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16:57 11th December 2010

Report: Royals held by Sky Blues

Reading 0
Coventry 0

The Royals were held 0-0 by fifth-placed Coventry City in a battling affair at Madejski Stadium.

City came into the game having won their previous three matches without conceding a goal, and it was Reading who dominated the majority of proceedings, Shane Long hitting the post, Jem Karacan having an effort cleared off the line and Long three times seeing efforts go just a couple of feet past the upright.

Marlon King was the visitors' only real threat, and he hit the post in the first half with a good strike from outside the box. We defended well throughout, and earned a second successive clean sheet.

Reading enjoyed the majority of the play, and although not at their most fluent, were very close to taking all three points but had to settle for a fifth straight draw. City are a dogged side and it was easy to see why they have not lost many games this season.

Reading (4-4-2): Federici; Griffin, Harte, Mills (c), Pearce; Karacan (Robson-Kanu 69), Leigertwood, Kebe (Tabb 84), McAnuff; Hunt (Church 69), Long
Subs: McCarthy, Cummings, Khizanishvili, Howard

Coventry (4-4-2): Westwood; Keogh, Wood, Cameron, McPake; Carsley (c), Gunnarsson (Clarke 88), Doyle, McSheffrey; King, Platt
Subs: Cranie, Ireland, Bell, Thomas, Jutkiewicz, Eastwood
Booked: McPake (foul 3), Carsley (foul 23), McSheffrey (foul 64), Wood (handball 73)

Attendance: 14,029 (1,251 away)

Starting XI team news
The Royals made two changes to their starting XI, bringing in Jimmy Kebe for Simon Church and Matt Mills for Zurab Khizanishvili. Mills also took the captain's armband.

Click here to see the teamsheet from the game.

It was Reading who created the game's first chance, Jobi McAnuff doing brilliantly on the left wing, skipping inside two men and delivering a great cross that found Shane Long, but he guided it wide of the post.

Long was then inches away from a fabulous goal, a move brilliantly started by Andy Griffin and then into McAnuff. The winger laid off superbly on the chest, and Long did superbly to work space but his shot was narrowly wide - so unlucky.

He was then desperately unfortunate on 19 minutes, Jimmy Kebe getting in another great cross that Long turned onto the post with a deft flick. Down the other end, City had a first strike at goal but Adam Federici held Aron Gunnarsson's shot well.

Our wingers were on fire, and more great wide play, this time from McAnuff, saw him hang up a cross for Long but it was just too high and his effort dropped onto the top of the net.

City's Marlon King then hit the post with a good effort from the edge of the box, and the visitors began to settle for the next ten minutes or so.

As half time drew close, Noel Hunt did well to get in down the right and advance into the area. He could have shot, but was delayed by a defender; Long turning the ball into the mixer but Reading not having a man in the right place to turn home.

Second half
City frontman King was their biggest threat, and he did well to get away from Matt Mills nine minutes after the restart but our skipper was aided well by partner Alex Pearce and the pair did enough to block the shot.

Reading looked to up the ante again, and came so close to an opener; having an effort cleared off the line. Hunt did very well to work a shooting opportunity but Keiren Westwood was out well to deny him. It looped up for Jem Karacan, who headed goalwards but a defender was on hand to clear on the line; unlucky for Brian McDermott's side.

Chances were at a premium, and King claimed a penalty midway through the half but his appeal was rightly waved away.

With opportunities hard to come by, Brian McDermott made a double substitution, Simon Church and Hal Robson-Kanu brought into the action.

City looked happy with a draw and seemed content to run the clock down, while Reading were finding it hard to get their most fluent moves together against a dogged side.

As the game entered the final ten minutes, Long was in the right place to get a good couple of blocks in his own area as City enjoyed a spell of possession.

With five minutes left, Robson-Kanu did brilliantly to stand up a cross for Long, and he did very well to get a head onto it, but it dropped agonisingly wide. Through a couple of City defenders it was not easy for our Irishman and it was desperately close to a goal.

In injury time Adam Federici made a cracking save from a King free kick, and that was the last noteworthy action.

Another draw was of course frustrating, and we certainly came closest to scoring, although it is fair to say it was not our most fluent performance. City are a side well equipped to scrap for results, which is exactly how it proved.

    Data provided by Press Association