What a difference a few days can make. It seems incredible that the exact same line up that provided a thrilling 3-3 draw against Wolves, looked lacklustre and uninspiring against Leeds. For the hardy souls who made the long journey up north most felt robbed making the return back south despite the fact that before kick off almost every fan would've probably taken a point at Elland Road.
I usually pride myself on knowing the majority of the opposition's line up before kickoff (thanks to an extensive use of football manager) but the Leeds teamsheet was a severe case of the identity parade. A blend of youth and Italian players meant we were unsure what to expect from Darko Milanic's first home game. The end product was a team that- like ours- could pass occasionally well, but lacked edge in the final third and would probably achieve mid table mediocrity this season.
Elland road has always been a ground where you need to start on the front foot to silence the home support, but it was Leeds who raced out of the blocks with early chances falling to Alex Mowatt and a couple of cheap free kicks. Reading kicked back into life with the temperamental Nick Blackman stinging Marco Silvestri's palms and having a penalty appeal turned down.
From then until half time we saw the regular Reading performance of a 0-0, well organised throughout but lacking in creativity with no real width- which has been a problem away from home in particular this season. Also, Hector managed to get himself booked for a very silly handball.
The second half was as scrappy as the first, the only sustained pressure was a succession of set pieces mid way through the half. The best of which saw Glenn Murray evade Giuseppe Belluschi to see his low header saved by Silvestri, to the disbelief of the away support. Penalty appeals came and went for both Jake Taylor and Blackman, The Royals' issue seemed to be that Blackman's balance is very suspect, making referee's reluctant to give him every decision, however the Taylor appeal seemed even on second reflection to be a good case for a penalty.
Leeds first real shot on target only came after the introduction of former Royal Billy Sharp whose 20 yard effort was parried by Adam Federici for Chris Gunter to clear away. In truth neither strike force looked like scoring and if they had it would've been a drab 1-0 instead of a drab 0-0, Murray and Simon Cox showed some good link up play but nothing quite in the final third to shout about.
On reflection a point is a good result and there were encouraging signs from the royals and the return of players like HRK and Garath McCleary in a couple of months will turn draws into wins. For now the couple of hundred who made the trip up north will have to settle with the occasional dire game of football. Onwards and upwards to Brentford; and kudos to the Leeds fans for providing one of the best atmosphere's in the championship.