Swansea roar back to draw with Reading

Premier League, Liberty Stadium – Swansea 2 (Michu 71, Routledge 78) Reading 2 (Pogrebnyak 31, Hunt 44)

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Swansea Michu

Swansea recovered from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Reading after dominating their Premier League clash at the Liberty Stadium.

Against the run of play, Reading stunned their hosts with first-half goals from Pavel Pogrebnyak and Noel Hunt, and an inspired showing from goalkeeper Alex McCarthy frustrated the Welsh side.

Swansea eventually gained reward for their 71 per cent of possession as Michu and Wayne Routledge netted late goals to salvage a point, and Reading were denied their first win of the Premier League season, though they can have no complaints after having seen their advantage eroded.

Swans boss Michael Laudrup made one change to his starting line-up as Routledge came in for the benched Pablo Hernandez, while Brian McDermott also made one alteration with Jay Tabb replacing the injured Mikele Leigertwood.

The hosts immediately seized the initiative, and new Wales captain Ashley Williams, who passed a late fitness test to take his place in defence, squandered a glorious opportunity as he ghosted in at the back post, only to head agonisingly wide of the far corner from Ki Sung-Yueng's devilish delivery.

Minutes later, a slick move from the hosts culminated in Nathan Dyer dinking a precise delivery into the box for Danny Graham, whose powerful header was superbly tipped over the bar by McCarthy.

Another golden opportunity went begging as the excellent Michu held the ball up superbly once more and slid a sublime pass through to Routledge, who could only plant a tame shot straight at McCarthy with just the goalkeeper to beat.

Swansea felt as though they should have a penalty as Routledge raced to the edge of the Reading box and saw his curled effort towards the far corner of the net blocked by the hand of Adrian Mariappa, but referee Mike Dean did not deem it worthy of a spot kick.

Very much against the run of play, Reading took the lead on the half-hour mark as Pogrebnyak latched on to a through ball from Tabb and drove a seemingly innocuous drive on target, only for Michel Vorm to inexplicably allow the ball to sneak underneath him.

It was a goalkeeping howler, and Reading had their 100th Premier League goal and an improbable lead.

Swansea did not take heed of that lesson as they were again caught napping at the back having had the lion’s share of the play, and suddenly Reading had a two-goal advantage on the stroke half-time.

A loose ball dropped to Hunt from close range after Jobi McAnuff’s initial shot was deflected, and the forward unleashed a crisp volley with perfect technique to beat Vorm and net his second league goal in successive games.

It was a shellshocked Laudrup who trudged away at the break, and he made one change with Luke Moore replacing the ineffectual Graham for the restart. It would prove to be an inspired substitution from the Dane.

Swansea have conceded nine of their 11 goals in the league this season in the first half, and they were noticeably more assured after the break as they began to haul themselves back into the match after a wretched result from the opening period.

The hosts thought they had finally got on the scoresheet as substitute Moore rose high to head towards the corner of the net with a superb header, but McCarthy pulled off a quite brilliant diving save to his left, tipping the ball onto the post and away.

Laudrup must have been sensing that this would not be his side’s day, and further heroics from McCarthy around the hour mark left the hosts in utter despair.

The creative Ki jinked inside and unleashed a powerful shot which took a slight deflection, but McCarthy dropped down low to his right to tip the ball wide with the Swansea faithful in disbelief.

Minutes later, Williams met a corner from Ki with a strong header which forced McCarthy to again dive to his right and parry wide. The latest barrage of pressure counted for nothing with the 22-year-old keeper in inspired form.

Finally, Swansea convert their pressure into a goal as a deep cross from Routledge evaded everyone in the box, except for Michu at the back post, who rounded the ball home with a simple finish to reduce the deficit.

The goal was no less than the hosts deserved, and they could have drawn level just two minutes later as substitute Moore fired on target from close range, but McCarthy turned the ball away.

Swansea did manage to pull level in the 78th minute as Routledge and the impact sub Moore played a slick one-two on the edge of the Reading box, and the winger slammed the ball home emphatically with McCarthy given no chance at all.

The hosts were again left furious as they were denied a penalty for handball for a second time in the match: Hernandez took a high ball down inside the Reading box with an exquisite touch, and his shot towards the far corner of the net was blocked by the hand of Nicky Shorey to leave the Swansea bench feeling very aggrieved.

The scoreline could hardly have been more misleading for much of the match, and both managers were left rueing what might have been, for very different reasons, as the points were shared.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Alex McCarthy (Reading) – The 22-year-old protected his side’s lead in spite of Swansea’s overwhelming dominance with a string of inspired saves, and the hosts would have won comfortably had it not been for his heroics between the posts.

PLAYER RATINGS

SWANSEA: Vorm 5, Rangel 6, Chico 5, Williams 7, Davies 6, Britton 7, Dyer 7, Routledge 8, Ki 7, Michu 7, Graham 5. Subs: Hernandez 6, Moore 7, de Guzman 6.

READING: McCarthy 8, Cummings 6, Shorey 5, Gorkss 6, Mariappa 7, Tabb 6, Karacan 5, McAnuff 7, Kebe 7, Hunt 7, Pogrebnyak 6. Subs: Robson-Kanu 6, Le Fondre 6, Roberts 6.

FULL MATCHCAST AND STATS

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