Match Report: 2010/2011 Season

27 November 2010: CHAMPIONSHIP
Reading: -
Leeds: -
Half Time: 0-0.

Attendance: 23,677

Pos Team P Pts GD
10 Doncaster 19 27 +1
11 READING 19 26 +6
12 Barnsley 19 26 -5
Reading: Federici, Harte, Griffin, Pearce, Khizanishvili, McAnuff, Leigertwood (Antonio, 77), Karacan (Tabb, 60), Hunt, Long, Church (Kebe, 60) Subs not used: Robson-Kanu, Cummings, McCarthy, Armstrong.
Leeds: Schmeichel, Connolly, O'Brien, Bruce, McCartney, Kilkenny, Johnson, Howson, Gradel (McCormack, 76), Snodgrass (Sam, 88), Becchio (Paynter, 77) Subs not used: Collins, Higgs, Hughes, Faye.
Reading: Griffin, Hunt, Karacan.
Leeds: Connolly, Gradel, Johnson, McCartney.
Ref: F Graham (Essex)
The fanatical support of the visitors contributed significantly to a great atmosphere throughout the game with their incessant vocal support. Sadly for them their team had little to offer in terms of footballing entertainment. The Royals dominated possession but were unable to convert their chances into goals and had to settle for a point for the fourth game in succession in a run of games against teams placed just above them in the table. It was a frustrating game in many respects but it is encouraging to know that Reading are at least equal to teams occupying the play-off positions.

The first half was fairly dull with United preferring to play the long ball too frequently to retain possession and Reading dominated, trying hard, without success, to pass their way through a resolute and physically superior United defence. The closest Reading came to scoring was a glancing header by Khizanishvilli from a McAnuff corner which drifted wide. The referee was having a poor game with some blatant fouls on Long and McAnuff going unpunished, but his most remarkable error of judgement came just before half time when he only booked Gradel for kicking out at Griffin right under the nose of the referee's assistant. I suspect Griffin had succeeded in winding Dradel up effectively - within the laws of the game of course!

The second half belonged to Reading especially following the introduction of Kebe for the last half an hour. He announced his arrival with a surging run through the United midfield leaving a trail of floundering opponents in his wake before setting Hunt up with a chance. He then settled down to his speciality of tormenting his full back and sending over several inviting crosses which sadly the forwards could not convert. The pick of the bunch ended with Hunt slamming a Kebe cut back straight at Schmeichel. Antonio came on an charged around for the last fifteen minutes, hit the upright from an acute angle and hurled in a couple of long throws, adding to the panic in the United box. His contribution underlined the lack of quality and composure required to finish off some of the good work. United almost stole the points with a break near the end but Fedrerici pulled off a good save to stave off the unjustice of an away win.

Liegertwood made an unremarkable debut and looked competent but was caught in possession a couple of times, but for me it was the Reading back four which enabled the Royals to dominate the game. In contrast to the Leeds back four, they were comfortable on the ball and rarely resorted to hoofing it upfield. Khizanishvilli and Griffin in particular played some superb football from the back encouraging the team to play the ball through midfield. With Pearce in good form and Mills not as reliable as he was earlier in the season Brian McDermott will be thinking long and hard about his pairing in the centre of defence when Mills is available following suspension. Will the goals start to come again? With Kebe now fit, there is hope.
John Wells


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Reading and Leeds produced some late drama but had to be content with a point apiece in a game of few chances. The home side came close to snatching a late victory when Michail Antonio's angled shot hit the post. Leeds also came close late on when Jonny Howson's goalbound shot was brilliantly saved by Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici in stoppage time. The Royals have now drawn four league games on the trot, while Leeds are unbeaten in six outings.

A draw appeared the fairest result from a game in which the defences were on top for the most part. There was little to separate the teams and a drilled Robert Snodgrass free-kick from the edge of the penalty area on the half-hour mark was a rare attempt on goal. Reading responded when a shot from Jem Karacan flew over the crossbar before Noel Hunt's volley was blocked by Leeds winger Max Gradel. Zurab Khizanishvili went closest to breaking the first-half deadlock when he headed Jobi McAnuff's corner inches wide of the post. After the break, Royals defender Ian Harte almost scored against his former club only to see his goalbound free-kick turned away by Leeds keeper Kasper Schmeichel at full stretch. Leeds midfielder Bradley Johnson headed the wrong side of the post after 85 minutes before Antonio and Howson went close in the dying moments of the match.

BBC Sport