MARC McNulty breathed a sigh of relief after scoring his first goal for Reading FC.

The £1m summer signing from Coventry City headed Paul Clement’s side in front after sensational work from Andy Rinomhota on the right wing.

But Gary Rowett’s Potters looked to steal the show as Benik Afobe and Tom Ince put the visitors 2-1 up before Modou Barrow’s injury-time equaliser.

It was a huge relief for McNulty who had spurned a golden opportunity to open his account and secure a draw at Leeds United last Tuesday when his last-gasp penalty was saved.

And the Scot, who was prolific in League 2 for the Sky Blues last season, admitted he was thrilled to put his spot-kick nightmare behind him.

He said: “It was great to score, especially coming on the back of the disappointment I felt against Leeds United when I missed the late penalty.

“I felt like I’d let the team down but these things happen in football and I had to move on really quickly rather than dwell on it.

“I trained hard and got myself in the team and I was grateful the manager picked me against Stoke.”

Reflecting on the goal, he added: “I’m not 6ft 6ins so it’s important for me to be in the right place at the right time. Sometimes it’s a gamble or a stroke of luck.

“Luckily I had the instinct that the ball was going to come to the back post and I made my movement early.”

The 26-year-old has struggled to cement his place in Paul Clement’s team sheet.

McNulty has mainly been restricted to cameo appearances from the bench after fellow strikers Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and Yakou Meite both hit prolific goal-scoring form.

But with Bodvarsson sidelined with a back injury and Meite battling an ankle problem, McNulty hopes he will retain his place in Clement’s side when Royals welcome Sheffield United on Saturday (5.30pm ko)

“I try to give him a selection headache every day in training,” said McNulty.

“I haven’t played as much as I would have liked to but when you step up to this league that is always going to be a challenge. You’re not going to play every week so I’m not going to complain.

“I had to bide my time and the manager put his faith in me and hopefully I’ve done well enough to stay in the team.

“There is a lot more quality in the Championship. Look at Stoke for instance, most of their players have played Premier League football for years.

“But as a striker it doesn’t matter what level you finish at, the goals stay the same size. If I get the chances I’m confident of putting them away.”