The Wokingham Paper

Middlesbrough 0-0 Reading: Royals stay unbeaten but winning run comes to an end

Reading v Watford- Michael Olise
Reading v Watford- Michael Olise

Reading’s four game winning streak came to an end as they were held to a goalless draw at Middlesbrough as they remain unbeaten in the Championship.

The Royals dominated proceedings for much of the match and went closest with Ovie Ejaria’s second half effort but had to settle for a point against Neil Warnock’s side.

Veljko Paunovic’s team are still in second position in the league.

Reading went into their game against Middlesbrough with a score to settle having lost their previous seven fixtures against Boro and having lost to Neil Warnock’s side at the back end of last season.

The game started at a slow tempo with both sides easing their way into action after a two-week international break.

Middlesbrough had the first attempt at goal as Jonny Howson’s long range effort took a a big deflection off Michael Olise and looped up in the air which left goalkeeper Rafael taking no chances as he tipped the ball over for a corner.

There was a scare for Reading form the resulting corner as Rafael had to tip the ball behind from Michael Morrison’s header as the defender almost glanced the ball into his own net.

But the Royals grew into the game and began to take charge of the contest with the creative influence of Olise.

The young French midfielder continued to threaten and showed a superb piece of footwork to work some space in the box and his low drilled shot forced a brilliant save from Bettinelli who got down low to prevent Olise’s shot from nestling in the corner.

Reading v Watford- Michael Olise
Reading v Watford- Michael Olise

Olise found the head of Lucas Joao with an in-swinging corner but his header was too weak to trouble Marcus Bettinelli.

A well worked free kick routine saw Josh Laurent have a sight of goal from 18 yards out but he blasted his effort high over the target, before Joao tired an optimistic effort from distance just before the break as the team’s went in deadlocked at 0-0.

Reading captain Liam Moore picked up a booking just a minute into the second half for a heavy challenge on Chuba Akpom.

The Royals opened up the Boro defence after 62 minutes after nice link up play from Olise and Andy Rinomhota before Ovie Ejaria’s superb first touch allowed him to take a strike at goal but his powerful effort fizzed just wide of the top corner.

Ovie Ejaria. Reading v Barnsley
Reading v Barnsley Ovie Ejaria. Reading v Barnsley

Moore showed his determined defensive effort as he put his body in front of the ball to block Sam Morsy’s shot in the box.

Paunovic made his first change of the match with just over 20 minutes remaining as Lucas Joao was replaced by Alfa Semedo as the Royals switched their shape, with Yakou Meite taking up the central striker’s role.

Middlesbrough came close but were again prevented by a block from Moore who took up a brilliant defensive position on the line to keep out Howson’s volley.

Despite having the overall better chances in the contest, the Royals were unable to break down the Boro defence as they were held to their first draw of the Championship season.

The Royals have a packed schedule to come in the next few weeks with Wycombe Wanderers to visit the Madejski Stadium on Tuesday evening.

Middlesbrough: Bettinelli, Tavernier, Dijksteel, Fry, McNair, Bola, Morsy, Saville, Howson, Akpom, Assombalonga.
Subs: Stojanovic, Wood, Johnson, Spence, Coulson, Browne, Roberts.

Reading: Rafael, Holmes, Moore, Morrison, Richards, Rinomhota, Laurent, Ejaria, Olise, Meite, Joao.
Subs: Southwood, Esteves, Gibson, McIntyre, Aluko, Semedo, Puscas.

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