Tag Archives: madejski

Brendan Rodgers says Reading goalkeeper Alex McCarthy"s performance was the best he"s ever seen

McCarthy for England: Reading keeper's performance the best ever, says Rodgers

By
Riath Al-samarrai

PUBLISHED:

21:00 GMT, 14 April 2013

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UPDATED:

00:57 GMT, 15 April 2013

At least there is hope, and failing that the prospect of receiving a hefty transfer fee.

Reading looked just about ready for the Championship on Saturday with the exception of a stand-in goalkeeper whose remarkable performance drew statements that were grand even by Brendan Rodgers’ standards.

Initially, the Liverpool manager said Alex McCarthy should be in contention for England; then he went as far as to describe his efforts in the 0-0 draw amounted to the best display of goalkeeping he had ever seen.

Scroll down for highlights from the Madejski…

England contention: Reading goalkeeper Alex McCarthy (right) produced a stunning display between the sticks for the doomed club

England contention: Reading goalkeeper Alex McCarthy (right) produced a stunning display between the sticks for the doomed club

Not many at the Madejski Stadium disagreed. His 10 saves, especially those that stopped Daniel Sturridge in the first half and Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez in the second, looked out of place in a doomed side capable of coughing up so many chances.

Best ever: Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers said it was the best goalkeeping performance he'd ever seen

Best ever: Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers said it was the best goalkeeping performance he'd ever seen

It’s anyone’s guess what impact he might have made on the club’s season had he not missed the past five months with a shoulder injury sustained when he collided with a goalpost against QPR in November.

None of this would have been a surprise to Rodgers, who oversaw Reading’s youth department and later managed the first team when the 23-year-old was coming through the ranks. He said: ‘Reading have always produced good goalkeepers and Alex is one who is next in line for me, he really is a top goalkeeper.

‘I was aware of him just before I left [as youth coach], and when I came back as manager he was still young. Goalkeepers need that experience so he went out on loan but he was always one that the guys here felt was going to be a top goalkeeper and you saw today that he has all the qualities to succeed.’

Having spent time on loan at Woking, Team Bath and Cambridge United, among other sides like Ipswich and Leeds, McCarthy only got selected after Adam Federici aggravated his ankle injury.

Asked if it was the best goalkeeping performance he had seen, Rodgers added: ‘Yes. I was sat in the changing room with the staff and said I couldn’t remember being at a game where a goalkeeper has made a performance like that, either as a manager, coach or spectator.

Attributes: Rodgers, who managed McCarthy when he was Reading boss, says the goalkeeper has all the tools to be one of the best

Attributes: Rodgers, who managed McCarthy when he was Reading boss, says the goalkeeper has all the tools to be one of the best

‘Normally goalkeepers make one or two saves that make a difference, but he made an incredible number of saves and when he was beat it was cleared off the line. It was a brilliant goalkeeping performance.’

Reading manager Nigel Adkins said: ‘We have some excellent goalkeepers. We have Stuart Taylor, Adam Federici, Alex McCarthy, Mikkel Anderson.

‘They are out there and have good competition for places which is important. Alex had been out for a long time, but had the opportunity and made some great saves. Now we have to ensure there is a consistency in his game.’

Frustrated: Liverpool had to settle for a second successive goalless draw

Frustrated: Liverpool had to settle for a second successive goalless draw

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Reading v Southampton – live

PREMIER LEAGUE LIVE: Reading v Southampton – as it happens from the Madejski Stadium

By
Martin Domin

PUBLISHED:

03:00 GMT, 6 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:19 GMT, 6 April 2013

Follow Sportsmail's coverage of the Barclays Premier League as Reading host Southampton at the Madejski Stadium to begin the weekend's action.

The Royals are rock bottom of the table and are desperate for a victory that would take them within four points of safety. But they take on a Saints side that have improved in the second half of the campaign and will be targeting a third successive win to ease their own relegation fears.

Send your views, predictions and comments to [email protected]

12.20pm: Just a little more detail on the teams:

Reading manager Nigel Adkins makes five changes to his side. Adam Federici returns in goal after an ankle injury, while Sean Morrison, Chris Gunter, Hope Akpan and Adam Le Fondre come in after the 4-1 defeat at Arsenal.

