Reading: Al Habsi; Gunter, Ferdinand, Cooper, Obita; Evans, Norwood, Williams; Vydra, Piazon; Robson-Kanu
Subs: Bond, A Taylor, Hector, John, Kermorgant, Cox, Keown.
Reading bounced back from their previous league defeat at Stadium MK to hold high-flying Sheffield Wednesday to a well-earned point at the Madejski Stadium.
It was the visitors who took control of the opening exchanges, having most of the play in the middle of the park and carving out the best of the early opportunities, including a crisp strike from Wednesday midfielder Barry Bannan from the edge of the area, which rocketed off the Royals' upright. This early pressure soon saw Wednesday open the scoring, as Fernando Forestieri cut the ball back across the box and into the path of Gary Hooper, who found the back of Ali Al Habsi's net to make it six goals in his last six appearances for the Owls.
This setback spurred the Royals into action, with Jake Cooper heading wide from a Jordan Obita cross, before Hal Robson Kanu also went close to breaking through after intercepting some sloppy passing in the Wednesday defence. Reading's continuing persistence in attack was soon rewarded, as Glen Loovens felled Matej Vydra in the box to give the Czech Republic international the opportunity to level the scores from the spot. However, Vydra was unable to convert from 18 yards, as his effort cannoned off the underside of the crossbar and ran free, allowing the visitors' defence to breathe a huge sigh of relief.
The Royals' continued to grow into the game, having the majority of possession and creating further chances in the Sheffield Wednesday final third, with Anton Ferdinand going close on the volley and debutant George Evans dragging an effort wide from around 25 yards out. The visitors however remained a constant threat on the counter attack, with the class of Forestieri being an ever-present danger. The Italian led a swift Wednesday counter attack, piercing through the Reading defence, with only a block from Cooper enough to send his effort from a difficult angle wide. As half-time drew closer, neither side looked like adding to proceedings, with Obita having the clearest opening after latching onto Lucas Piazon's pass, only to blaze his effort high and wide.
In an effort to get the Royals back into the game, Brian McDermott brought on Reading's second debutant of the game as Lucas Piazon made way for new striker Yann Kermorgant at the beginning of the second half. The Frenchman went close on 55 minutes as he curled a free kick over the bar, before Chris Gunter's driving run down the right hand side saw him drill in a ball that Wednesday skipper Loovens almost sliced into his own net. The Welsh full-back then turned saviour at the other end of the pitch by providing a sublime block to keep out the troublesome Forestieri.
Continuing to chase the game, McDermott introduced the quick feet of Ola John on the hour mark, with George Evans making way for the Dutch winger. Having been bolstered, the Reading front line continued to cause Wednesday problems. Vydra almost made up for his previous penalty miss by meeting Hal Robson-Kanu's fizzling in-swinging cross in the air, but was unable to make enough contact to make it count. However, the Royals were finally able to breach the Sheffield Wednesday lines on 74 minutes. For the first time in what feels like an age, Reading successfully converted a corner, with Jake Cooper towering over all those around him in the box to head home and level the score.
From there on out the pressure came all from the Royals, as Oliver Norwood went close with a free kick on 76 minutes, before Danny Williams went close from long range just two minutes later. Yann Kermorgant could have made himself the hero of the hour in the final minute of normal time, but he was unable to head home Norwood's cross from six yards. The Royals were good value for their point, having matched the play-off chasing Wednesday across the park. However, it was their wasteful finishing which prevented them from taking a win that was arguably deserved, having only being able to put two of their sixteen efforts on target. We'll have more reaction up as soon as possible, including a full report and player ratings, so check back for that a little later this week.