Date: 23rd November 2013 at 5:06pm
Written by:

Blackburn and Reading fought out a relatively uneventful stalemate at Ewood Park yesterday afternoon, despite Reading being denied a stonewall penalty.

Royals fans may have thought that the injury problems would improve after the international break, but it got worse, as Sean Morrison, Hal Robson-Kanu and Shaun Cummings were added to the injury list. However, there was a return to the bench for the injured Danny Williams, but Royston Drenthe is still not up to the required fitness to be named in the squad by Nigel Adkins.

It was a fairly scrappy start to the game, with both sides having a fair share of possession, yet not creating any major chances. The hosts did conjure up the first goal action of the game though, as David Dunn`s effort deflected off Kaspars Gorkss and onto the bar, with McCarthy helpless. Reading`s best moments came through some dangerous Jordan Obita crosses, but Rovers were holding their own.

Blackburn then created a decent opening, as midfielder Tom Cairney managed to work his way into the Royals area with good feet, but could only fire his shot straight at McCarthy. Cairney was once again at the forefront of Rovers` attack and forced another save out of McCarthy, but this time round the former England under 21 international made a fine stop, with Cairney`s effort being deflected.

The closest the visitors came in the first half was through Pavel Pogrebnyak, as the Russian managed to get on the end of an Obita cross, but his header dropped just wide. Reading failed to register a single shot on target and Adkins made a double change at half time, bringing on Akpan and Williams for Le Fondre and Baird, now reverting to a more familiar 4-3-3 formation.

It was a similarly slow start to the second period, but the Royals looked a much improved outfit than what they were in the first. The contentious moment came when Chris Gunter was impeded in the box, but the referee opted to book the Welsh international for diving, despite replays showing he was very clearly fouled in the area – a poor decision from the man in the middle.

The hosts were struggling to create any major openings, but you could argue that Adkins` side were too. Reading defender Kaspars Gorkss though had a superb chance to give his side, as Danny Guthrie`s corner was headed across the goal and at the back post was the towering defender, but somehow managed to head over the bar, when it looked easier to score!

Young Obita was looking a threat on the left wing and delivered another enticing ball to the back post, which McCleary tried to convert, despite Pogrebnyak being well-positioned for the pull back. Both sides were pushing for a winner in the late stages of the game, with Reading forcing some late corners, but the game finished goalless and probably deservedly so.

Blackburn – 4-4-1-1: Kean, Kane, Dann, Hanley, Spurr, Cairney, Lowe, Williamson, King, Dunn, Rhodes
Subs: Eastwood, Henley, Kilgallon, Eastwood, Taylor, Rochina, Judge

Reading – 4-4-2: McCarthy, Gunter, Gorkss, Pearce, Kelly, McCleary, Baird, Guthrie, Obita, Pogrebnyak, Le Fondre
Subs: Federici, Williams, Akpan, McAnuff, J.Taylor, Blackman, Sharp