Saints boss Mauricio Pochettino meanwhile makes one alteration at the Madejski Stadium, with Gaston Ramirez coming in for Jason Puncheon.

12.10pm: This has the makings of a cracking game, in my humble opinion. Reading are in desperate need of the points which means they'll be even more vulnerable than usual.

Southampton meanwhile are on something of a roll after fine back-to-back victories over Liverpool and Chelsea.

And I haven't mentioned Nigel Adkins taking on his old team.

What more could you ask for

12pm: Welcome to Sportsmail's coverage of this afternoon's clash between Reading and Southampton.

The teams are very much in…

Reading: Federici, Gunter, Kelly, Mariappa, Morrison, Karacan, Akpan, Guthrie, McAnuff, Robson-Kanu, Le Fondre

Southampton: Boruc, Clyne, Yoshida, Hooiveld, Shaw, Schneiderlin, Cork, Ramirez, S Davis, Rodriguez, Lambert

Jump for joy: Jason Puncheon's strike helped Southampton to a 1-0 win over Reading in December

Jump for joy: Jason Puncheon's strike helped Southampton to a 1-0 win over Reading in December

Brian McDermott sacked by Reading – players informed by text message – Roberto Di Matteo emerges as favourite

Reading callously sack McDermott…and send the players a group text message to let them know with Di Matteo emerging as the firm favourite to replace him

By
Sami Mokbel and Sam Cunningham

PUBLISHED:

22:47 GMT, 11 March 2013

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UPDATED:

23:57 GMT, 11 March 2013

Reading's shocked players learned boss Brian McDermott had been sacked yesterday when they all received a round-robin text message from the club.

A core group of senior players were said to be baffled and angered by the treatment of the manager who led them into the Premier League just 10 months ago, as last night former Swindon manager Paolo Di Canio emerged as an early contender to replace McDermott.

Former Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo has emerged as the leading candidate for the vacant position with large stakes placed on the Italian returning to English football at the Madejski Stadium.

*Scroll down to watch highlights of McDermott's final match in charge

Sacked: McDermott guided Reading to the npower Championship title last season

Sacked: McDermott guided Reading to the npower Championship title last season

The bottom six of the Premier League

The bottom six of the Premier League

Striker Jason Roberts said: ‘He’s a
football man and a good man and I just think at this moment in time we
take stock of what he has achieved and place on record our thanks.’

McDermott, 51, had been at the club
for nearly 13 years, first as Under 19 and reserve manager, then chief
scout before taking charge of the first team, and sent texts to friends
saying he was ‘devastated’ by the decision.

The Royals’ billionaire owner,
Russian Anton Zingarevich, took the decision after Saturday’s 2-1 home
defeat by Aston Villa, which left the club off the foot of the table on
goal difference.

Leading contender: Former Swindon manager Paolo Di Canio was spotted at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday and is the bookies favourite for the job

Leading contender: Former Swindon manager Paolo Di Canio was spotted at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday and is the bookies favourite for the job

Ruthless: Zingarevich (left) showed no quarter in sacking McDermott

Ruthless: Zingarevich (left) showed no quarter in sacking McDermott

The sacking was confirmed by a club
statement put out just minutes after the players all received the text —
which also ordered them not to speak to the media and said any comments
on Twitter should be pre-approved by club officials.

That didn’t stop Roberts talking,
while Noel Hunt tweeted: ‘Want to say thanks to Brian for everything he
did for me especially. He’s been a great manager, man and friend to me
and will be missed!’

Famous night: Shane Long scores for Reading against Liverpool at Anfield in 2010

Famous night: Shane Long scores for Reading against Liverpool at Anfield in 2010

Taking the applause: Shane Long salutes the Reading fans after the win

Taking the applause: Shane Long salutes the Reading fans after the win

Di Canio was installed as the
bookies’ favourite for the job after he was spotted at the Madejski
watching Saturday’s game (above) but Di Matteo could be offered the job tomorrow.

