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Match Reports

Match Report : 11/04/2015

11 April 2015

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Report: Reading 0 Rovers 0

Rovers stretched their unbeaten run on their travels to seven games after goalless draw at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday.

But after the excitement and drama of the midweek match against Liverpool, this one was a low key encounter that was low on any quality football.

The home side edged the first half with Hal Robson-Kanu and Jamie Mackie going close. Rovers raised their game in the second with Chris Brown and Ben Marshall threatening.

Reading could have won it at the end as substitutes Kewsi Appiah and Hope Akpan both had chances, but it was an afternoon when neither goalkeeper was unduly troubled.

Rovers made three changes from the side that narrowly lost to Liverpool in the FA Cup on Wednesday night. With Alex Baptiste missing out through injury, his place in defence was taken by Tommy Spurr.

The other changes saw Jay Spearing preferred to Corry Evans in midfield, whilst Chris Brown was a surprise return to full fitness, Craig Conway dropping to the bench after returning from a hamstring strain in midweek.

The hosts made five changes from their midweek draw with Blackpool as Pavel Pogrebnyak, Nathaniel Chalobah, Michael Hector, Jamie Mackie and Jem Karacan all started. Former Rovers players Yakubu and Nick Blackman named amongst the substitutes.

With the Royals having a date at Wembley in just seven days time it was they who were eager to impress in the opening exchanges.

After a couple of early corners, Simon Eastwood, making just his third league start in goal this season, was called upon to make the first save of the game. Diving to his right to keep out a low shot from Hal Robson-Kanu after the forward had met Mackie's cross.

The hosts were enjoying the majority of possession but chances were few and far between.

On 21 minutes winger Gareth McCleary sent a deep cross to the back post, but whilst Mackie rose well to head back towards goal, the ball was always landing on the roof of the net.

Rovers were rarely able to get out of their own half in a disappointing opening 45, Reading keeper Adam Federici a spectator in the sunshine.

It wasn't until the 40th minute that the Australian had anything of note to do. But as a shot from Ben Marshall came in, it deflected off Brown and that took the sting out of the shot to allow it to be easily claimed.

Reading ended the half with a trio of half chances. Mackie saw a shot deflect wide, before Robson-Kanu hit a rising drive that Eastwood watched sail over the crossbar.

The last meaningful attack of an otherwise lacklustre opening period saw Pogrebnyak threaten, but Spurr defended well to prevent the Russian from getting a clean connection on his shot.

The start of the second half offered more from a Rovers point of view as they fashioned a series of opportunities.

A minute after the turnaround an excellent cross from Markus Olsson found the head of Brown but his effort deflected wide.

From the resulting Jay Spearing corner Brown nodded down for Marshall but his low effort was cleared away by Chris Gunter in the six-yard box.

But as the half wore on it was the home side who grew back into the game, building momentum with a series of set-plays, putting Rovers under pressure.

With six minutes to go Reading made a double change as Kewsi Appiah and Hope Akpan replaced Pogrebnyak and McCleary, and the pair would go as close as anyone to breaking the deadlock.

Two minutes from time, a ball back to Eastwood saw Appiah close down the Rovers goalkeeper, his clearance rebounding off the Royals forward but flashed just wide.

Then in the final of three additional minutes an Oliver Norwood corner kick was headed on by Akpan, Ben Marshall with the key touch to clear it behind on the line.

Rovers will be pleased to pick up another point and another clean sheet on their travels, in a match that neither side deserved to win.

READING: Federici, Gunter, Pearce, Pogrebnyak (sub Appiah 84 mins), Robson-Kanu, McCleary (sub Akpan 84 mins), Chalobah, Hector, Mackie, Karacan (c) (sub Norwood 73 mins), Ake.

Subs not used: Andersen (GK), Yakubu, Cooper.

Goals: None.

Booked: Robson-Kanu.

ROVERS: Eastwood, Henley, Spurr, Kilgallon (c), Olsson, Cairney (sub P. Taylor 65 mins), Spearing, Williamson, Marshall, Brown, Rhodes.

Subs not used : Steele (GK), O'Sullivan, Songo'o , Lenihan, Evans, Conway.

Goals: None.

Booked: Williamson.

Attendance: 17,564 (including 646 Rovers fans)

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