For the second time in less than a week, Reading and Cardiff played out a 1-1 draw – this time at the Cardiff City Stadium, as Yakou Méïté’s opener was cancelled out by a Callum Paterson.
A quick, cutting attack for the Royals opened the scoring with less than eight minutes on the clock – but a somewhat fortuitous leveller had the hosts back level.
It was certainly a physical challenge against the Bluebirds – one which the Royals met with heart and desire.
“You’re always gutted when you’re in front in a game but don’t win – but we stood up to the challenge,” said Royals boss Mark Bowen. “It is always a huge physical challenge here, and we’ll have it again on Tuesday when we come back.
“West Brom came here last week and went under. So you have to be brave and put up with direct football and second balls. We did all that. The goal that they scored was about the 20th long throw that they had; Michael Morrison got his head to it first, and unluckily for us it came off the post and back into play and fell to their player.
“We will always strive, and see whether we could have been a bit better when it came to playing our game and when we had possession. Yes, we could have to a certain degree. We’ll take an away point that’s hard earned. But, again, it’s difficult to come away with just one point because you think maybe we should have won it.
“We set ourselves high standards, right across the board. Where we want to go in the table and in every game we play.
“Sometimes we’re judged a bit too harshly – and I’m the players’ biggest critic and I know that. We have a good group here – we’ve come from the bottom three and we’ll keep trying to pick up points. We’ve had two defeats in the last 14 games so we know we’re heading in the right direction.
“We will always judge ourselves harshly because we want to win games. But we are picking up points and moving forward.”
There were some impressive performances throughout the side – special mentions for Tom McIntyre, coming in for his first Championship side since September, and front two Sam Baldock and Yakou Méïté who came back into the starting XI.
"Tom has had a couple of games against Cardiff, and he might get a third on Tuesday," Bowen continued. "That’s what he does: he has a huge heart and stands up to the challenge.
"Yakou came in too and played as part of the two up front alongside Sam – they both put a hell of a shift in and I was glad to see him get his goal. He has a smile on his face because he’s a striker and he likes scoring goals."