Leeds claim away point after goalless draw at the Madejski...
READING 0, UNITED 0
Reading team: Bond, Gunter, Obita, McShane, Ferdinand, Norwood (Hector 89), Quinn (Tshibola 77), Williams, Robson-Kanu, Blackman (Cox 82), Sa. Subs. Al-Habsi, A.Taylor, Novakovich, Stacey.
United team: Silvestri, Berardi, Cooper, Bamba, Taylor, Adeyemi, Phillips (Murphy 72), Mowatt (Antenucci 72), Byram, Dallas, Wood. Subs. Turnbull, Wootton, Bellusci, Erwin, Doukara.
Referee: C Kavanagh
Booked: Norwood (Reading), Bamba, Adeyemi, Murphy (United)
Att: 21,581 (4,131 United)
United's first Championship awayday of 2015/16 - a Sunday afternoon visit to Reading's Madejski Stadium - saw head coach Uwe Rosler make six changes from the midweek cup exit at the hands of Doncaster Rovers. Marco Silvestri, Sol Bamba, Tom Adeyemi, Sam Byram and Chris Wood were all recalled to the starting line-up, while youngster Kalvin Phillips was handed his first start in midfield since April.
It was the hosts who had the game’s first sight of goal after just two minutes as a Bamba foul on Hal Robson-Kanu, which resulted in an early booking for the Leeds captain, handed Reading a free-kick on the edge of the area but Oliver Norwood curled a harmless effort straight into the arms of Silvestri.
Stuart Dallas then threatened for Rosler’s men at the opposite end, drilling a low strike on target which goalkeeper Jonathan Bond was equal to after space had opened up for the United winger.
It was an end-to-end start to proceedings in Berkshire but chances of real note were few and far between for both sides inside the opening stages. Silvestri comfortably held Robson-Kanu’s powerful strike from distance on the half-hour mark but, otherwise, the two goalkeepers remained untested.
Gaetano Berardi smashed a first-time effort wide from a tight angle after the ball had fallen kindly into his path, while Dallas looped a header over the bar following a well-worked move between Alex Mowatt and Byram down the right.
It meant a strong end to the opening 45 minutes for United but referee Chris Kavanagh's half-time whistle shortly after meant it remained goalless at the break.
The two teams re-emerged unchanged and the second period began in a similar manner, with United enjoying plenty of the ball inside the Reading half but without testing Bond between the sticks.
Adeyemi’s speculative strike from distance was blocked by the outstretched leg of Norwood, while Paul McShane towered a header over the bar from a corner as the game approached the hour mark.
Resolute defensive displays from both sides meant that clear-cut chances continued to be scarce, but Wood snuck behind the Reading back line on 70 minutes as he looked to latch onto a long ball over the top, only to smash his half-volley into the side-netting.
Orlando Sa then did similar at the other end just moments later, trying to beat Silvestri at his near post with a low strike.
Rosler was prompted into his first changes of the game after 72 minutes, replacing Phillips and Mowatt with Luke Murphy and Mirco Antenucci in a bid to claim a late winner.
And that almost came with just four minutes remaining on the clock through the tireless Wood. The striker collected a long ball on his chest and turned, before unleashing a dipping half-volley which skimmed the roof of the net.
Three minutes of stoppage time were added but neither side were able to make a dramatic breakthrough as the spoils were shared after a goalless afternoon at the Madejski.