Reading vs. Chelsea: Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction

Ben Chodos@bchodosCorrespondent IIJanuary 30, 2013

READING, ENGLAND - JANUARY 30:  Pavel Pogrebnyak of Reading is challenged by Ramires of Chelsea during the Barclays Premier League match between Reading and Chelsea at Madejski Stadium on January 30, 2013 in Reading, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Reading's Adam Le Fondre came on as a substitute to score two goals and helped his side earn a 2-2 draw against Chelsea in a spectacular match.  

The fans at Madejksi Stadium saw their Royals put up an admirable fight in the first half, but Juan Mata's strike in the closing moments put their side at a disadvantage. 

Fernando Torres' chip left Mata with little room for error if he wanted to produce a quality strike, but the 24-year-old has proven time and time again this season that even the smallest window is enough for him to smash the ball into the back of the net. 

In the second half, Mata's corner found Frank Lampard's head, and the veteran midfielder perfectly placed his opportunity in the top corner to make Reading's task nearly impossible. 

But Adam Le Fondre's goal in the 87th minute provided Chelsea with a warning, and the Blues failed to respond. Le Fondre delivered another impressive finish four minutes into stoppage time to tie the match and earn a fantastic result for Reading. 



Juan Mata, Chelsea: A

Many adjectives have been used to describe the Spanish midfielder this season, but in the last few weeks, lethal has been the most appropriate word. While his reputation pegs him as a distributor who excels with the ball at his feet, he has proven to have the striking ability of an elite center forward. 

To score Chelsea's only goal, he timed his run perfectly and made a remarkably difficult finish look extremely easy. Rafa Benitez will surely be kicking himself for taking Mata off when his team had a seemingly comfortable two-goal lead. 


Pavel Pogrebnyak, Reading: C-

Pogrebnyak was purposefully stranded atop the Royals' formation in this match, making his ability to have a major impact difficult. Still, he was fully aware of his task and should have done more. 

In the past, he has displayed the guile necessary to sneak into dangerous areas despite being his team's only attacking option, but he did not do so today. Ultimately, Pogrebnyak never threatened to score in this match. 


Fernando Torres, Chelsea: B

The first goal of the game predictably involved Mata and Torres, with a brilliant pass followed by a spectacular finish. However, it was Torres, the striker, distributing and Mata, the midfielder, finishing the opportunity. 

While Rafa Benitez maybe would have preferred to see Torres refine his form in front of goal, the result was all the same. The Spaniard made a fine play and helped create a goal. 


Adam Le Fondre, Reading: A+

Le Fondre succeeded where Pogrebnyak failed. The striker has made a habit of scoring when coming on as a substitute, and he continued that trend in this match. 

His strike in the 87th minute gave Reading a goal when it had not created enough chances to necessarily earn one. Then he become the star of the night with a fantastic finish in the final moments of the match to salvage a point for his side.


Frank Lampard, Chelsea: A

While an old adage states that people don't realize how much they miss someone until they are gone, Chelsea is learning how much the team needed Frank Lampard now that he is back. 

The veteran midfielder has six goals in his last eight matches. In addition to his goal in this match, he once again provided the stability, competitiveness and leadership that Chelsea has lacked at times during its campaign. Unfortunately, John Terry was not there to provide the same service for the back line. 


What's Next

Chelsea will remain in third place with 46 points this season and will play Newcastle this Saturday. 

Reading created distance between itself and last-place Queens Park Rangers and now has 20 points. The club will face Sunderland on Saturday.