Reading 2 2 Cardiff City
Monday 11th December at 8pm
Madejski Stadium

Never say die Bluebirds in dramatic late fightback

Cardiff rescued a dramatic draw against Reading with two goals in seven minutes to stay within four points of Championship leaders Wolves.

Reading looked set to end the Bluebirds’ four-game winning run after a Callum Paterson own goal and Mo Barrow’s strike put them 2-0 ahead.

But Joe Bennett volleyed in to pull a goal back, setting up a tense finish.

And substitute Lee Tomlin’s shot off the underside of the bar just crept over the line in stoppage time.

Reading captain Paul McShane almost snatched victory for the hosts, but his header in the final seconds struck a post.

It looked like being a forgettable night for Cardiff when manager Neil Warnock was sent to the stands by referee Steve Martin with 13 minutes remaining, having vented his frustration on one occasion too many.

Before Bennett began the comeback for the visitors, Junior Hoilett had seen a header from six yards out bounce down and over the crossbar, while Omar Bogle twice failed to finish off chances in the penalty area.

Substitute Tomlin’s equaliser came after Sol Bamba had headed a corner on to the crossbar as Cardiff piled numbers forward in search of a leveller.

Reading also had chances to add to their two goals in the opening 45 minutes, both of which came from set-pieces, but failed to run away with it.

Despite missing out on a third consecutive win, Jaap Stam’s side stretched their unbeaten run to five matches and climbed to 14th.

Reading manager Jaap Stam:

“It’s very frustrating. We started the game well and in the first half we played some very good football.

“They were always a threat coming forward, but I felt we dealt with the pace and the physique well in the first half. But we always know the opposition will do what they can to get back in the game.

“We should have scored that third goal and maybe the game’s done, but that didn’t happen.

“You need to deal with their threat from crosses and once they got that first goal, the belief was there and it was disappointing not to hold on, especially as we also hit the post before the end.”

Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock:

“I didn’t think we started too badly in the first half, it was just two sloppy goals we conceded. That gave them a bit of a lift and to play with some freedom and we just had to hang in there.

“We felt at half-time there were more goals to be had if we could just have got the next one. I felt it was a cracking game.

“I felt we probably could have had four or five goals in the second half. I have to give the lads credit to rally and show resilience to pull it back from two goals down.”

On being sent to the stands in the second half: “Never have I been sent off for something like this.

“It was a free-kick conceded by Callum Paterson and all I said to fourth official Andy Woolmer was that he had arched his back into the player. Before I know it, the referee is coming over and that’s it.

“I find it amazing – 69 years old and all my years in the game, I’ve never ever been sent off for something so trivial.

“The fans probably enjoyed it. Someone normally gets sent off here at Reading and it was my turn tonight.”

Player ratings

Etheridge   6.5

Manga   6

Morrison   6.5

Bamba   8

Bennett   6.5

Paterson   5.5

Mendez Laing   6.5

Ralls   7

Damour   5

Hoilett   8

Bogle   7

Subs ;

Peltier   6.5 (for Morrison 34 mins)

Tomlin   7   (for Paterson (79 mins)

Feeney   6.5 (for Bogle 81 mins)