Hunt on target but Reading throw away two-goal lead

Blackpool 2 Reading 2

Blackpool 2 Reading 2

DJ Campbell’s second-half equaliser edged spirited Blackpool a step closer to Coca-Cola Championship safety and all but ended Reading’s hopes of winning automatic promotion.

The Royals stormed 2-0 ahead after 24 minutes through goals from Noel Hunt and Jem Karacan but the Seasiders launched an impressive fightback.

Midfielder Keith Southern pulled a goal back after 31 minutes and Campbell completed the comeback with a clinical finish in the 66th minute.

Steve Coppell’s promotion-chasers were dominant in the opening quarter and almost led in the seventh minute when an inswinging corner from Karacan was met by Noel Hunt.

His header flashed narrowly wide but Reading continued to probe and were rewarded in the 10th minute when Stephen Hunt delivered an inswinging corner from the right flank.

Brother Noel planted a firm header past Paul Rachubka to put the visitors ahead and they quickly went in pursuit of a second.

The Royals’ efforts were rewarded in the 24th minute when they doubled their advantage through Karacan.

Julian Kelly crossed from the right flank and Noel Hunt powered another header goalwards.

Rachubka made a fine save to deny the Irishman but Karacan gobbled up the rebound with a right-footed finish from six yards out.

To their credit, Blackpool refused to surrender and dragged themselves back into the game in the 31st minute.

On-loan Rangers midfielder Charlie Adam crossed the ball dangerously from the right flank and Southern arrived to rifle home a low right-foot shot into the net from six yards out.

Reading almost restored their two-goal advantage two minutes later when the lively Noel Hunt fired in a left-footed shot which Rob Edwards did well to block.

Adam – whose long-range strike gave Blackpool a famous 1-0 success at bitter rivals Preston on Saturday – fancied his chances again in the 39th minute.

He collected possession and hit a shot from 25 yards which narrowly missed Marcus Hahnemann’s right-hand post.

Blackpool almost levelled three minutes affter the restart when Lee Hughes hit a left-footed shot from 12 yards which required a fine block tackle by Andre Bikey.

In the 54th minute, Southern volleyed over the bar from 25 yards but Reading also threatened on the counter-attack.

A free-kick from Noel Hunt 25 yards out hit the wall and rebounded straight to the Reading player, who hit another effort from distance which Seasiders defender Shaun Barker blocked bravely.

Yet Blackpool continued to trouble Reading and finally got their second goal with 24 minutes remaining when Campbell rifled home a low right-footed shot from six yards out.

The hosts pushed for a winner and went close in the 72nd minute when Roy O’Donovan crossed dangerously and David Vaughan’s header was blocked by Michael Duberry.

But neither side could fashion a winner and the points were shared.

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