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Page last updated at 16:54 GMT, Saturday, 29 March 2008

Reading 0-0 Blackburn

by Russell Barder

David Dunn (left) and Kevin Doyle
Reading's Kevin Doyle (right) holds off David Dunn

Marek Matejovsky was sent off as Reading picked up a valuable point at home to Blackburn.

After a quiet first half the game finally came to life after the break.

Matejovsky departed after two bookable offences before Reading keeper Marcus Hahnemann denied Zurab Khizanishvili and Morten Gamst Pedersen.

Stephen Hunt should have won it late on, but failed to connect with Shane Long's cross and Brad Friedel pulled off a great save from Andre Bikey.

Reading boss Steve Coppell named an unchanged side, while Blackburn captain Ryan Nelsen returned after 10 weeks out to replace the suspended Christopher Samba.

Both teams were eager not to concede early on and their cautious approach, coupled with the damp conditions, made for a flat opening quarter of the game.


Bikey, fresh from scoring a brace against Birmingham last weekend, tried his luck from inside his own half after just two minutes, but his speculative effort was easily gathered by Blackburn keeper Friedel.

Rovers were fortunate shortly afterwards when Friedel palmed John Oster's cross against Nelsen and Hunt, under pressure from Andre Ooijer, poked the rebound wide.

The visitors offered very little going forward apart from a mazy run by Jason Roberts from inside his own half, which ended when he was brought down by Matejovsky 25 yards from goal.

The resulting free-kick was touched to Pedersen but his powerful left-footed shot was tipped over by Hahnemann.

At the end of the half, Friedel was quick off his line to deny the on-rushing Dave Kitson as the teams remained deadlocked at the interval.

Dave Kitson
Dave Kitson makes an acrobatic attempt to put Reading in front

After the break, Hunt had a chance to put Reading in front but steered Liam Rosenior's cross over the bar, while at the other end England winger David Bentley forced Hahnemann into an excellent save with a volley from 20 yards.

Blackburn again went close when leading scorer Roque Santa Cruz raced clear but he shot wide as Hahnemann rushed out.

The game turned in the visitors' favour minutes later when referee Mark Clattenberg showed Czech International Matejovsky his second yellow card of the afternoon for a body check on Roberts.

Down to 10-men, Reading seemed rattled and first Khizanishvili and then Pedersen shot straight at Hahnemann when free.

The home side regrouped, however, and Hunt had a great chance to win it but he failed to make contact with substitute Long's cross from six yards.

Blackburn boss Mark Hughes reshuffled his pack to play five up front late on and it nearly paid off with a close range effort by Santa Cruz, but Hahnemann again came to his side's rescue.

  • Reading manager Steve Coppell on the performance of referee Mark Clattenburg:

  • "For a top referee it was inconsistent. The imbalance in the way the game was refereed affected the game.

    "Ryan Nelsen should have been sent off after 20 minutes - he would have been sent off in the second half.

    "In the first half the football matched the weather. In the second half it got a bit fiery but that was not the doing of the players."

  • Blackburn manager Mark Hughes:

  • "I am sure Steve felt hard done by with the sending-off.

    "There wasn't that much emotion shown in the game by either team. It was a flat performance by both sides.

    "There was not a great deal of energy and spark in our play and we didn't take advantage of the last 20 minutes with the extra guy."

    Reading: Hahnemann, Rosenior, Ingimarsson, Bikey, Shorey, Oster (Long 77), Harper, Matejovsky, Hunt, Doyle, Kitson (Cisse 76).
    Subs Not Used: Federici, Convey, Duberry.

    Sent Off: Matejovsky (72).

    Booked: Hahnemann, Matejovsky, Shorey.

    Blackburn: Friedel, Ooijer (McCarthy 82), Nelsen, Khizanishvili, Warnock, Bentley, Reid, Dunn (Derbyshire 86), Pedersen, Santa Cruz, Roberts.
    Subs Not Used: Brown, Vogel, Mokoena.

    Booked: Nelsen, Warnock, Roberts, Reid, Khizanishvili.

    Att: 24,374

    Ref: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear).

    BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Reading's Marcus Hahnemann 7.50 (on 90 minutes).

  • Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

  • see also
    Premier League as it happened
    29 Mar 08 |  Premier League
    Saturday's football photos
    29 Mar 08 |  Football
    How to watch Match of the Day
    08 Oct 07 |  Match of the Day

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