Reading vs. Chelsea: Final score 2-2, Yet another Adam Le Fondre late show denies Blues

Mike Hewitt

Chelsea were 2-0 up and cruising at the Madejski Stadium, but the Royals pulled off yet another comeback through Adam Le Fondre's late brace.

Reading pulled off another remarkable late show to steal a point against Chelsea, and they did it through the familiar method of introducing Adam Le Fondre.

The game got off to a scrappy start with Chelsea having most of the ball but largely being bogged down in midfield, such that the first twenty minutes passed by virtually without event. Juan Mata had the best chance of the opening spell, after Mikele Leigertwood carelessly gave the ball away and Fernando Torres showed a rare burst of pace to tee up his compatriot, but the Reading defence had massed upon him before he could get his shot away.

Chelsea were struggling to put anything together, ut should have been 1-0 up when Frank Lampard's free-kick gave Gary Cahill a completely free header, but the defender's finish was over the bar. Reading's defending was typically gutsy, and their opponents frustration was perhaps best typified by Fernando Torres, who saw one particularly wayward shot dribble out for a throw-in.

Reading soon saw their hard work undone, however, as Mata and Torres once again combined. A one-two between them resulted in Torres' ball over the top being smartly finished with a low left-footed shot, and Chelsea could go into half-time relieved - Reading, after all, had not looked like creating a thing.

The second half saw little hope of a Reading fightback, and chants soon began to echo around the ground for the introduction of the recently-prolific Adam Le Fondre. Yet before they could be answered, Frank Lampard made the Blues' position a comfortable one by rising highest to head in from a corner. With Reading barely having had a shot, the game looked over.

Brian McDermott soon acquiesced to the demands of the home support, and Adam Le Fondre's introduction turned out to be a memorable one. Chelsea were winding down the clock, but with 87 minutes gone the supersub gave them a glimmer of hope after picking up Hope Akpan's pass to send a left-footed finish past Ross Turnbull.

That gave Reading the hope they needed, and incredibly, it proved enough for another remarkable comeback, as in injury time, a long free-kick was nodded on to find Le Fondre in the area once again, who smashed an equaliser into the net that gave Turnbull no chance.

Another incredible turnaround for the Royals, who will now really start to believe they have what it takes to stay up. For Rafael Benitez, the future, and his chance of keeping his job, look fainter every day. The Chelsea fans were chanting Roberto Di Matteo's name before the first goal - and they will be chanting it once again after the last.

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