Royals held by Swans
The Royals were held to a goalless draw by Swansea City in the Boxing Day clash at Madejski Stadium.
Premier League top scorer Michu squandered the best chance of an uneventful opening half, and the game only really livened up in the last half hour of the second period.
Federici twice saved well from Dyer and Ki Sung-Yueng, before Adam Le Fondre saw a goal ruled out for handball - and Reading's number 9 was denied again by a brilliant goalline clearance from Flores.
Reading: Federici; Gunter, Harte, Mariappa, Pearce; Karacan, Leigertwood, Kebe, McAnuff (Robson-Kanu 61); Guthrie; Pogrebnyak (Le Fondre 61)
Booked: Pogrebnyak, Le Fondre
Subs: Taylor, Cummings, Morrison, Tabb, Hunt
Swansea: Vorm, Tiendalli, Davies, Flores, Williams (c); Britton, Ki, Michu (Shechter 81); Dyer, Routledge, Moore (De Guzman 68)
Subs: Tremmel, Bartley, Monk, Agustien, Graham
Attendance: 24,050 (2,126)
Referee: Mr M Jones
The Royals were screaming for a penalty inside the first three minutes after a superb tackle from Pavel Pogrebnyak robbed the Swans of possession inside their own half, before Guthrie scuttled into the box – only to be bundled over by Leon Britton. Referee Mike Jones waved play on.
Laudrup’s men responded – the prolific Michu dug a shot out from under his feet, which dipped narrowly over Federici’s crossbar.
Kebe sliced Alex Pearce’s cushioned header way over the bar from distance moments later, in a opening half hour largely short of incident.
That lull was almost brought to a disastrous end for the home side, as Chris Gunter misjudged a chested pass back to Federici – allowing Michu to nip in, though the Spaniard good only flick over the bar.
A parade of efforts from distance were the only efforts of note in the run up to the break, and nothing separated the two sides at half time.
The second period began in the same fashion, with grit and determination the order of the day.
McAnuff’s snapshot was deflected wide after Guthrie’s cutback was not properly cleared by the visitors’ backline, and Harte’s resulting corner flew juts across goal.
Brian McDermott injected some fresh blood on the hour mark, with Hal Robson-Kanu and Adam Le Fondre replacing McAnuff and Pogrebnyak.
The tempo seemed to quicken, with the Royals pushing forward and raising the noise levels at Madejski Stadium – though Swansea it was who had a golden chance after 67 minutes, as Dyer’s stooping header was well saved by Federici.
The Aussie stopper was on fine form when called upon, and did brilliantly to hold onto Ki Sung-Yueng’s fizzing drive moments later, with a number of red shirts ready to pounce on any rebound.
Royals fans thought their side were in front in the 74th minute, but Le Fondre was adjudged to have handled Harte’s free-kick into the net – and picked up a booking for his troubles.
McDermott’s men continued to make inroads, 85 minutes were on the clock as Vorm’s half hearted punch again saw Alfie in on the action – but this time the forward’s legal volley was brilliantly cleared off the line by Flores.