A RARE Tom Holmes wonder strike was not enough to give Reading FC three points as they drew 1-1 at home with in-form Hull City FC this afternoon (Saturday).

Royals’ academy star stunned the travelling Tigers with an incredible bicycle kick at the end of a dire first half to give the home side the edge. But Reading were pegged back when Luke Southwood flapped at Malik Wilks’ long-range strike after 55 minutes.

Royals were furious as they were denied what appeared to be two clear-cut penalty shouts as they failed to build momentum on last week’s stunning victory.

Veljko Paunovic named an unchanged starting XI following Royals' shock 3-2 win away at Swansea City last weekend. The visitors, buoyed by four wins on the bounce, were also unchanged at Select Car Leasing Stadium.

Reading Chronicle: Velijko Paunovic watching his players in action vs Hull. Image by: JasonPIXVelijko Paunovic watching his players in action vs Hull. Image by: JasonPIX

Richie Smallwood thought he had given Grant McCann a dream start to the afternoon with a rasping volley from just inside the penalty area but Luke Southwood got down quickly to parry. Royals should have had a goal themselves inside six minutes when Andy Carroll, who has become an immediate fan favourite amongst the Reading FC faithful, miss-kicked Baba Rahman’s inch-perfect cut-back.

John Swift latched onto a defensive error but failed to make Hull pay as he charged down on goal before shooting straight at Nathan Baxter with 20 minutes played.

Tom Dele-Bashiru lashed a fierce strike at goal moments later but Baxter denied Reading again with a stunning, flying save.

Southwood, one of the few shining lights in the first half, was called into action again with 38 minutes on the clock to stop Holmes from steering the ball into his own net.

Tigers’ Jacob Greaves looked certain to score minutes later when he was picked out unmarked in the penalty area. The towering defender had time to guide his header past Southwood but instead sent his effort looping over the crossbar.

After a fairly dire 45 minutes, Royals did take the lead in outrageous fashion on the stroke of half-time. A cushioned header across goal caused panic in the box before academy star Holmes’ acrobatic bicycle-kick sent the home fans into pandemonium.

Reading Chronicle: Holmes celebrates his wonder-strike. Image by: JasonPIXHolmes celebrates his wonder-strike. Image by: JasonPIX

Royals skipper Andy Yiadom had to be withdrawn at half time through injury so Serbian Under-21 international Dejan Tetek took his place.

A rare howler from Royals stopper Luke Southwood gifted the visitors a route back into the game with 55 minutes played. The Northern Ireland international got a glove on Malik Wilkes’ thunderous long-range drive but could not prevent it from creeping over the line.

Hull’s equaliser seemed to spark a bit of life into Reading and they were rightly furious not to be awarded a penalty with 60 minutes played. Talisman Swift was clearly wiped out in the area but referee Stephen Martin showed absolutely no interest in his appeal, much to the dismay of the home fans and staff.

A neat exchange between Swift and Dele-Bashiru saw the latter dart into the penalty area but he was off-balance as he fired a low-driven shot straight at Baxter.

The visitors were denied a beautiful team goal with 10 minutes left on the clock as George Honeyman just miss-timed his run before cutting the ball back across goal for a tap-in.

Reading were left incensed once again when Di’Shon Bernard clearly handled the ball in the penalty area but referee Martin showed no interest in pointing to the spot.

Reading Chronicle: Reading's vocal appeals for handball were ignored. Image by: JasonPIXReading's vocal appeals for handball were ignored. Image by: JasonPIX

The hosts kept plugging away but once again lacked any sort of cutting edge in the final third. Baba Rahman tried to take matters into his own hands with a speculative shot from distance which fell perfectly into Baxter’s gloves.

Femi Azeez then looked certain to capitalise on a goalmouth scramble deep into added time but the visitors did brilliantly to clear their lines before the game fizzled out for a 1-1 draw.

Reading FC: Southwood, Yiadom (Tetek, 45), Holmes, Dann, Rahman, Drinkwater, Laurent, Dele-Bashiru, Swift, Halilovic (Azeez, 55), Carroll. Subs not used: Rafael, Camara, Puscas, Ashcroft, Abrefa.