Former Russia boss Dick Advocaat,
currently in charge of PSV in Holland, is also believed to be on the
wishlist as Zingarevich aims to name a replacement before Saturday’s
trip to Manchester United.

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LIVE: Newcastle v Chelsea, Arsenal v Stoke, Everton v Aston Villa, West Ham v Swansea, Reading v Sunderland, Wigan v Southampton

PREMIER LEAGUE LIVE: Follow the action from around the grounds as it happens

By
Dan Ripley

PUBLISHED:

04:00 GMT, 2 February 2013

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UPDATED:

14:18 GMT, 2 February 2013

Live scores (3pm)

Click here for the live goals as they go in

Arsenal v Stoke

Everton v Aston Villa

Newcastle v Chelsea

Reading v Sunderland

West Ham v Swansea

Wigan v Southampton

Click here for the live Premier League table

All the latest from the Championship

All the latest from League One

All the latest from League Two

All the latest from the SPL

Follow Sportsmail's coverage of the Barclays Premier League as Newcastle host Chelsea in one of six games kicking off at 3pm.

Arsenal will hope to put pressure on those above them in the table for a Champions League spot when they host Stoke, including Everton who welcome struggling Aston Villa.

Reading will hope their late heroics against Chelsea midweek can spur them on to three points against Sunderland at the Madejski Stadium.

West Ham bid to end a run of six games without a win when they take on Swansea, while Wigan and Southampton hope to boost their respective top flight survival hopes when they clash at the DW Stadium.

Send me your thoughts on the action at [email protected] or contact me on Twitter @Ripinho.

14.10: Also worth a few minutes of your time before kick-off at 3pm is the latest column from Sportsmail's Martin Samuel, who answered back to YOUR responses surrounding Chelsea's Eden Hazard and the ball boy/teenager.

14.05: QPR were the first team to field their deadline day signings. And you can see how Chris Samba and Andros Townsend are fairing on their debuts for the Hoops by clicking here to follow our live coverage of QPR v Norwich with Alex Horlock. We are into the second half at Loftus Road.

14.00: Afternoon folks. You may have noticed that all of the matches over the next two days are the reverse fixtures from the second weekend of the season.

Since then we've seen the closure of two transfer windows so if your team has not signed that holding midfielder or star striker that you badly needed even back in the summer then that's too bad.

If your side was busy up until the 11pm deadline on Thursday then this is the first chance to see the potential deadline day stars that could just save your season. Either way today's team news is coming up.

Gunning for three points: Arsenal, Everton, West Ham and Chelsea are in action from 3pm

Gunning for three points: Arsenal, Everton, West Ham and Chelsea are in action from 3pm

Gylfi Sigurdsson bid failed – Reading boss Brian McDermott

McDermott reveals failed deadline day move for Spurs midfielder Sigurdsson

By
David Kent

PUBLISHED:

12:38 GMT, 1 February 2013

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UPDATED:

19:00 GMT, 1 February 2013


Old boy: Gylfi Sigurdsson was a former Royals star

Old boy: Gylfi Sigurdsson was a former Royals star

Reading manager Brian McDermott failed in an attempt to sign Tottenham midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson on transfer deadline day.

The Iceland international started his professional career with the Royals before moving to Hoffenheim in 2010 after impressing at the Madejski Stadium.

His stock continued to rise and after an impressive loan spell with Swansea last season, Tottenham signed him on a permanent deal in the summer but McDermott did his best to get him back in a blue and white shirt before the transfer deadline passed last night.

'We tried to bring him back. We had spoken to Spurs and we made three offers,' said McDermott, giving away that it was in fact Sigurdsson and not Blackpool's Tom Ince that his club were planning on paying a club-record fee for.

'I thought at one stage we had a real chance of doing a deal, but unfortunately, we couldn't manage to do it.

'Gylfi is a Tottenham player, but we've known him since he was 12-13 years old and it would have been great to bring him back.'

Tottenham boss Andrew Villas-Boas said Sigurdsson was happy to stay and fight for his place at White Hart Lane.

He said: 'Yeah obviously he’s a player that means a lot to Reading, from their academy. He’s a player that Brian appreciates and probably could have been a big boost for them. But he’s a player that we rate very highly, we brought him here after his amazing contribution for Swansea last year and he’s a player that we have high expectations for.

