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Reading FC 0-0 Newcastle United: 60 Second Report

Reading took another step towards the playoffs with a decent point against the league leaders.

Sometimes in football it is the results elsewhere that matter more than the game you're concentrating on. Tonight was one of those nights.

Whilst Reading will be pleased at their performance and getting a point against big spending Newcastle, they will go to bed tonight more buoyed by the lack of wins for any team that started outside the playoffs but in the top half.

It means with 10 games to go that Reading are now seven points ahead of Fulham, who do have a game in hand, and 11 points ahead of Derby and Norwich. To finish below the latter two would now be nothing short of a disaster.

The Royals went into tonight up against a team that had beaten the second and third best teams in the league away from home in their last two games. Jaap Stam made four changes to the team that narrowly beat Wolves at the weekend.

One of those incoming players, Lewis Grabban, had a glorious chance inside the first minute to give Reading lead, but headed wide when he should have scored.

That was to remain Reading's best chance of the half, as once again the Madejski Stadium witnessed a first half devoid of excitement. The visitors did come close to scoring when Matt Ritchie saw a shot hit the post, but apart from that there was little between the sides.

Yann Kermorgant saw a shot saved just after the break after good work by the impressive Joey van den Berg. That though did not to signal an upturn in chances.

Indeed it was to be nearly 25 minutes for the next chance of note, as Ali Al-Habsi had to pull off a smart save from a powerful Daryl Murphy header. The Royals responded soon after through Garath McCleary, who went close from distance.

With less than 10 minutes to go Al-Habsi had to be alert again to stop Murphy's replacement Dwight Gayle. That was to be the visitors last chance and in the end it was Reading who almost won it right at the death.

Danny Williams neat backheel played in McCleary who clipped the bar with just Barlow to beat.

All in all it was a good night's work for Reading who proved that they can mix it with the best. With the results elsewhere that might come in handy in May.

We'll have more detailed analysis up on The Tilehurst End in the coming days.

Reading: Al-Habsi; Gunter, McShane, Moore (Obita 50), Blackett; Mutch, van den Berg, Kelly (Williams 46); Grabban, Kermorgant, McCleary.

Newcastle: Darlow; Gamez, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett; Ritchie, Shelvey, Colback (Diame 88), Gouffran (Atsu 69); Perez; Murphy (Gayle 75).

Referee: Andy Davies

Attendance: 23,121 (3,704 away)