Reading hold Championship leaders Newcastle to stalemate
Championship leaders Newcastle United dropped two points in an entertaining 0-0 draw at fellow promotion chasers Reading.
Newcastle, now unbeaten in 11 league matches, had the better of the first half, with Matt Ritchie's 20-yard effort striking a post.
But Reading improved after the break, with Garath McCleary going close with a couple of deflected drives that flew narrowly wide
He also hit the crossbar deep into stoppage time.
Newcastle arrived at the Madejski Stadium in good form, with successive victories away to other promotion rivals.
They had won 2-1 at Brighton & Hove Albion last week and 3-1 at Huddersfield Town on Saturday.
Reading defeated Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 at the weekend, the ninth win in their past 11 home matches.
Winger McCleary, rested against Wolves due to knee and groin problems, was brought back into Jaap Stam's side.
It was Reading who should have gone ahead in the first minute following McCleary's deflected cross.
Lewis Grabban had been left unmarked at the far post but somehow managed to head wide with the goal at his mercy and keeper Karl Darlow motionless.
Newcastle replied quickly, with home keeper Ali Al-Habsi having to save Yoan Gouffran's header, at the second attempt, from a Paul Dummett cross.
Gouffran then narrowly failed to get on the end of a Ritchie centre while Al Habsi had to be at his best to turn away a fierce volley from Jonjo Shelvey.
Reading enjoyed the majority of possession but struggled to make any penetration against a well-drilled Newcastle defence.
And it was the visitors who piled on the pressure approaching half-time, going close on several occasions.
Shelvey's long-distance drive was bravely blocked by Liam Moore and Al Habsi had to stretch to palm away a dangerous Ritchie cross.
After a shot from Ritchie had struck a post and rolled along the goal-line, Gouffran was denied only by Paul McShane's last-ditch clearance.
Reading opened the stronger after the interval, with McCleary's wickedly deflected effort evading Darlow but drifting the wrong side of a post.
From Joey van den Berg's resultant corner, Yann Kermorgant's close-range effort was blocked by a mass of bodies in the six-yard box.
Urged on by their 3,700 travelling fans, Newcastle gradually began to regain their composure.
And they almost snatched the lead in the 70th minute, when Dummett crossed from the left and Daryl Murphy's glancing header was well stopped by Al Habsi.
As the game became more open, another deflected attempt from distance from McCleary also troubled Darlow but also ended up just wide.
Both sides went for a winner in a gripping finale - McCleary also struck the bar from an acute angle deep into stoppage time - but the draw reflected a fair result.
Source : PA