Reading 0 Swansea 0: Royals fail to make up ground in bid to drag themselves out of the drop zone
16:52 GMT, 26 December 2012
17:36 GMT, 26 December 2012
Reading ended a run of seven consecutive defeats with a goalless draw in their Boxing Day bout with Swansea at the Madejski Stadium.
The Royals are still rooted deep in the relegation zone but they were the only one of the bottom three teams to get any kind of a result today, while Southampton also drew.
It is a small step but stopping the rot was vital for Brian McDermott's men, who had come so close to earning a draw against Manchester City before Christmas. The Royals' last Barclays Premier League points came on November 17.
Battle: Swansea captain Ashley Williams holds off Jobi McAnuff
Reading: Federici, Gunter, Pearce, Mariappa, Harte, Kebe, Leigertwood, Karacan, McAnuff (Robson-Kanu 61), Guthrie, Pogrebnyak (Le Fondre 61).
Subs: Taylor, Hunt, Morrison, Tabb, Cummings.
Booked: Pogrebnyak, Le Fondre.
Swansea: Vorm, Tiendalli, Chico, Williams, Davies, Dyer, Britton (Agustien 67), Ki, Moore (de Guzman 68), Routledge, Michu (Shechter 80).
Subs: Tremmel, Bartley, Graham, Monk.
Referee: Mike Jones (Cheshire)
Latest Premier League table and results
Adam Le Fondre saw a late volley
headed over the bar by Swansea defender Chico Flores and the Reading
striker was also booked for handling the ball Maradona style into the
But after conceding nine goals in
their last two home games, Reading's onus was clearly on keeping a clean
sheet and goalkeeper Adam Federici secured that by saving well from
Nathan Dyer and Ki Sung-Yeung.
Reading also rode their luck in the
first half with Michu shooting wide and then over the bar from close
range in a game of little quality.
The in-house DJ played 'The
Impossible Dream' before kick-off, which for long periods of a laboured
game seemed to sum up Reading's hopes of surviving in the top flight.
The home supporters are already
indulging in black humour. When Swansea's travelling fans chanted 'Going
down, going down, going down', the home support sang 'So are we, so are
we, so are we'.
Danny Guthrie was given his first
start, the only change to the side beaten so late at Manchester City at
the weekend, and he had early shouts for a penalty.
Pavel Pogrebnyak pick-pocketed Flores
and Guthrie carried the ball into the box before going down under the
challenge of Leon Britton but the referee waved play on.
Heads up: Kyle Bartley is challenged by Jobi McAnuff at the Madejski Stadium
It was a rare Reading foray forward.
It was only in the final 20 minutes that Reading began to put Swansea
under any sustained pressure.
For most of a turgid first half they were content to sit back, allow Swansea to keep possession and ride their luck.
Swansea were comfortable in
possession and Michu linked well with Luke Moore on the edge of the
Reading box before digging out a shot which just curled wide of the top
That's mine: Danny Guthrie and Ki Sung-Yueng bid for the ball in the bore draw
No way through: Adam Federici makes a save in front of the cameras for Reading
The classy Spaniard showed shades of
Matt Le Tissier as he turned Adrian Mariappa inside out before stabbing a
shot just wide of the near post.
Michu was harshly judged to have
fouled the hapless Mariappa so a goal would not have stood in any case,
but it was another let-off for Reading.
The Royals sat deep. Swansea held on to the ball, moving it around their back four and playing the waiting game.
At one stage the only entertainment
in the ground came from the brass band in the far corner. Jimmy Kebe
tried to haul the game out of the rut with a break from his own half but
a dreadful touch from Pogrebnyak on the edge of the box allowed Swansea
keeper Michel Vorm to scoop up the ball.
Reading defender Chris Gunter then
made a hash of his attempt to chest a cross from Dyer back to his
keeper, and Michu pounced but somehow poked his shot over the bar from
four yards out.
Quiet day: Swansea dangerman Michu was halted by Reading
Reading had more penalty shouts
turned down when Jobi McAnuff went down as he challenged for a header
and the Royals then wasted a promising free-kick opportunity.
There was more urgency about Reading in the second half. They began to press Swansea more.
Guthrie went in hard on Britton to win the ball but Pogrebnyak then
lunged in very late on Dwight Tiendalli to earn a yellow card.
Pogrebnyak made way almost
immediately with Le Fondre taking over up front and Hal
Robson-Kanu replacing McAnuff in a double substitution.
Although Swansea had dominated possession it was only in the final half hour they began to really test Federici.
Something to shout about: Le Fondre was pulled up for his handball goal
Silly boy: Adam Le Fondre is shown a yellow card by referee Mike Jones for his handball
The first chance came from sloppy
Reading defending, which allowed Wayne Routledge to pick out Dyer, whose
diving header from eight yards out was well saved by Federici.
The Australian dealt well with a
powerful drive from Ki Sung-Yeung after Reading had only half-cleared
their lines from a Swansea free-kick.
Reading fans celebrated what they
thought was the winner after 73 minutes when Le Fondre beat Vorm from
close range after rising to meet Ian Harte's free-kick.
But eagle-eyed referee Mike Jones spotted Le Fondre had turned the ball in with his arm and booked the Reading striker.
Vorm was the busiest man on the field
in the closing stages, repeatedly punching clear as Reading finally
turned the screw in search of a late winner.
One such punch fell to Le Fondre,
whose volley was goal-bound but Flores did well to stand his ground and
head the ball up over his own bar.