Sheffield Wednesday match report: Reading 0 Owls 0
Sheffield Wednesday played out a dull, uninspiring goalless draw with struggling Reading to extend their unbeaten Championship run to six matches.
Both sides cancelled each other out and created few opportunities at the Madejski Stadium today.
The Owls only registered one shot on target and it was probably the best chance of a tight contest. Just after half-time, Lucas Joao shot tamely at Vito Mannone from close range.
But Carlos Carvalhal's troops were solid and well-organised defensively and deservedly kept a fourth clean sheet of the season.
Eyebrows were raised over the Owls' team selection, with Carvalhal making six changes to his starting line-up. One of his alterations was enforced as centre-back Tom Lees missed out through injury.
Carvalhal handed first-team recalls to Liam Palmer, Joost van Aken, Kieran Lee, David Jones, Steven Fletcher and Lucas Joao. Jack Hunt, Lees, Ross Wallace, Jacob Butterfield, Gary Hooper and Jordan Rhodes dropped out.
The hosts dominated the early stages and Sone Aluko spurned a great chance to give them a sixth minute lead, seeing his cross turned cross from an acute angle go agonisingly across the face of goal and out of play.
Dave Edwards headed straight at Westwood before the lively Aluko waltzed past a couple of challenges and tried his luck from outside the penalty area but Westwood was equal to his attempt.
Wednesday's much-changed team looked short on ideas in the final third and Liam Moore headed over another opportunity for the Royals.
Loovens was rightly cautioned in the 23rd minute after bundling over Mo Barrow near the halfway line.
For our Owls news and opinion on twitter follow hereIt took a good piece of defending by Mo Barrow at the back post to prevent Lee from latching on to Adam Reach's dangerous delivery as the Owls pressed for the opener.
Reach and Fletcher then combined to slip Palmer in down the right but the full-back's low centre was hacked away.
Moments later, Reading captain Paul McShane headed over Liam Kelly's corner when he should have done better.
Loovens bravely blocked Aluko's drive as Wednesday continued to keep the hosts at bay.
And Joao, making his first Owls start in 11 months, could have put Carvalhal's men ahead just after the restart but the Portugal international tried to dink the ball past Vito Mannone and the Royals goalkeeper saved it comfortably.
Wednesday grew in confidence and Joao headed narrowly off target after lovely approach play by Reach and Barry Bannan.
For more news from Hillsborough click hereAluko was a good outlet throughout for Reading and he curled just wide following a neat lay-off by Liam Kelly.
Carvalhal beefed up his forward line, taking Joao off for top-scorer Hooper.
With 17 minutes remaining, Reach raced on to Jones' pass and the left winger drilled a shot from distance well wide as the Owls kept on probing for the opener.
However, Reading nearly caught Wednesday napping, with Barrow shooting wide when well-placed after Jon Dadi Bodvarsson broke clear down the right.
The Owls looked far more potent as an attacking force after the break and substitute Rhodes glanced wide in the closing stages following fine play by Reach and Morgan Fox.
The draw leaves Wednesday in 11th position, six points adrift of the play-off places.
Reading: Mannone; Bacuna, McShane, Moore, van den Berg, Gunter; Edwards, Kelly (Clement 78), Aluko; Barrow (Beerens 89), Kermorgant (Bodvarsson 72). Substitutes: Jaakkola, Ilori, Blackett, Richards.
Wednesday: Westwood, Palmer, Loovens, van Aken, Fox, Lee, Jones, Bannan, Reach, Fletcher (Rhodes 82), Joao (Hooper 59). Substitutes: Wildsmith, Hunt, Venancio, Butterfield, Nuhiu.
Attendance: 18,382 (3,055)
Referee: David Coote (Nottinghamshire)