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16:56 1th October 2011

Report: Royals draw with 'Boro

Reading 0
Middlesbrough 0

The Royals drew with Middlesbrough at Madejski Stadium this Saturday afternoon, and it was a welcome point against Tony Mowbray's unbeaten side.

Reading were on top in the first half, and came close on a few occasions but didn't have what you could call a golden opportunity.

'Boro finished strongly - Adam Federici made some excellent saves, and the visitors hit the woodwork twice so a point was a decent return for Brian McDermott's men and extends our unbeaten run to four League games.

Reading (4-4-2): Federici; Cummings, Mills, Gorkss, Pearce; Leigertwood, Tabb, McAnuff (c), Robson-Kanu (Manset 74); Church (Hunt 82), Le Fondre
Subs: McCarthy, Harte, Karacan

Middlesbrough (4-4-2): Ikeme; Hoyte (Arca 65), McMahon, Bates (c), Williams; Robson, Bailey, McManus, Haroun (Thomson 58); McDonald (Tchuimeni-Nimely 80), Emnes
Subs: Martin, Zemmama
Booked: McMahon (foul 58)

Attendance: 17,418 (1,435 away)

Ref: A Taylor

Starting XI team news
Brian McDermott made one change to the side that came from behind to beat Bristol City in midweek - Hal Robson-Kanu earning a start on the left wing as Noel Hunt is named as a substitute. Jobi McAnuff switched to the right flank, while Ian Harte was on the bench ahead of Brynjar Gunnarsson. Jimmy Kebe remained sidelined through injury.

First half
Inside the first few minutes Reading looked to assert their authority on the game, and got a good number of balls into the box. Simon Church was close on a couple of occasions inside those early stages, and Hal Robson-Kanu tried his luck but arrowed his shot wide.

Boro then had a good spell of possession, but we kept them at arm's length and the unbeaten visitors did not create a chance in that period.

The game then quickly swung in Reading's favour once again, and Church was close wth a swiveled shot on his left foot.

Then Jobi McAnuff was inches away from supplying Church with a wonderful ball, and Adam Le Fondre's cross was desperately close to giving the Welshman the opener. Jay Tabb and Le Fondre then went relatively close with headers but Carl Ikeme was untroubled by either.

'Boro possession was rare at this stage, but when they did get it they looked to use their goal threat, and Adam Federici made a superb double save, first denying Scott McDonald's low shot and then saving Marvin Emnes' follow-up.

Good link play between Tabb and Church saw the striker get a shot away on his left foot but Stephen McManus defended well, and Federici then saved comfortably from Emnes in the last goalmouth action of the half.

Second half
Kaspars Gorkss had to defend well from Tony McMahon's cross on 49 minutes, and showed good awareness to head away from danger with Boro players closing in. The game then entered a quiet phase, and for a good 20 minutes the two sides cancelled each other out.

Reading's supporters were then on their feet when Church was given offside as he went clear on goal, and it looked very tight indeed. After benefitting from a tight call against Albert Adomah at Bristol City in midweek, maybe this was a case of things evening themselves out.

Boro nearly capitalised seconds later as Barry Robson showed good feet inside the box, and even though he had a good shooting opportunity he squared to McDonald, who was perhaps caught off guard and spurned a great chance.

Church then claimed handball inside the area by a 'Boro defender, but it did not look intentional as it hit the player at great pace, if indeed it did hit his hand. From the corner, Alex Pearce thundered towards the cross but headed well off target.

'Boro then began to up the ante, and Robson gained possession ahead of our defenders to get in an excellent cross from the right. Emnes was there and should have done better than to see his header hit the upright and go wide.

The visitors then hit the woodwork again, this time Robson hitting an excellent low drive from 25 yards. As it came back off the post Federici made a great save from sub Alex Tchuimeni-Nimely, but he was well offside anyway.

Le Fondre then put pressure on the opposition backline to give himself a shot at goal, and he did well to get a shot away but a defender was on hand to block his goalbound strike.

Into injury time Reading had to defend a corner then free kick, and that proved the last action of note - overall probably a decent result for both teams.

    Data provided by Press Association