An early Noel Hunt goal gave Reading the lead, before Cardiff equalised with just over ten minutes left. After their last outing against QPR it was a much improved Reading performance, with the home side dominating large periods of the game and creating chances.
The difficulty of playing the team in second place, who also contain the division’s top goal scorer, is you can't turn off even for a second or you will be punished. That was shown as Jay Bothroyd added to his season total late in the second half, although it appears unclear if his long-range strike crossed the line or came back off the underside of the bar. Both managers begged to differ. No surprise there, then.
Of course, whenever Reading now concede a slightly suspect goal, the phase 'what goes around comes around' seems to be implied, referring to the phantom Watford goal in 2008.
However, I’m fairly convinced that any karma from the ‘goal’ has now been evened out at least four times, with controversial goals no longer a rarity in football (especially now high tech replays after games highlight even the smallest irregularity).
The verdict of whether the goal did or didn't cross the line will be going on amongst Reading and Cardiff fans for some time, but I want to follow in Brian McDermott's lead in not dwelling on the issue of goal line technology too much. This is something for those at FIFA to decide, and whilst expensive technology and video replays may not be the ideal solution, something needs to change.
It's sometimes too easy to blame referees, linesman and, at the end of the day, had Reading converted chances at 1-0 the result may have been very different.. As with the QPR game, it’s not always best to read too much into a result.
It's likely both Cardiff and QPR will be near the top and the end of the season and it’s generally accepted by even the most positive Reading fan that automatic promotion is not really the season’s goal.
However, an inability to convert chances has been Reading’s story for most of the season, and whilst the side manage to create good goal scoring opportunities, without the presence of a natural finisher the play-offs may also be a step too far.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.
The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.