Newcastle had to settle for a draw last night at the Madejski Stadium but it could have been a much worse result with Reading’s Garath McCleary hitting the cross bar in stoppage time with only seconds to play.
It was a fairly even game with Reading as expected having most of the possession and the good news is that we got our first clean sheet since the 2-0 home win against Aston Villa.
Rafa Benitez at the Madejski last night
But the bad news is we failed to score for the first time since we were embarrassingly beaten 3-0 at Oxford United in the FA Cup.
We lost 2 points to both Brighton and Huddersfield last night as the Terriers beat Aston Villa 1-0 at home and Brighton won 2-0 away at Rotherham.
Next up are Fulham on Saturday at St. James’ Park and that could be another difficult game.
But it was a game we should have won last night and we had plenty of chances to win it with Matt Ritchie again outstanding and hitting the bar in the first half and Jonjo Shelvey had a bit of an off night and missed some chances for Newcastle. in both halves.
Yoan Gouffran suffered a head injury in the second half and was replaced by Christian Atsu but it was really 2 points lost last night.
Of course we would have taken 7 points from these three away games but we are now just 3 points above Brighton and 9 points above the Terriers who have a game in hand.
The maximum points we can get now are 107 so it’s probably unlikely we can match Chris Hughton’s total of 102 points seven years ago.
But the main thing is to get promoted and to keep strong in the final 10 games of the season.
Reading: Al-Habsi, Gunter, Blackett, McShane, Moore (Obita, 50), Van den Berg, Kelly (Williams, 46), Mutch, McCleary, Grabban, Kermorgant.
Subs not used: Evans, Beerens, Swift, Popa, Jaakkola.
Newcastle: Darlow; Gamez, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett; Shelvey, Colback (Diame, 88); Ritchie, Perez, Gouffran (Atsu, 68); Murphy (Gayle, 75).
Subs not used: Elliot, Hanley, Mbemba, Anita.
Referee: Andy Davies (Hampshire)