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Bowen acknowledges midweek exploits took their toll on Royals

Manager Mark Bowen blamed Reading’s midweek FA Cup exploits for a tired display in the scrappy 1-1 Sky Bet Championship draw at home to mid-table rivals Hull.

The Tigers almost went ahead early on when home goalkeeper Rafael tipped a powerful Marcus Maddison effort on to a post but Reading improved on a poor first-half display and snatched the lead in the 56th minute through Jordan Obita’s near-post finish.

However, Hull levelled eight minutes from the end when a deflected effort from substitute Mallik Wilks looped over home goalkeeper Rafael.

Reading had reached the FA Cup fifth round with victory at Cardiff on Tuesday – after a 3-3 draw, following extra-time, and then 4-1 on penalties.

“That was definitely two points lost today,” Bowen said. “My take on the game is that, at times, I thought we looked jaded and fatigued.

“That was coming out of a really hard-fought win against Cardiff in the week.

“I thought our passing game was not at it as a team and as individuals.

“You’re looking to get on the ball as much as you can, to be in charge of your own destiny.

“But today it became like a basketball match because we were so sloppy in our passing.

“We got our noses in front and then we were looking to see the game out. But it was poor defending on our part for their goal and then it’s two points lost.

“You’ve got to be more focused and professional in certain things we do.

“As a group, myself included, we know that, by the standards we’ve set for the majority of the time I’ve been in charge, we weren’t at those standards today.

“We’ve also got to be a bit more clinical when we get forward in the right areas.

“We’re never going to be a team that creates loads of chances. But when we do, we’ve got to be better in what we do.”

Hull ended a run of four successive league defeats and head coach Grant McCann said: “Yes, it stops that run a little bit.

“Not really with a sense of relief because I thought that, in what we set out to do, we were in control in the first half.

“We frustrated Reading and you could see that by how quiet the stadium went.

“But as in the Championship, teams are going to have a good spell against you, especially when you’re away from home.

“Reading were good in the second half. You have to give them credit for that. We were a bit disjointed for their goal.

“But the response of my team to come back, on the back of a bad run, showed great determination and willpower.

“And, to be honest, we could almost have won it at the end. But we’ll take the point and move on.

Hull have been beset by numerous injuries lately and McCann explained: “I’ve never known anything like it. I don’t think any of us have, we’ve been going around scratching our heads.

“It’s very easy at this stage to point the finger and blame people. But we don’t do that here.

“To have 11 players missing, it’s a completely freak situation. It’s not ideal but we’re not going to hide behind it.”

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