For photos from the match, scroll to Photostream above left. For match stats, click on the statistics tab. Manager reaction below.
Reading substitute Adam Le Fondre struck in the fifth and final minute of injury time to finish a late fightback against Chelsea. Rafael Benitez’s team had looked good value for a vital victory at the Madejski Stadium after goals from Frank Lampard and Juan Mata.
Le Fondre had other ideas, though. The striker scored two late goals to give Reading a 2-1 win at Newcastle two weeks ago and he rescued his team again tonight, first converting Hope Akpan's pass with three minutes left before taking advantage of poor marking to rifle home.
Reading started brightly and winger Jimmy Kebe broke down the right and clipped a ball over Chelsea goalkeeper Ross Turnbull, but there was no one on the end of it to tap in. Chelsea had a large chunk of the possession, but they were sloppy at times and Adam Federici remained untested in the Reading goal.
Some compact defending from Reading meant the away side's only attempt in the opening 15 minutes was an Ashley Cole drive which cleared the bar by 10 metres. Gary Cahill wasted a glorious chance to open the scoring when he found space in between four defenders in the box, but his free diving header from Lampard's cross flew wide.
Ryan Bertrand found space, but shot well wide, while a Fernando Torres shot went out for a throw-in. Torres made amends, lifting a delicate chip to compatriot Mata, who lost Alex Pearce and beat Federici from five yards.
Chelsea began the second period much better than the first. Lampard chipped a 20-yard pass over the Reading defence for Oscar, but he could only steer his acrobatic effort wide.
Lampard was in the thick of the action again soon after, finding Oscar, who squared for Torres, but Ian Harte cut the Brazilian's pass out just before the striker could shoot. The England midfielder got the second goal after 65 minutes when he peeled away from his marker to head Mata's corner in to the far corner.
Brian McDermott acquiesced to the Reading fans' demands for the introduction of Le Fondre, but he took until the 85th minute to make an impact, curling a shot that just cleared Turnbull's goal. The former Rotherham striker was more clinical with four minutes left, however, latching on to Akpan's pass at the back post before beating Turnbull.
Reading threw everything forward and they got their reward when Akpan nodded the ball to the back post. There, Le Fondre, unmarked, calmly converted, to delight the home fans and earned a point that lifted Reading out of the bottom three.
Reading manager Brian McDermott: "The two finishes from Alfie [Le Fondre] … the second one was ridiculous. It was a top, top-drawer strike, and to do it at that stage of the game.
"I speak to Adam as much as I can. It's difficult for me to pick a team. I do the best I can to try and get the right team to get the result. He's just a great bloke - that's it. He's funny, has real good banter. He trains like he wants to be the best player in training.
"Of course I'd start with him, but I'm trying to find a way to get results. The boy's happy, the team's happy, because of those last few results. I'm so pleased for him and them."
Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez: "It's difficult how to explain how we drew this game. We were controlling the game for 85 minutes, and even when they started playing long balls in the last 10 minutes we were still in control.
"We can say that we have to be more clinical, and be better at defending set-pieces, but we've been doing a professional, perfect job for 85 minutes. They had their first shot after 78 minutes. Everybody had the same feeling. Everyone could see the game was under control for us until the last minute."
"We all take responsibility. We don't blame anyone: it's for us to analyse why we didn't kill the game off, and to work to stop the mistakes. We're still in a really good position in the table, but it could have been really better.
"We are improving a lot. We did an exercise with corners and free-kicks yesterday and it was fine. Today for 85 minutes it was perfect."
|02 Feb 2013||v Sunderland (H)|
|09 Feb 2013||v Stoke (A)|
|23 Feb 2013||v Wigan (H)|
|02 Mar 2013||v Everton (A)|
|09 Mar 2013||v Aston Villa (H)|
|16 Mar 2013||v Man Utd (A)|