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Swansea miss chance to move back up to second after Reading stalemate

Swansea City v Reading – Sky Bet Championship – Liberty Stadium
(Image credit: David Davies)

Swansea missed the chance to go back up to second in the Sky Bet Championship as they were frustrated by Reading in a goalless draw on a bitterly cold evening at the Liberty Stadium.

Steve Cooper’s side had ripped up their poor pitch before Christmas and relaid a new playing surface and this was their first game on it.

The Swans dominated and had all the chances but could not turn their pressure into goals as they had to settle for a point.

Reading were organised defensively and frustrated their opponents, with goalkeeper Rafael Cabral in stunning form with a series of superb saves.

As both sides took the knee before kick-off in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, a series of loud horns and booing noises were heard from a group gathered outside the ground – the second successive home game it had occurred.

Swansea dominated the early possession but had to rely on defender Ryan Bennett for a couple of smart interventions.

Andre Ayew came close to the opener with an acrobatic overhead-kick which went over the crossbar.

At the other end, Swansea goalkeeper Freddie Woodman saved well from Tom McIntyre.

Reading left-back McIntyre stole in at the back post to get on the end of Michael Olise’s long ball, but his low effort was brilliantly stopped by Woodman. Ayew then had another long-range effort saved.

McIntyre’s effort aside, Reading lacked any real attacking threat.

Their star man Cabral then produced another superb save to deny Ayew. The Ghanaian headed Connor Roberts’ cross on target, but Cabral clawed it away.

Swansea defender Marc Guehi fired over from a corner when he should have hit the target.

Bennett was also booked just before the break for cynically stopping a Reading counter-attack, and Woodman stopped Sam Baldock’s effort from the resulting free-kick.

Swansea lost Bennett to injury at the start of the second half, with former Manchester City defender Joel Latibeaudiere coming on. He was immediately denied by Cabral.

The home side’s frustration was summed up when Korey Smith was penalised for a foul throw.

It was all Swansea, with Jamal Lowe and Roberts lively, but they just could not break through.

Reading introduced attackers Sone Aluko and John Swift as they grew in confidence, while it was also noticeable how both teams were slipping on the fresh turf.

Cabral then produced another wonder save as he denied Ayew, whose header looked destined for the net.

Cooper’s men kept pushing for a winner, with Kasey Palmer coming on.

But despite the final 10 minutes being attack against defence, Swansea could still not break through as Reading took home a point almost entirely earned by star man Cabral’s heroics.