10 men Saints snatch point at Madejski
22nd October 2011
Attendance: 21,889 (4203 away)
Southampton scored 10 minutes from time to preserve their lead as the nPower Championship leaders. Mikele Leigertwood looked like he had won all three points for the Royals, especially after Dean Hammond was shown a second yellow card but Steve de Ridder struck to earn his team a point.
It was an open start to the game at the Madejski Stadium, which has seen three consecutive draws. Richard Chaplow had the first decent effort of the game after a clever one-two but dragged his effort wide of Adam Federici`s goal.
As the first half progressed, the Royals were firmly in the ascendency. On 18 minutes, McAnuff weaved his way through the Southampton defence before putting in an enticing ball but no-one got on the end of it in a Royals shirt, which allowed the visitors to clear their lines.
The first effort that forced a keeper into action came half way through the first period, Simon Church managed to turn the Saints defence before firing a left-footed effort at Kelvin Davis` goal, which the 35-year old managed to push away over his bar.
Davis was then forced into action again, as the lively Leigertwood himself hit a 30-yard effort at his goal, but again the keeper was equal to it. Once again Davis was there as Adam Le Fondre had a sight of goal the stopper was there to deny the Royals again.
Many were struggling to see how the Saints were top of the league as Reading started the second half in a similar vein that they did in the first period. Karacan`s effort was deflected wide for a corner, which was whipped it for Alex Pearce, whose header narrowly went wide.
The league leaders started to show more determination in the second period. Substitute Aaron Martin had a header saved at point blank range by Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici, the closest the Saints came to scoring in the contest.
Royals pressure led to another Saints chance as Shaun Cummings got pulled out of position, which allowed Chaplow space to fire at goal, but delayed his effort and was parried by Federici with the Reading defence clearing up.
The game looked like heading for a stalemate before the Royals took a deserved lead. Jobi McAnuff struck a venomous free-kick onto the Southampton post, but failed to clear as Mikele Leigertwood latched onto the loose ball and smashed in the ball home from 10 yards.
Matters got from bad to worse for the visiting side as they were reduced to 10 men. Dean Hammond, booked earlier in the game, was shown a second yellow card for a poor challenge of Royals captain Jobi McAnuff.
However, this drove the Saints on to get a priceless equaliser. The Reading defence switched off from a simple Southampton throw by the corner flag, giving Steve de Ridder a great chance to turn inside the box and smash in the levelling goal off the bar, sending Saints into dreamland.
Both sides continued to press for that all-important winner. Substitute Mathieu Manset thought he had a decent shout for a penalty when Kelvin Davis came charging out but TV replays suggest the keeper got enough of the ball, meaning the game ended even.
Reading: Federici, Cummings, Pearce, Gorkss, Mills, McAnuff, Karacan, Leigertwood, Robson-Kanu, Church, Le Fondre
Subs: McCarthy, Harte, Kebe, Hunt, Manset
Southampton: Davis, Richardson, Fonte, Hooiveld, Fox, Guly, Chaplow, Hammond, Cork, Lambert, Connolly
Subs: Bialkowski, Martin, Harding, Schneiderlin, De Ridder