Reading 0 Barnsley 0: Reds prove play-off potential with fine draw at Royals

Barnsley proved again that they are genuine Championship play-off contenders thanks to securing a well-deserved draw at third-placed Reading.

It was a second consecutive goalless draw for Paul Heckingbottom’s men, but they will count themselves unlucky not to have nicked this one.

Reading enjoyed plenty of possession in the first half at the Madejski Stadium, but it was the Reds who looked far more dangerous on the counter-attack.

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The Reds went close early on when Marc Roberts only just failed to meet a smart cross from the recalled Adam Hammill.

Tom Bradshaw then fired an effort narrowly wide as the visitors pressed.

A brilliant move down the flank then culminated with Matty James crossing for Marley Watkins, whose snapshot was expertly saved by Royals’ ‘keeper Ali Al Habsi.

Roberts then headed wide towards the end of a goalless first period.

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Bradshaw almost grabbed a dramatic opener five minutes after the restart.

He volleyed in from 25 yards, with the effort only just clearing the crossbar.

At the other end, Jan Kermogant smashed in an strike which Adam Davies saved brilliantly diving down to his left.

Garath McCleary also fired just wide from distance as the hosts finally seemed to grab a foothold in the game.

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The woodwork saved the Royals in the 65th minute, though, when Watkins saw a shot cannon back off the foot of a post.

Hammill then ought to have done better when lashing over the top from comfortably inside the Reading box.

Reading (3-4-1-2): Al Habsi; Gunter, Moore, Blackett; Williams, Kelly (Grabban, 46), Beerens (Meite, 90), Obita; Evans; NcCleary (Popa, 81), Kermogant. Subs not used: Jaakkola, Swift, Watson, Oxford.

Barnsley (4-4-2): Davies; Jones, Roberts, MacDonald, Yiadom; Hammill (Kent, 90), Scowen (Moncur, 48), James, Williams (Armstrong, 67); Watkins, Bradshaw. Subs not used: Townsend, Elder, Hedges, Evans.

Referee: Darren Bond (Lancashire).

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