'Probably this season at the moment is not going to the level that he wants, but obviously the step is much more difficult than it was at Swansea last year. But he's a player that we believe a lot in, an d in his future here. We couldn’t allow him to leave.’

‘Players are happy when they play more but without disrespecting Reading, I think the ambitions for Tottenham are higher and I think the player appreciates that he has to overcome this tough environment where he lives – the competition that he faces to be in the team. And I think that’s what makes a player evolve in any circumstance.'

McDermott revealed on Tuesday that he
had lodged a bid for Ince, one of the most sought-after players in the
country, while he also signed Sheffield United striker Nick Blackman.

Jack Collison says West Ham are looking up the table not down

Collison says West Ham are looking up the table and not thinking about a relegation scrap

By
Laurie Whitwell

PUBLISHED:

00:10 GMT, 1 January 2013

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UPDATED:

00:10 GMT, 1 January 2013

Jack Collison says West Ham are still targeting a top-half finish despite a recent slide down the table.

Three defeats in four games mean the club are only six points above the relegation places but the midfielder, who returned from six months out with a knee injury in the 1-0 loss to Reading, believes that as players come back to fitness results will pick up.

The Welsh international played 36 minutes at the Madejski and Ricardo Vaz Te also returned after a lengthy lay-off to provide manager Sam Allardyce with a boost.

Looking up: Jack Collison says West Ham are eying a top half finish

Looking up: Jack Collison says West Ham are eying a top half finish

'It is all about getting games under my belt now and just concentrating on getting fitter and fitter,’ Collison told the club’s official website. ‘Obviously for me personally this season was not what I wanted, with the injury, but full credit to the boys, who have been fantastic. What we want to do now is kick on and enjoy an equally good second half of the season.’

West Ham play Norwich at Upton Park today (New Year’s Day) and Collison believes the opposition provide a blueprint for success.

Missing out: West Ham lost to relegation threatened Reading last time out

Missing out: West Ham lost to relegation threatened Reading last time out

He said: 'We can look at what Norwich did last season. They had got promoted the year before and stayed up. As a promoted side ourselves this year, we want to do that and more and finish in a good place.

'I am sure it will be a cracking game to start the New Year off, but the most important thing for us is getting the points. Myself and Vaz have returned and I know there are a few of the other injured boys not too far away.

'Our form and results since August mean we have given ourselves a chance to be around the top half of the table and we want to make sure that stays that way. We have targets and over the next three or four games we will be looking to meet those targets so we can push on.’

Reading 1 West Ham 0 – match report

Reading 1 West Ham 0: Pogrebnyak's early strike is enough as Royals earn three crucial points in relegation battle

|

UPDATED:

17:04 GMT, 29 December 2012

Pavel Pogrebnyak struck his third league goal for Reading to give Brian McDermott's side their second Barclays Premier League win of the season at the expense of West Ham.

The Royals had halted a run of seven defeats with a draw at home to Swansea on Boxing Day and went one better against a poor Hammers side, moving three points clear of bottom club QPR in the process.

McDermott had said before the game that his players would do whatever they had to do to start picking up victories.

Celebration time: Pavel Pogrebnyak marks his goal after five minutes which gave Reading the lead at the Madejski Stadium

Celebration time: Pavel Pogrebnyak marks his goal after five minutes which gave Reading the lead at the Madejski Stadium

MATCH FACTS

Reading: Federici, Gunter, Pearce, Mariappa, Harte, Karacan, Leigertwood, McAnuff, Kebe (Robson-Kanu 74), Guthrie (Hunt 64), Pogrebnyak

Subs not used: Taylor, Morrison, Cummings, Tabb, Le Fondre

Goal: Pogrebnyak 5

Bookings: Pogrebnyak, Pearce, Harte

West Ham United: Jaaskelainen, Reid, Tomkins, O'Brien, Collins, Nolan, Jarvis, Taylor (Collison 53), Noble (Maiga 78), O'Neil (Vaz Te 66), Cole

Subs not used: Spiegel, Demel, Spence, Diarra

Bookings: Collins, Noble, Nolan, Tomkins

Referee: Michael Oliver

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE LATEST PREMIER LEAGUE TABLE, FIXTURES AND RESULTS

As it turns out they had to do almost
nothing to beat a lacklustre West Ham as James Collins presented
Pogrebnyak with a late Christmas gift.

