An enthralling encounter between Sunderland and Reading ended 2-2 at Madejski Stadium, with Yann Kermorgant's late header equalising for the Royals.
- Liam Kelly scores first half penalty for the Royals
- McNair scores screamer to equalise in the second half
- Cattermole heads Sunderland in front mid-way through second period
- Yann Kermorgant comes off the bench to equalise
The Royals started with just one change from the midweek clash against Fulham, with John Swift replacing the suspended Leandro Bacuna.
Sunderland, in desperate need of points, started on the front foot in RG2 - controlling possession early on and trying to limit the space the Royals had available to them.
It was a cagey affair to start with, perhaps predictably given the magnitude of the game, but the visitors had the first chance after the ball was sprayed long to Ashley Fletcher on the right, he cut back for Callum McManaman to strike, but it trickled wide of Vito Mannone's goal.
Fletcher then beat the offside trap to chase a long ball, with Mannone scampering off his line to clear outside his area.
However, the Royals were awarded a penalty after Sone Aluko drew a save from Lee Camp, which Jón Daði Böðvarsson followed up and was brought down by the goalkeeper, with referee Stephen Martin pointing to the spot.
Chants of 'He's one of our own' rang around Madejski Stadium as Liam Kelly stepped up to take the penalty. Camp went the right way, but Kelly buried the spot kick to put the Royals ahead.
He almost doubled the advantage by forcing a flying save from Camp two minutes later, driving forward and shooting from distance in now-trademark style. Camp got a hand to it as he dived to his right, before the visitors broke up the other end.
Fletcher's shot from 15 yards was only stopped by the woodwork, and went into the path of Callum McManaman to strike, but Liam Moore was there on the line to head away - earning a standing ovation from the Eamonn Dolan Stand for that intervention.
Sunderland were pushing for a quick equaliser, getting a shot off again from Fletcher which was blocked by Ilori, which was returned into the area once more. The Royals couldn't clear their lines and McGeady struck sweetly - with Mannone getting down well to make a smart save.
Sunderland were appealing for a penalty of their own as McManaman went down in the area under the challenge of Edwards - nothing given by the referee.
A ball into the area from McGeady was brought down by McManaman soon after, he dropped a shoulder and let fly inside the area, with his effort clearing the bar and the Royals preserved their lead.
Half time | Reading 1-0 Sunderland
Barely 90 seconds into the second half, the visitors were level. Paddy McNair was in space 30 yards out for Sunderland, and rifled a strike into the corner of the net as Reading supporters were stunned into a brief silence.
Sunderland were pressing to take the lead while the Royals were on the back foot, McGeady looped a ball in towards Lee Cattermole, who headed off balance and over the bar.
John Swift had the ball in the net for the Royals after tapping in a Mo Barrow square ball, but the flag was already up against the Gambian in the build-up.
Paul Clement's side broke forward again and Swift slid through Aluko at a tight angle, he lofted his effort over Camp but it nestled on the roof of the net.
Mid-way through the second half, Sunderland turned the game on its head. A free-kick from McGeady was guided into the area and Cattermole rose up to nod into the corner - despite Mannone getting a hand to it.
Yann Kermorgant was introduced for Kelly and the Royals threw men forward to salvage an equaliser after going behind.
The Frenchman made his impact known just eight minutes after coming on by getting the equaliser. Swift twisted and spread the ball out to Gunter on the right, who crossed for Kermorgant to jump and head into the bottom corner and square proceedings - setting up a grandstand finish in RG2.
Kermorgant fancied his chances at a carbon copy of his goal when Gunter teed up once more for the striker, but his header drifted wide of the target.
Kermorgant was in the thick of the action again heading into stoppage time, receiving a square ball from Blackett, firing left-footed and drawing a top-class save from Camp to keep it out.
The resulting corner was headed towards Barrow at the far post, but he couldn't get the vital touch to take it over the line.
It was an incredible match with gilt-edged chances at both ends, but it was all square at the end of the 90 minutes.
Full time | Reading 2-2 Sunderland
Reading: Mannone, Gunter (c), Richards (Blackett 65), Moore, Ilori, Edwards, Swift, Kelly (Kermorgant 71), Barrow, Aluko, Böðvarsson.
Subs: Jaakkola, Van den Berg, Clement, Martin, Rinomhota.
Goals: Kelly 20 (P), Kermorgant 79
Sunderland: Camp, Oviedo (Clarke-Salter 46), Wilson, McNair, Kone, Love, Cattermole, McManaman (Asoro 75), McGeady, Honeyman (Maja 81), Fletcher.
Subs: Stryjek, LuaLua, Robson, Ejaria.
Goals: McNair 47, Cattermole 66
Referee: Mr S Martin
Attendance: 17,348 (1,412 away)