Royals and Boro draw blank
1st October 2011
Attendance: 17,418 (1,435 away)
Reading and Middlesbrough encountered a stalemate at the Madejski Stadium this afternoon, with the game finishing 0-0 despite a lively game with both sides going for the victory.
Brian McDermott decided to make once change from the win against Bristol City on Tuesday night with Hal Robson-Kanu being placed in the starting XI at the expense of Noel Hunt, who dropped to the bench.
It was the home side that did most of the pressing to start with. Church almost got through in the opening seconds but was just bundled out by the Boro defence. Joe Mills then whipped in a fine free-kick which caused trouble in the visitors area, but was eventually headed away.
Middlesbrough keeper Carl Ikeme was then brought into the game as Welsh international Hal Robson-Kanu cut inside and hit an effort which Ikeme held well. Middlesbrough were playing many stray passes in the opening stages and Church almost profited from one as McAnuff intercepted the ball and cross for the striker, but his header went narrowly wide.
Church has been a rich vein of form recently and looked keen to get on the scoresheet in this one, chasing down the ball and holding off his man but dragged his left-foot shot wide. His striker partner Adam Le Fondre was also looking lively as the nippy forward chased down a loose ball but his cross was cut out by Ikeme.
The Royals continued to pile on the pressure with no real response from the unbeaten side as Cummings` cross was met by 5`6 midfielder Jay Tabb, who headed wide. Boro got more into the game as the half went on and forced goalkeeper Adam Federici into an inspiration double save, first from Robson and then dangerman Emnes.
The away side didn`t expand on this occasional spurt and Le Fondre came close with an audacious overhead-kick which went wide after confusion in the Middlesbrough box. Both sides went in level at the break with Reading having the better of the half.
Compared to the first half, it was a slow start to the second with the game being contested in midfield. However, Middlesbrough had the first chance of the second half and the best of the game as good work on the right let Robson tee up McDonald from 10 yards out but the Australian somehow skewed his shot wide of Federici`s goal.
Reading then had a half-decent penalty shout before Emnes came closest to scoring the game`s first goal as he met a cross from the right perfectly with his head but clipped the post and went out to the relief of all Royals fans.
Minutes later Middlesbrough had another effort but the same outcome as Barry Robson smacked a 30-yard effort against the post. From there on in it was constant end-to-end action with both defences coming out on top, eventually settling for a goal less draw at the Madejski Stadium.
Reading: Federici, Cummings, Pearce, Gorkss, Mills, McAnuff, Leigertwood, Tabb, Robson-Kanu, Church, Le Fondre
Subs: McCarthy, Harte, Karacan, Manset, Hunt
Middlesbrough: Ikeme, McMahon, McManus, Bates©, Williams, Hoyte, Robson, Bailey, Haroun, Emnes, McDonald
Subs: Martin, Zemmama, Thomson, Arca, Nimely