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Reading ended a run of seven consecutive defeats with a goalless draw against Swansea City at the Madejski Stadium. The home side, whose last Barclays Premier League points came on November 17, are still rooted deep in the relegation zone but the point was enough to lift them from the bottom as they were the only one of the three teams there to get a result.
Brian McDermott’s side, who had come so close to earning a draw against Manchester City before Christmas, had several chances to win the match late on, but could not convert one point into three. Adam Le Fondre saw a late volley headed over the bar by Swansea defender Chico Flores and the Reading striker was then booked for directing the ball into the net with his hand.
McDermott gave Danny Guthrie a start, the only change to the side beaten so late at City at the weekend. Reading had conceded nine goals in their last two home games, and they started cautiously. For most of the first half they were content to sit back and allow Swansea to keep possession.
Swansea were comfortable on the ball 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. The Spaniard then turned Adrian Mariappa inside out before stabbing a shot just wide of the near post.
Jimmy Kebe attempted to wrest the momentum from the visitors when he stormed forward from his own half, but a heavy touch from Pavel Pogrebnyak on the edge of the box allowed Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm to scoop up the ball.
Swansea then missed an excellent chance to take the lead. Michu pounced on a Chris Gunter's miscued clearance but somehow poked his shot over the bar from four yards.
Reading showed more urgency in the second half, although Pogrebnyak overstepped the mark when he fouled Dwight Tiendalli to earn a yellow card. The Russian made way almost immediately with Le Fondre taking over up front and Hal Robson-Kanu replacing McAnuff in a double substitution.
Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici was then called into action twice in quick succession. Wayne Routledge picked out Nathan Dyer, whose diving header from eight yards out was well saved by the Australian. He then dealt well with a powerful drive from Ki Sung-yeung following a free-kick.
The home side began to put Swansea under sustained pressure and their 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 referee Mike Jones spotted that the striker had turned the ball in with his arm and booked him.
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 goalbound but Flores stood his ground and headed the ball over his own bar.
Reading manager Brian McDermott: "We need to find a way to get results and today we got a result. We were much more resilient, it is important to move on with a point and we can look forward with confidence to West Ham.
"We have got a point and a clean sheet and we are off the bottom of the table."
Swansea manager Michael Laudrup: "I am satisfied with the performance, not so much the result. We dominated for 75 minutes and we could have won the game. The performance was good.
"His [Michu’s] ankle is twice as big now. We don't know how bad it is. The doctors and the physios say it shouldn't be the ligaments, which is the most important thing. The next question is, 'will he play on Saturday?' I don't know. We will have to wait 24 hours. Hopefully, it is not too bad. It is not a muscle injury but still we have to be careful. He has to be 100 per cent.
"He is one of the top scorers in the league, definitely our top scorer. He has played nearly every match this season. Even if he is the most important player, we have to deal with it [if he is out]. If you rely so much on one or two players it is not good for any team"
|29 Dec 2012||v West Ham (H)|
|01 Jan 2013||v Spurs (A)|
|12 Jan 2013||v West Brom (H)|
|19 Jan 2013||v Newcastle (A)|
|30 Jan 2013||v Chelsea (H)|
|02 Feb 2013||v Sunderland (H)|