The Hammers defender looked to play a
simple ball back to goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen and Pogrebnyak stole
in to slot past the Finn and put Reading ahead with just five minutes on
the clock.

Royals' winger Jimmy Kebe was causing
problems down the right flank early on and a 14th minute cut-back almost
found Pogrebnyak but was well cleared.

Two minutes later the same duo combined well on the edge of the area but Kebe's final ball drifted behind for a goal-kick.

West Ham struggled to make an
impression in attack but skipper Kevin Nolan released Matt Taylor just
before the half-hour mark, but his cross was collected by Reading
goalkeeper Adam Federici.

A few tough tackles started flying in
as the first half progressed with Pogrebnyak joining West Ham's Mark
Noble in referee Michael Oliver's notebook for a foul on Winston Reid.

The hosts then gifted West Ham a
half-chance in the final seconds of the first half as they dallied on
the ball outside their own penalty area.

Nolan pounced and found Gary O'Neil, but he appeared to be caught in two minds and his final ball was neither a shot or a cross.

Cool finish: Pavel Pogrebnyak opens the scoring for Reading following a poor back pass by West Ham's James Collins

Cool finish: Pavel Pogrebnyak opens the scoring for Reading following a poor back pass by West Ham's James Collins

Dejection: West Ham defender James Collins after his weak backpass gifted Reading's Pogrebnyak the opening goal on five minutes

Dejection: West Ham defender James Collins after his weak backpass gifted Reading's Pogrebnyak the opening goal on five minutes

Pogrebnyak had the ball in the back of
the net again five minutes after the restart but was flagged offside
after latching onto a through ball from Mikele Leigertwood.

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce introduced
Jack Collison in place of the ineffectual Taylor with 54 minutes gone
with the Wales international making only his second appearance since
returning from a career-threatening knee injury.

The 24-year-old almost drew the
visitors level 10 minutes later but his low shot was parried by Federici
with no West Ham player able to tap home the rebound.

Although the Hammers were starting to
finally find their feet in the game they almost fell further behind when
Jem Karacan's thunderous effort was tipped onto the bar by Jaaskelainen
with Kebe firing the rebound into the crowd.

Scrap: West Ham's Winston Reid (left) and Reading's Pavel Pogrebnyak battle for the ball

Scrap: West Ham's Winston Reid (left) and Reading's Pavel Pogrebnyak battle for the ball

Eyes on the ball: Gary O'Neill (right) and Danny Guthrie keep a close watch

Eyes on the ball: Gary O'Neill (right) and Danny Guthrie keep a close watch

Ricardo Vaz Te was the next player to
be thrown on by Allardyce with the Portuguese returning to first-team
action for the first time since dislocating a shoulder in early October.

The winger had impressed earlier in
the campaign and flashed a cross in with 10 minutes remaining that was
hacked clear by Chris Gunter in front of the sliding Modibo Maiga.

Vaz Te was involved again moments
later as he missed West Ham's best opening of the game, inexplicably
heading Matt Jarvis' cross wide of the goal from four yards out.

How did he miss West Ham's Ricardo Vaz Te (bottom left) reacts with incredulity after missing an easy header

How did he miss West Ham's Ricardo Vaz Te (bottom left) reacts with incredulity after missing an easy header

Firm grip: Winston Reid with his arm around Reading's Jimmy Kebe

Firm grip: Winston Reid with his arm around Reading's Jimmy Kebe

Touchline battle: Sam Allardyce implores his West Ham players on, while Brian McDermott keeps a close check on proceedings

Touchline battle: Sam Allardyce implores his West Ham players on, while Brian McDermott keeps a close check on proceedings

Reading managed to see out the closing
stages to claim what could be a vital three points while West Ham's
lack of away goals again proved their undoing.

The Hammers have only scored five
goals on their travels in the league so far this season and the defeat
leaves them only six points off the bottom three.

