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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
18:00 10th November 2012
By  Gemma Gifford

READING 0 NORWICH 0

City picked up another valuable Barclays Premier League point with a 0-0 draw with Reading at the Madejski Stadium.

The game lacked any real cut and thrust and quality for either side in front of goal, but it was the Canaries' third cleansheet in four games and their first away from home in the top flight since October 2004.

The best chances for the Canaries came from headers - both Grant Holt and Robert Snodgrass being picked out but just unable to nod the ball past Adam Federici in the Royals' goal.

Reading are left still without a league win this season - their best efforts coming from Garath McCleary and substitute Jimmy Kebe. The draw left City 15th in the Barclays Premier League table at the close of play with five points more than today's opponents.

Reflecting on the result, City boss Chris Hughton said: "We were the team that were away from home. And I thought in the last 15 minutes if any team were going to win it, it would be us, as we opened them up a little more.

"Reading had a style of play that was effective and gave us problems, but I can't remember any clear chance that they had over the 90 minutes. We defended well from corners and free-kicks, but what we didn't do well was keep the ball well, or create enough chances, and I'd like to have seen more of that."

City were unchanged from their 1-0 victory over Stoke the previous weekend at Carrow Road.

Reading were in search of their first win of the season, although having scored eight goals in their previous two home games, the Royals would certainly be a test for the Canary defence, which included Michael Turner and Javier Garrido who both overcame knocks picked up last Saturday. Steven Whittaker remained at right-back with Russell Martin not recovering from his back injury to make it into the final 18.

Ahead of kick-off a minute's silence was acknowledged by all in the Madejski Stadium for Remembrance weekend - both teams also sporting the famous poppy of the Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal on their shirts.

The Canaries had a good spell of possession in the opening minutes with Hoolahan and Snodgrass on the end of some positive moves but just unable to see them on target. 

Reading then pressed forward winning two corners - one of them resulting in Jay Tabb's header deflecting wide.

On 14 minutes the hosts had the best chance of the game so far when Garath McCleary stung the hands of Ruddy with a powerful drive, which the City number one parried and Bassong cleared the danger. 

Noel Hunt then won a free-kick far right and Nicky Shorey swung in a dangerous ball, which Whittaker did well to defend.

Reading had managed to halt City's early momentum but midway through the half the visitors managed to create a long-distance drive by Johnson, which spurred them into another attack which found Hoolahan in the box, Morrison managing to get across to just nick the ball away from the Irishman.

Shorey's set-piece deliveries were certainly a threat and the left-back found Kaspars Gorkss from a free-kick, with his header just a little too high.

On 28 minutes Snodgrass headed just over the upright when he met Anthony Pilkington's left-wing cross.

Some indecision in the Canary defence almost gave the Royals an opening moments later - Jason Roberts winning the ball on the byline from Bassong and his shot spinning off Turner and just past the near post.  

After 38 minutes a Whittaker drive from outside the box was deflected for a corner by Gorkss. But it was proving a scrappy half with both sides finding it difficult to get into their running and create any significant openings.

Half-time: Reading 0, Norwich City 0

Both teams were unchanged at the break and City had the first opening of the half - the ball falling to Hoolahan on the edge of the Royals' area, but his left-footed shot was wide of Federici's goal.

Reading made a double substitution on the hour bringing on Jimmy Kebe and Pavel Pogrebnyak in place of McCleary and Hunt.

The second half was carrying on as the first with no real cutting edge from either side.

Sean Morrison went close with a header on 65 minutes and Holt was just squeezed out of making a clear connection on a Johnson ball across the area and the ball and it dribbled wide to safety for Reading.

On 70 minutes Kebe's cross from the right deflected off the bar and away and City managed to get it away - a close shave for the Canaries.

City responded with an attack of their own and Garrido put in a great cross from the left and Holt rose but could only head over.

With Reading pushing forward the Canaries found space on the break and Pilkington got free in the box but his cut-back was cleared by a great interception from Morrison, with Snodgrass lurking behind him.

With 77 minutes gone Michael Turner saw the first yellow card of the game after mis-timing a challenge on Roberts on the byline.

Adam Le Fondre was Reading's final change of the game replacing Jason Roberts.

Snodgrass met a Pilkington cross in the six-yard box but under pressure from the defender it went over the bar.

The game was opening up with both teams pressing but there was a lack of quality in the final third.

City had yet another headed opportunity this time Holt but it lacked power and it was straight at Federici.

With four minutes left the Canaries made two substitutions - Steve Morison and Elliott Bennett coming on for Holt and Snodgrass.

Three minutes of additional time were announced but neither side could break the other and the game ended 0-0 - not the greatest of games but another valuable point for the Canaries away from home and the first clean sheet on their travels since Portsmouth away when City clinched promotion to the Premier League back in May 2011.

Final score: Reading 0, Norwich City 0

READING: Federici, Gunter, Shorey, Leigertwood, Hunt (Pogrebnyak 60), McAnuff (c), McCleary (Kebe 60), Morrison, Tabb, Gorkss, Roberts (Le Fondre 78). Subs not used: Mariappa, Robson-Kanu,  Cummings, Taylor.

CITY: Ruddy, Whittaker, Johnson, Bassong, Turner, Snodgrass (E. Bennett 86), Holt (c) (Morison 86), Pilkington, Hoolahan, Garrido, Tettey. Subs not used: Bunn, Howson, Jackson, Tierney, R. Bennett.

    QUICK FACTS

    Did you know Norwich City Football Club have appeared in three Wembley cup finals?