Reading 1-1 Hull City
Mallik Wilks’ third goal of the season extended Hull City’s unbeaten run to five matches with a valuable point at Reading. The 22-year-old’s second-half strike cancelled out Tom Holmes’ acrobatic effort in first-half injury time and ensured a repeat of the same scoreline from the Tigers’ last visit in 2020.
Grant McCann named an unchanged team from the battling 2-1 victory over Millwall as the Tigers searched for a fifth consecutive Championship win. There was one alteration on the bench as Tyler Smith – celebrating his 23rd birthday – replaced Tom Eaves. Brimming with confidence after an uplifting November, the Tigers immediately took the game to their Berkshire hosts.
George Honeyman won and stood up a free-kick which was cleared as far as Richie Smallwood, whose right-footed volley bounced down into the ground and was pushed wide by Luke Southwood. The visitors had the ball in the net as Honeyman’s cross was nodded down by Josh Magennis and steered in on the volley by Wilks, but the offside flag curtailed the celebrations.
Both sets of supporters came together in the sixth minute for a minute’s applause in memory of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes.
Full of running, the Tigers continued to ask questions as Keane Lewis-Potter sprayed the ball wide for Ryan Longman to send in a cross which Wilks headed over. Having bossed the opening 20 minutes, the Tigers almost shot themselves in the foot as Reading were gifted a glorious opportunity to go in front.
Ryan Longman’s wayward pass was intercepted by John Swift, who raced clean through on goal but Nathan Baxter read his effort brilliantly and made a vital stop low to his left. The Chelsea loanee then showed impressive reactions to tip over Tom Dele-Bashiru’s blistering 20-yarder after a sharp one-two with Baba Rahman.
The Tigers regained the upper hand and on 35 minutes, a Lewis-Potter cross from the right was scrambled wide by Southwood, who briefly required treatment after clattering into the post. The resulting corner from Honeyman was headed back across goal by Sean McLoughlin, ghosting in at the back post, into the path of Wilks but he blazed over from six yards.
There was another let-off for the Royals when a stretching Holmes diverted Lewis-Potter’s devilish delivery towards his own goal but, fortunately for him, straight at a relieved Southwood. Reading came on strong in the final moments of the half and, after Andy Carroll had penalty shouts ignored, took the lead in the second minute of added time. Josh Laurent’s curling shot was touched wide by Baxter, with Swift’s subsequent corner headed into the air by Laurent for Holmes to crash an overhead kick into the roof of the net.
Reading: Luke Southwood; Andy Yiadom © (Dejan Tetek 46’), Tom Holmes, Scott Dann, Baba Rahman; Josh Laurent; Alen Halilovic (Femi Azeez 56′), Danny Drinkwater, John Smith, Tom Dele-Bashiru; Andy Carroll.
Subs not used: Rafael, Mamadi Camara, George Puscas, Tyrell Ashcroft, Kelvin Abrefa.
Hull City: Nathan Baxter; Di’Shon Bernard, Sean McLoughlin, Jacob Greaves; Keane Lewis-Potter, Richie Smallwood ©, Greg Docherty, Ryan Longman (Callum Elder 66’); George Honeyman; Josh Magennis (Tyler Smith 75’), Mallik Wilks.
Subs not used: Matt Ingram, Andy Cannon, George Moncur, Randell Williams, Tom Huddlestone.