Andrey Arshavin wanted by Reading

Arshavin heading to Reading as Royals' Russian owner looks to bolster survival bid

|

UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 26 December 2012

Frozen out: Arshavin

Frozen out: Arshavin

Arsenal outcast Andrey Arshavin is close to sealing a January move to relegation-threatened Reading.

The Gunners signed him for 15million in 2009 but he has held talks over a switch to the Madejski Stadium, where billionaire Russian owner Anton Zingarevich wants the 31-year-old – a superstar in their homeland – to bolster his struggling squad.

Arsenal are listening to offers for Arshavin, out of contract at the end of the season, as they try to shift his 85,000-a-week contract off the wage bill.

Arsenal, who are willing to take a hefty loss on the forward, could offload him for as little as 2m. Sources close to Arshavin insist he is taking the offer seriously, given his frustration at Arsenal and the chance to link up with compatriot Zingarevich.

Reading have made an informal offer for Arshavin, who has been told he can leave if he can find the right deal for him and Arsenal straight away. His old club Zenit St Petersburg are keen, as are Fulham.

Marouane Chamakh, on 60,000 a week, is the other big earner Arsenal will try to off-load in January. West Ham and Norwich are keen.

Reading 0 Swansea 0 match report

Reading 0 Swansea 0: Royals fail to make up ground in bid to drag themselves out of the drop zone

PUBLISHED:

16:52 GMT, 26 December 2012

|

UPDATED:

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

Battle: Swansea captain Ashley Williams holds off Jobi McAnuff

Match facts

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.
Booked: Tiendalli.

Att: 24,050

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
net.

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

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
corner.

That's mine: Danny Guthrie and Ki Sung-Yueng bid for the ball in the bore draw

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

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

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

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

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.

Brian McDermott says Reading can upset Christmas trend and avoid relegation

McDermott backing rock-bottom Reading to beat history and avoid the drop

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 25 December 2012

Brian McDermott is ignoring that old statistic about the fate awaiting the Premier League's bottom club at Christmas, and will instead focus on some altogether more positive facts and figures to kickstart Reading's bid for survival.

West Brom remain the only team in the Premier League era to stay up after being in Reading's current position, but McDermott has told his players to use their success in winning promotion against all the odds last season as a source of inspiration.

They were 16th in the Championship table in November, and trailed pacesetters Southampton and West Ham by huge margins before winning 15 of the last 17 games to finish top of the table.

We can do it: Brian McDermott says Reading can still survive

We can do it: Brian McDermott says Reading can still survive

Another Herculean effort is required in the second half of this season after Reading suffered a seventh successive defeat at Manchester City on Saturday. But McDermott remains optimistic they can do it again as he prepares to face Swansea at the Madejski Stadium on Boxing Day.

Asked about the gloomy Christmas statistic, he replied: 'West Brom have done it, so it is doable.

'My view on that is that if you're 20 points off the lead, which we were at one point last season, and then go and win it I'm not sure anyone has done that before.

'It's a decent stat. We were loads and loads of points behind West Ham and Southampton and still managed to win the league. So it shows what this team can do.

Foul Barry clambered over Nicky Shorey as he scored for City

Foul Barry clambered over Nicky Shorey as he scored for City

Record of Premier League's bottom club at Christmas

Record of Premier League's bottom club at Christmas

'Our players are winners. They were
champions last season in the Championship. The year before that they got
to the Playoff Final. The year before we were in a relegation spot and
won loads of games.

'What
I've found with our players is that they are incredibly resilient. What
I've found about myself is that I'm incredibly resilient.' McDermott and
his players must pick themselves up after Gareth Barry broke their
hearts with a winner in the second minute of added time at the Etihad
Stadium.

Reading were furious that referee Mike Dean did not rule the goal out for a push on Nicky Shorey.

But once the anger subsided, McDermott was able to draw some positives from a fine performance against the Premier League champions.

'We're in a results business, ' he added. 'We're confident with 20 games to go that if we play like that we can get results.

'I've not had one in the last seven games but, results wise, my record in the last two-and-a-half years has been good.'