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Federici Has A Blinder And Karacan Returns

10 January 2015
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading had Adam Federici to thank after an inspired performance saw Reading keep another clean sheet to draw 0-0 at home to Middlesbrough. The Royals keeper was in great form throughout the match as he did everything right to earn Reading a valuable point. A save late in the game saw Federici appear from nowhere to push a hugely powerful Bamford shot onto the crossbar and to safety. In the first half, with the visitors well on top, Federici saved a couple of point blank efforts. However, it wasn't just about his shot stopping as he calmly collected cross after cross with clean catches that eliminated most of the threat from Middlesbrough's wide play.

This was a decent performance from the Royals against tough opposition. Reading started very brightly with some good passing football all played in the visitors half. It took Middlesbrough five minutes to make their first incursions into Reading's half, but it wasn't long before they started to take control of the fixture.

Reading welcomed Pavel Pogrebnyak back into the starting eleven as he made his first start in two months returning from injury. Pogrebnyak worked really hard but was ineffective as chances up front for Reading were few and far between in the first half. His second half performance was limited as he was replaced by Blackman before the hour mark. Before his substitution he had one of Reading's better chances as he did well to get in position to power a header towards goal - but unfortunately it flew well over the crossbar. To be fair to Pogrebnyak it was his first action for some time, but Reading looked much better when Blackman come off the bench and injected some pace and urgency into the Reading attack.

After Middlesbrough's dominance in the middle of the match it was Reading that were well on top in the last third of the match. Cox nearly set up Blackman who had found space just inside the area - but the final pass was blocked. Reading nearly finished off a superb passing move down the first that involved half the side and included plenty of quick sharp passes and a clever back heel as Reading looked the more dangerous. Reading were producing plenty of good football but the final shot was missing as Middlesbrough's strong defence refused to budge.

With time running short Mackie made way to allow Jem Karacan to come off the bench for the last few minutes to complete his return from a 15 month lay off following injury. Karacan got a massive welcome from the home fans and looked immediately settled in the Reading midfield. He only had time for a few chances but looked sharp enough to suggest he could play a big part this season. With the January transfer window open it could be the return of Karacan that is more important than any new incoming player.

It was Middlesbrough that might have snatched the win but Federici was there to make the save of the match. A draw was probably a fair result, although both sides might have thought they should have snatched the win. Reading are now unbeaten in four matches after that opening defeat under Clarke's control. The ship has definitely been steadied.

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