Tykes clash ends in stalemateReading had to settle for a point in a scrappy affair against Barnsley at a bitterly cold Madejski Stadium this afternoon, the game ending goalless despite the best efforts of both Jaap Stam and Paul Heckingbottom's men throughout the ninety minutes.
Both had chances to win the points, Marley Watkins denied by the woodwork in the second half, Yann Kermorgant and Danny Williams thwarted by fine Adam Davies saves at the other end. But honours ended even.
Royals boss Jaap Stam made two changes to the side that came from behind to earn a point at Portman Road last weekend, introducing Roy Beerens and George Evans into his eleven in place of the absent Jordon Mutch and substitute John Swift.
The home side started the brighter with the first effort at goal coming from a right-footed hook from Yann Kermorgant, arrowing over the crossbar after Liam Kelly's outswinging corner hadn't been cleared cleanly by the Tykes defence.
Liam Kelly swept a 20 yard shot just over with ten minutes played, then the crafty midfielder was found by a reverse pass from McCleary and Kelly's powerful drive was charged down by the body of Angus MacDonald before Adam Davies could be tested.
At the other end, Barnsley nearly capitalised on the counter attack. Marley Watkins found space in behind the back line and played an early ball into the middle with the outside of his boot, but it flash in front of Tom Bradshaw who couldn't get a touch.
After his heroics in Ipswich, Obita tried to hammer a 25-yard effort towards goal before the half hour mark, but this time he sliced a bouncing ball well wide. Then a ball from the left was cut back to a dangerous position, but no-one read Moore's dummy and Barnsley could clear.
Tykes skipper Marc Roberts headed over from a corner at the other end, then Gethin Jones dragged an effort just wide of the right post. But Kermorgant forced a high save from Davies when he looped a header towards goal after connecting with Obita's floated cross.
And Barnsley were enjoying the latter stages of the half, but the teams went in at 0-0 on a bitterly cold afternoon in Berkshire.
Half-time: Reading 0-0 Barnsley
Jaap Stam brought Lewis Grabban on at the break, replacing Liam Kelly with the Bournemouth loanee. And a couple of minutes after the restart, Paul Heckongbottom made a change too, introducing George Moncur for Scowen.
Bradshaw came within a whisker of stunning the home crowd with a firecracker of a volley that fizzed inched over the crossbar from 20 yards out.
But a cracking save from Davies denied Kermorgant moments later. Gunter delivered a cross from the right which the striker acrobatically volleyed at the target, but Davies was down quickly to his right to parry the shot and MacDonald cleared before Grabban could pounce on the equaliser.
Reading had more zip to their play and McCleary drilled a low effort just wide of the bottom left corner after ten minutes of the second half had played out.
The woodwork came to Reading's rescue soon after though when a hopeful ball into the box fell to the feet of Watkins who scuffed a shot through a crowd and against the base of the left post. Gunter managed to scrap it clear and the Royals survived a scare.
The hosts then came close. McCleary's cut back from the right found Williams to helped it on to the far post where Beerens arrived late, but his low drive from a narrow angle was turned behind for a corner.
Twice Reading came close to the opener within tow minutes. First a neat interchange saw the ball threaded into Gunter's path inside the box, he stumbled as he looked to pull the trigger and appeals for a penalty were waved away as Barnsley hacked it clear.
Then, Grabban floated a deep ball towards Kermorgant who headed it down for Williams bursting onto it six yards out. But again Barnsley survived as the ball bobbled into the arms of Davies.
Hamill spurned a golden opportunity for the visitors moments later, breaking in numbers the ball ran to the feet of the winger but with only Al Habsi to beat he spooned his shot high over the crossbar.
More appeals for a spotkick were ignored when Grabban was barged over in the six yard box, but time was running out on the Royals who had thrown Adrian Popa on for his debut in search of a winner.
In the first of four minutes of injury time a fingertip save from Davies denied Williams from the edge of the area, then Popa's pull back was called back for an offside decision against the Romanian.
But there was to be no last gasp winner and Reading would have to settle for a point.
Full-time: Reading 0-0 Barnsley
Reading: Al-Habsi, Gunter (c), Obita, Moore, Blackett, Evans, Williams, Kelly (Grabban HT) Beerens (Meite 90), McCleary (Popa 82), Kermorgant.
Subs: Jaakkola, Watson, Oxford, Swift.
Yellow: Obita, Gunter
Barnsley: Davies, Jones, Yiadom, Roberts, MacDonald, Scowen (Moncur 48), James, Watkins, Hammill (Kent 89), Williams (Armstrong 67), Bradshaw
Subs: Townsend, Elder, Hedges, Evans.
Yellow: Jones, Armstrong
Att: 16,222 (744 away)