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17:00 10th April 2010

Report: Cardiff hang on for point

Cardiff 0
Reading 0

Reading were very unfortunate to only come away from Cardiff with just a point after being the better side against the fourth-placed Bluebirds this Saturday afternoon.

Simon Church hit the bar in the second half as we dominated after the break, and on countless occasions we got into good positions in the final third but Cardiff always seemed to get a vital interception at the last moment.

The first 45 saw a fairly even contest, but Reading were much the better team after the interval and City will be far happier with the final score.

We showed real attacking intent as the game went on, but special mention must also go to our rock solid defence, with Alex Pearce and Zurab Khizanishvili partnering very well on this their first ever game together.

Last but by no means least, this result means Brian McDermott and his players are mathematically safe in the Coca-Cola Championship, and considering our position not too long ago that is a very noteworthy achievement with five games still remaining this season.

Cardiff (4-4-2): Marshall; McNaughton, Kennedy, Blake, Gerrard; Ledley (Wildig 69), McPhail, Etuhu (Burke 69), Whittingham; Bothroyd (c), Chopra (McCormack HT)
Subs: Enckelman, Burke, Quinn, Matthews, Feeney

Reading (4-2-3-1): Federici; Griffin, Bertrand, Khizanishvili, Pearce; Howard (c), Tabb (Rasiak 78); McAnuff, Kebe, Sigurdsson; Long (Church 64)
Subs: Hamer, Gunnarsson, Karacan, Henry, Robson-Kanu
Booked: Pearce (foul 51)

Attendance: 21,248

Ref: A Bates

Team news
Reading made four changes from Monday's game with Coventry and we reverted to a 4-2-3-1 formation. Shane Long, Brian Howard, Alex Pearce and Gylfi Sigurdsson came in for Simon Church, Grzegorz Rasiak, Jem Karacan and the suspended Matt Mills. Howard was named captain for the first time, while Mills was in attendance at the game to support his teammates and watched the game with our travelling supporters in the away end.

First half
The first 45 minutes was a tight affair, with neither side really stamping their authority on proceedings.

Cardiff threatened with more regularity, and Stephen McPhail had a decent chance following a tenth minute free kick, but after the ball broke to him he could only shoot straight at Adam Federici.

On the half hour Jay Bothroyd got clear down the right, and Andy Griffin did well in the middle to prevent the League's top scorer Peter Whittingham from turning home his cross.

As the half drew to a close Federici had to make a good low save following Kelvin Etuhu's run and shot.

Second half
Reading came out for the second half in a more confident manner, and began to play the more incisive football.

Four minutes into the half skipper Brian Howard unleashed an excellent effort from 25 yards, but City 'keeper David Marshall was just able to watch it over his crossbar.

Gylfi Sigurdsson then had a good sight of goal and it took excellent City defending to get a block in as he sidefooted goalwards from eight yards after Ryan Bertrand's cross.

We were in the ascendancy, and Sigurdsson then hit a good free kick from 25 yards but Marshall was able to palm it away. City broke quickly, and Bothroyd got into a good position but Federici saved once more.

Shane Long's persistence then almost created a chance for Sigurdsson inside the area but Cardiff were able to get bodies back and defend.

We then hit the bar as sub Simon Church flicked Sigurdsson's corner onto the woodwork, and it was also unfortunate that the loose ball fell to a blue shirt as we were waiting to pounce after it seemed to hit both post and bar.

The home crowd were getting more restless as we began to dominate proceedings, and every time we went forward we looked like creating an opening.

Church had a good chance when put inside the area, but it was just a shame that he had delayed his run, fearing he would be caught offside. This made the angle tighter and Marshall was out to smother at his feet.

We were doing everything we could to win the game, and Grzegorz Rasiak came on to bolster our forward line.

With six minutes to go City made a rare foray forward, but Alex Pearce was in exactly the right place to keep Bothroyd at bay. Pearce had enjoyed a good battle with the Bluebirds' captain, and not too often did Bothroyd get the better of him, or Pearce's partner Zurab Khizanishvili.

As we entered injury time the ball came to Sigurdsson on the edge of the box but it just wouldn't open up for one of his trademark shots and City were hanging on.

It then fell for Howard on the edge but his effort was blocked, and as the ball ran loose it so nearly dropped for Sigurdsson but a Cardiff defender was on hand.

So it ended 0-0 and it was unfortunate for Reading because we were the side who looked far more likely to win it.

This result, combined with Sheffield Wednesday's defeat at Middledbrough, means Brian McDermott and his players are mathematically safe in the Coca-Cola Championship, and considering our position not too long ago that is a very noteworthy achievement with five games still remaining this season - so credit to our squad and staff.

    Data provided by Press Association