Royals unlucky in Leeds stalemate
Wednesday 1st October 2014
Reading continued their long unbeaten against Leeds United, as the game finished a stalemate at Elland Road, despite the Royals having the better chances.
Royals boss Nigel Adkins named an unchanged line up from the team that drew a six-goal with thriller with Wolves on Sunday, meaning Jake Taylor was fit to start, despite going off injured with a hamstring injury in that game. Nick Blackman had the first decent effort of the game in Yorkshire, as he drove inside make-shift left back Liam Cooper, before lacing an effort goal, which forced Silvestri to palm it over his bar.
Reading were the better side in the opening exchanges and Simon Cox stung the palms of the Italian keeper once more, but dealt more comfortably with that effort. Leeds were struggling to form any openings of their own, despite catching us on the break a few times with Doukara`s pace. Alex Mowatt nearly had a sight of goal twenty yards out, but smashed his effort way over the cross to Federici`s relief.
Blackman then had one of many penalty shouts turned down by the referee, although this one would have seemed soft. Michael Hector very nearly committed defensive suicide near the end of the half, as his stray pass out from the back went straight to Mowatt, but his lob towards goal was not executed well enough. Both sides went in at half time probably knowing that this game was there for the taking.
The second half was to be mainly dominated by the Royals, with Hector having the first shot, as Leeds failed to clear a corner, but the defender couldn`t make clean enough contact with it to trouble Silvestri. We were playing some neat football in the second half, which as you can imagine, was orchestrated mainly by the impressive Norwood, whose nearly finished off the move from range, but went just over.
Norwood`s deliveries from set pieces were also causing real problems for Leeds and Hector connected with one on the hour mark, but Silvestri got down well to parry it and his defenders did the rest. Then there was another penalty shout for us, as Jake Taylor was found in space on the left, cut in his marker in the area and appeared to be brought down, maybe slightly theatrically, but the referee again wasn`t interested.
A moment of madness between Federici and Hector nearly gave Leeds an opening, as both made a harsh of their clearances, leading to a foul, but luckily Austin`s effort from twenty yards was very poor. In some ways, this was Leeds` best opportunity of the game, but couldn`t take advantage. Man of the match Blackman was then shifted over the left and nearly found an opening, trying to catch out Silvestri at his near post.
Billy Sharp scored two goals in ten appearances in a short stint with the Royals last season and made Federici make his only save of the game, as he worked some space outside the area, but his effort didn`t have the usual placement. Blackman had another penalty shout near the end as he had the beating of Cooper again, verged into the area and went under Bellusci`s challenge, but the referee once again was unmoved.
The Royals put on the majority of the pressure in the final stages of the game, but couldn`t find the goal they really deserved. Fair play to Leeds who looked much more solid defensively, but we really should have taken advantage and maybe on another day, could have. A point and clean sheet away from home is always good though, as we have a quick turnaround once again, as we prepare to travel to Brentford this Saturday.
Leeds - 4-4-2: Silvestri; Byram, Pearce, Bellusci, Cooper; Bianchi, Mowatt, Cook, Sloth; Antenucci, Doukara.
Subs: Taylor, Wooton, Warnock, Murphy, Austin, Morison, Sharp.
Reading - 4-2-3-1: Federici; Gunter , Pearce, Hector, Obita; Akpan, Norwood; Blackman, Cox, Taylor; Murray.
Subs: Andersen, Cooper, Long, Guthrie, Robson-Kanu, Mackie, Pogrebnyak.