to slow the game down. All credit to them. But the spirit is still strong, we'll put this one to bed and just move on."

Reading had won five of their previous seven matches, including the impressive 3-1 win against QPR at Loftus Road last Sunday.

But they started sluggishly against a Blackburn side who were unbeaten in their four past matches and had not lost against Reading in eight meetings.

Rudy Gestede signalled Blackburn's growing confidence with a shot that flew just wide before the visitors went ahead in the 36th minute.

It was an end-to-end move, with Reading having a free kick just outside the Rovers area and Jordan Obita hitting the set-piece into the defensive wall.

Blackburn broke swiftly and, after errors by Chris Gunter and Kaspars Gorkss, Jordan Rhodes fed the ball on to Conway, who was making his first start since signing from Brighton on transfer deadline day.

Conway cut in from the left and let fly with an angled shot that looked to be heading wide of the far post. But an outstretched leg from the back-tracking Jobi McAnuff, the home captain, diverted the ball into the net.

Alex McCarthy made a superb save to prevent Rhodes from doubling the Rovers lead, but Reading substitute Royston Drenthe had two decent chances to equalise in the second half.

First he scuffed his effort at the far post from an Obita cross, then drove narrowly over the crossbar from 20 yards.

Reading also believed that they should have had a penalty when Rovers centre-back Matthew Kilgallon fell to the ground in a goalmouth scramble and appeared to handle the ball.

"It was a clear penalty," Adkins said. "He (Kilgallon) almost took the laces out of the ball."

Blackburn created little going forward in the second half, but held on comfortably, despite almost 11 minutes of stoppage time due to injury hold-ups, to move up into ninth place in the Championship.

"This is a very tough place to come and I knew it was going to be a difficult afternoon," Gary Bowyer, the Blackburn manager, said. "I was delighted at how we went about it, it was an impressive display. It was a great counter-attack for the goal, although it did take a bit of a deflection, and I was delighted for Craig.

"It was not the most attractive of games, but it was such a great team effort from us. It was massive."

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