With Danny Williams and Nathaniel Chalobah both injured, Reading boss Steve Clarke gave a debut to Chelsea loanee Nathan Ake who partnered Hope Akpan in a team otherwise identical from the one that faced Bradford in our last fixture at the Madejski. Fellow new loan signing Kwesi Appiah had to make do with a spot on the bench as Reading lined up in a 4-4-2 against a Cardiff City side including former Royal Sean Morrison.
Morrison's touches were widely booed throughout the game but Reading fans soon had something positive to celebrate when Jordan Obita's cross was nodded down by Garath McCleary into the path of Pavel Pogrebnyak. The big Russian's effort was far from his cleanest strike but Cardiff goalkeeper David Marshall made a hash of the save and the ball slipped passed him to make it 1-0 to Clarke's side.
Reading looked comfortable against a Cardiff team going through the motions but despite being on top they still struggled to create many clear cut chances.
That began to change in the second period and McCleary should have made it two-nil before substitute Appiah wasted two good chances to kill off the game, first failing to round the keeper with a poor first touch and then firing straight at Marshall when in space inside the box. Michael Hector then rattled the bar and you thought it was simply a matter of time until this game was put to bed.
However, if Reading have taught us anything this year, it's not to trust them to get the job done.
Despite a game that had seen little to no threat on the Reading goal,Cardiff's Conor McAleny was given space to cut across the top of the box and curl a fine shot past Adam Federici with 10 seconds left in normal time, leaving both sides with a point.
The result leaves Reading nine points clear of the bottom three with a game in hand, and need just 10 points to ensure they'll be playing in the Championship next season. However, on a day when our FA Cup Semi-Final opponents Arsenal smashed Liverpool 4-1, this won't do much to inspire our already low confidence levels heading into our big day out on the 18th.
We'll have a full detailed report as well as player ratings and an individual look at our two debutants all up on the website over the next couple of days so keep an eye out for those.