Writer: Chris Kitley
Date:Sunday December 16 2007
Reading had to settle for a well earned point in a hard fought battle at St.Andrews.
In a match that could have gone either way, it was the Blues that started the brightest.
Birmingham got off to a dream start when a Gary McSheffrey corner fell to Mikael Forssell.
Forssell's inital effort was cleared off the line by Nicky Shorey, but the luck was with the Blues as the ball fell kindly for Forssell to tuck the rebound away.
The goal was the only highlight of a lacklustre first half, where the only other threat was some Birmingham half chances.
From the moment the second half kicked off Reading came out the better side, and it wasn't long before the game was level.
A wayward pass from Dave Kitson seemed to have brought an abrupt end to the Reading attack, but Blues defender Matt Sadler had other ideas.
Sadler's backpass was woefully short, giving Reading man Stephen Hunt a chance on goal.
Hunt was clinically taken down by Birmingham keeper Maik Taylor, who probably should have walked for the challenge, but unbelievably escaped even a booking.
Hunt however, a model of professionalism, dusted himself down to drill the penalty home for the Reading equaliser.
From then on, it could have gone either way, but it was the home side who came the closest.
A debatable free kick gave Gary McSheffrey a sight at goal. His excellent strike was kept out only by the crossbar.
Larsson pounced on the rebound for what seemed a certain equaliser, yet from no where, the man they call superman, flew to Reading's rescue with a dramatic clearance off the line at full stretch.
That seemed to be the turning point of the game, as Reading started to press.
Substitute Shane Long missed a golden opportunity. The ball fell to Long in space, yet instead of composing himself, he attempted an acrobatical scissor kick, which resulted in an easy catch for Maik Taylor.
There was still time for Reading to have one more chance. Some great play from Dave Kitson down the right hand side allowed the striker to find Stephen Hunt in the box. Unfortunately Hunt was unable to reproduce his penalty heroics and steered his shot wide.
All in all, a draw was probably a fair result and should give the Royals something to build on when Sunderland visit the Madejski Stadium on Saturday.
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Date:Sunday December 16 2007
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