Tom Ince was left cursing his luck – and his finishing – as Stoke were soon trailing here at Reading this afternoon.
Ince bagged a beauty in this very fixture last season when the game finished 2-2.
But there was no such execution this afternoon as he squandered Stoke’s best chance of the first 45 here at the Madejski.
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City were already trailing 1-0 when, in the 16th minute, a ball from the Stoke left fell for Ince at the far post, but under pressure he fired into the ground instead of into the net and the chance was gone in the blink of an eye.
Lasse Sorensen, making only his second league start for the club, was looking energetic and enthusiastic in midfield and twice his legs got him into useful areas before missing out as Stoke largely struggled to exert any real pressure on the Reading goal.
The game was played to a backdrop of home supporters – who soon had something to shout about from their armchairs.
For the game was barely six minutes old when Reading caught Stoke short down the home side’s right and a whipped ball was turned in by Lucas Joao to leave Jack Butland helpless.
Plenty for manager Michael O’Neill to mull over at the break.