Match Reports

Report | Reading 1-1 Luton Town

The Hatters secured a place in the Sky Bet Championship play-offs for the second season in a row after coming from behind to take a point from their trip to Reading tonight.


Carlton Morris nodded home his 19th goal of the campaign to cancel out Andy Carroll's opener for struggling Reading, who were reduced to ten men soon after when the ex-Newcastle and Liverpool hitman netted with a deliberate handball.

The point was no less than Town deserved after dominating the game against the Royals for all bar a spell just after half-time when Carroll headed them in front

Alfie Doughty returned to the starting line-up after missing Saturday's win at Rotherham. The left-sided flyer's return, in place of the injured Reece Burke, was the only change made by manager Rob Edwards as the Hatters go in search of the victory that will guarantee a play-off place for the second season in a row.

Third-placed Town went into the game unbeaten in ten matches, as well as being ten undefeated on the road, while hosts Reading were 22nd in the table, inside the relegation zone on goal difference.

Backed by a raucous atmosphere inside the Select Car Leasing Stadium, with home fans buoyed by a point gained against promoted Burnley on Saturday in their first game under new manager Noel Hunt, Reading made a positive start and should have gone in front in the second minute when Andy Carroll blazed over from close range after good work down the right by Femi Azeez.

Another lifted by events last Saturday, Cauley Woodrow, tried his luck from 30 yards after a spell of treatment for Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, but Reading keeper Joe Lumlet was right behind it.

Allan Campbell, who scored on this ground last season, tested Lumley after 15 minutes with a half-volley after good work by Marvelous Nakamba, seconds before Doughty hit the foot of the post with a thunderous free-kick after Woodrow had been brought down in full flow by Carroll, who was shown a yellow card by referee Tim Robinson.

A long-throw from the right by Royals left-back Nesta Guinness-Walker caused concern in the Hatters' six-yard box, Etham Horvath puinching the bouncing ball clear before Tom Holmes volleyed over from the edge of the area with 20 minutes played.

Woodrow called Lumley into action again from distance in the 24th minute, the Reading stopper beating the striker's effort away, and by now the Hatters were well in the ascendancy, playing some lovely football and drawing foul after foul inside the hosts' half, Jeff Hendrick eventually going into the book for a late challenge on Mpanzu.

Lumley denied Woodrow again on 36 minutes, claiming his attempted curler from outside the box as it headed towards the top corner, then Naby Sarr threw himself in the way of the forward's blast from ten yards as he looked to profit from a knock-down from strike partner Morris.

The Hatters were dominating the ball and playing through the Reading lines seemingly at will, with Mpanzu having a shot blocked and several crosses flashing across the face of goal, with home defenders content to smash the ball anywhere to get it away from their box.

The momentum changed at the break however, and after Horvath had pushed Lucas Joao's shot behind for a corner, Reading took the lead in the 51st minute when Andy Carroll met Tyrese Fornah's right-wing corner with a thumping header.

Carroll had the ball in the net again four minutes later - but his celebrations were cut short when referee Robinson rightly judged that he had deliberately handled the ball into the net and showed him a second yellow card, ending the former England striker's night 35 minutes early.

A man up, Town went in search of the leveller, Drameh whipping in a low cross that Morris met at the near post but couldn't direct his half-volley on target, before Woodrow cut back for Campbell, who had the ball taken off his toe and gratefully claimed by Lumley.

Edwards made a triple change with just over 20 minutes to go, bringing on Elijah Adebayo, Luke Berry and Jordan Clark for Lockyer, Mpanzu and Campbell, but it was one of Reading's subs, Mamadi Camara, who made a telling contribution with 18 minutes remaining, blocking another Woodrow shot from just inside the area after Berry had sent a dangerous-looking cross in from the left.

Woodrow sent another volley just wide of Lumley's post with 15 minutes left, picking up a knock in the process that eventually ended his evening's work, then Clark side-footed Bell's low centre over the bar from six yards out.

The equaliser finally came in the 80th minute when Berry arced a cross in from the left that Adebayo headed bravely in combat with Lumley. Morris was alive to the ball coming down from high in the Berkshire sky, and headed in from almost on the line for his 19th goal of the season and eighth in his last 12 matches.

Reading sub Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan led a breakaway in the 87th minute but fired high over the bar at the end of it, but Town were soon probing for the winner at the other end, Morris heading wide from a Doughty cross.

The point was enough to secure a place in the top six and extend the unbeaten run to 11 matches, as the Hatters wonderful campaign of character, commmitment and an abundance of quality continues.

TOWN: Horvath, Drameh, Lockyer (Adebayo 69), Bradley (C), Bell, Doughty, Nakamba, Campbell (Clark 69), Mpanzu (Berry 69), Morris, Woodrow (Freeman 79).

Subs: Shea, Lansbury, Taylor.

Goal: Morris 81

ROYALS: Lumley, Carroll, Holmes, Hendrix, Joao (Ehibhatiomhan 81), Azeez (Abrefa 70), Yiadom (C), Guinness-Walker, Fornah (Camara 70), Casadei, Sarr.

Subs: Boyce-Clarke (GK), Dann, Loum, Mbengue.

Goal: Carroll 51


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