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Huddersfield Town 1-0 Reading FC: 60 Second Report

Ali Al-Habsi's penalty save wasn't enough to earn Reading a result. Here's our initial report.

Derby County v Reading - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Heartbreak thy name is a late winner. In truth we were probably due a gut wrenching loss after snatching a few dramatic wins lately. Here's our initial reaction to a 1-0 defeat at Huddersfield with a full report and ratings to follow.

Jaap Stam made one change to the team who started against Brentford last Tuesday, with Roy Beerens replacing Swift in the lineup. There was also a welcome return for skipper Paul McShane who was fit enough to be named on a strong looking Royals' bench.

Early on it was easy to see why Huddersfield are top of the form table as they dominated a Reading side put firmly on the back foot. Yet credit to Stam's side who weathered the storm and who grew into the half as it went on, hitting the bar through Roy Beerens midway through the first 45.

Yet that growth was almost stunted on the half-hour when Isaiah Brown dribbled through the Reading midfield before drawing a foul from the stumbling Tyler Blackett. It was a soft penalty but we were given a reprieve when van La Parra followed up his Mad Stad red card, by having his penalty well saved from Ali Al-Habsi.

That penalty save seemed to inspire Reading, who finished the half stronger, with both Jordan Obita and Lewis Grabban going close.

Into the second period and Reading continued their momentum, with Danny Williams seeing his volley gobbled up by Danny Ward in the Huddersfield goal before Grabban had a penalty appeal turned down.

Stam used all three substitutes to try and snatch the points, with Adrian Popa, John Swift and Yann Kermorgant all coming on but just when it looked as if a point was the least we'd earn, Huddersfield hit us with a sucker punch. Philip Billing was the main to deliver it, ghosting in towards the back post to finish off a well worked move with nine minutes left. Reading huffed and puffed to find an equaliser but Huddersfield held on to record a sixth straight win and close the gap on second placed Brighton to four points.

The positive is that Reading played very well at a place where the likes of Brighton and Leeds have also fallen short this season. Results elsewhere also went our way with Derby failing to beat Burton and Sheffield Wednesday losing at home to Brentford.

The down side is that we had a fair few chances to get a result and just didn't take them, even after Al-Habsi had given us an extra life. Such narrow margins are what separates those in the automatic race from those in the play-off pack, and anything but a win at the Amex on Saturday will almost certainly mean curtains for lingering top two hopes.

As mentioned we'll have more opinion and analysis over the next couple of days.

Reading: Al-Habsi, Obita, Blackett, Moore, Gunter, Williams, Mutch (Swift), Kelly, Beerens, McCleary (Popa), Grabban (Kermorgant)