Reading: Federici; Obita, Hector, Pearce, Gunter; Robson-Kanu (Blackman), Akpan, Ake, McCleary (Norwood); Mackie (Appiah), Pogrebnyak
Despite an encouraging performance, Steve Clarke's Reading side were unable to stop a late equaliser in a Championship game at home to Cardiff City.
The Berkshire side, currently languishing in 19th place in the league played incredibly well with two loanees making impressive debuts. However, many positives were somewhat forgotten as Cardiff's Conor McAleny salvaged a point for the Welsh side, leaving the Royals just nine points above the relegation zone.
Early on in the game, Reading looked to press high up the pitch with player of the month Jamie Mackie leading the line. Despite the switch in midfield, with Ake replacing the injured Nathaniel Chalobah and Akpan coming in for the suspended Danny Williams, Reading were in front after just four minutes.
Jordan Obita attacked down the left flank exchanging passes with Hal Robson-Kanu who crossed deep to the waiting Garath McCleary at the far post. The Jamaican winger headed the ball goalwards and Pavel Pogrebnyak was there to flick it home.
The away side threatened little but Reading failed to create many clear opportunities, looking a little too comfortable against a weak-looking Cardiff team.
The second half brought a few Bluebird changes and Cardiff looked somewhat refreshed. However, Reading made sure they were tight at the back and made no major mistakes. Craig Noone went close to equalising early in the second half but Adam Federici, who is out of contract in the summer, produced a smart save to deny the tricky winger.
This effort was to be a shock for the Reading team who looked to take one foot off the gas at times. Kwesi Appiah came on for Mackie later on and the new man had two clear chances, appearing to possess a decent amount of pace up against former Manchester United defender Fabio. Later, centre-back Michael Hector saw his header hit the crossbar from close range.
Reading played very well all game with a noticeably small number of mistakes compared to recent games, and were unlucky to concede right at the death when Everton-loanee McAleny struck. Cardiff's equaliser came after a smart move on the right side with a low cross into the path of McAleny to snatch his new side a point with just seconds remaining.
Full Time: Reading 1-1 Cardiff
The Royals had a number of chances in both half to put the match out of the reach of Russell Slade's side but wasted numerous opportunities. They were easily the best side in a relatively one-sided affair and controlled possession with great skill, led by the pair of Ake and Mackie but they could not find a second goal.
Many fans around me in Y26 were on the edge of their seats worrying that an all-too-familiar scoreline could still appear after numerous chances were wasted. Despite a clever equaliser, most Reading fans can take the positives out of today's encounter as the side showed promise which is sure to keep the team out of the relegation battle come the end of the season.
The game in hand is very much winnable if the Royals produce a similar performance to today's as Blackpool are all-but relegated. Lee Clarke's side remain 16 points from safety after a 1-1 draw at Bolton earlier today. Eidur Gudjohnsen rescued his side a point; stopping Blackpool from recording their first away win in a whopping 343 days.
Reading fans will be excited by the prospect of playing the Tangerines as they have very little to play for come Tuesday night while our safety should all but be confirmed with a win at Bloomfield Road.