Watford had the first chance of the game but the shot from Marvin Sordell was comfortably saved by Adam Federici who was in the Reading goal. Though, Reading were clearly the better side and were dominating the opening exchanges.
Jobi McAnuff threatened against his former club with a mazy run and shot that was bravely blocked by Martin Taylor for a corner but nothing came from the corner. Reading then threatened again through McAnuff who was desperate to silence the Watford fans from booing him. His dangerous cross was headed wide by Shane Long.
The visitors then took the lead when Shane Long raced down the left after beating the offside trap and picked out Republic of Ireland compatriot, Noel Hunt in the middle, who slotted in despite an Adrian Mariappa challenge. However, a small pocket of Watford fans in the Rookery clearly thought that Shane Long had controlled the ball with his arm but I can’t make a judgement as I didn’t see what happened.
Watford grew in confidence but were still second best. This showed when Jordon Mutch had an effort on goal that was tipped over the bar by Federici for a corner. Watford equalised from the resulting corner as Troy Deeney powered in a header from Jordon Mutch’s corner.
Hunt smashed in a fine strike right on the stroke of half-time to force a good save from Loach but the England Under-21 man got right behind it to hold on. Reading had another shot on goal, this tim from Jobi McAnuff who had a shot on goal but was saved by Loach and cleared by Mariappa.
Reading continued to press after the break and Long was then denied by Loach before midfielder Jem Karacan put the rebound over the bar. This was all because of a dreadful mistake by Adrian Mariappa. Is the Adrian Mariappa of old creaking back in?
Loach had been in fine form to keep out the Royals but was fortunate not to concede a penalty late on when he appeared to barge into Long while coming to catch the ball from a cross. Both sides had chances to snatch victory but both sides found the opposing goalkeepers in fine form. 1-1 was the way it finished but at least Watford didn’t lose and put up a well fought display.