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Leeds United 0 - 0 Reading: United held at home thanks to McCarthy

The bank holiday weekend has meant that this post has been delayed, so apologises for that. Friday nights game was a good result, Leeds stopped Reading's winning run, and were very unlucky not to take all three points.

Walking to the game, I was nervous and apprehensive, Leeds who can't defend were about to take on Reading, the in form team within the Championship. The nerves grew when the result came through from the Nottingham Forest game, Leeds had dropped out of the play-offs, only on goal difference.

Then the team news, Richard Naylor was back in the centre of defence and this was greeted by some very abusive chants from the Leeds fans. Naylor proved everybody wrong, he has strong and organised the defence well. He deserves to keep his place in the team, since he has been on the sidelines, United haven't exactly stopped conceding goals. Simon Grayson also made three other changes to the team, Billy Paynter replaced the injured Luciano Becchio, Jake Livermore replaced Neil Kilkenny and Paul Connolly came in for George McCartney.

Both sides looked nervous at the beginning, Jake Livermore was misplacing pretty much every single pass he attempted. Leeds were struggling to break down Reading's defence, however the Whites went close through Robert Snodgrass, the winger's header was stopped by a fantastic save from McCarthy. The game started to fizzle out, Reading were dominating the possession stats but Leeds were looking strong in defence. It is the first time in a long while, that as a unit Leeds looked strong and together, the fans are used to seeing the defence being all over the place. McCarthy was once again called into action when Max Gradel broke clear of the Reading defence, Gradel's shot was saved by the Reading stopper and just missed the post.

At half-time many of the fans were hopeful that in the second half we could push on, Simon Grayson decided to change things, Neil Kilkenny replaced Jake Livermore in the centre of midfield. After the break Leeds began to dominate, and were going close to opening the scoring. United were defending brilliantly, and then a lapse in concentration. Andy Griffin managed to cut inside, and was given time and space before firing his shot just wide of the post.

In the 67th minute Leeds went agonisingly close, Bradley Johnson scrambled his way through the Reading defence and his shot cannoned back off the crossbar. With ten minutes remaining, Grayson introduced Davide Somma and Sanchez Watt. Leeds went close once again, but it was McCarthy who stopped Snodgrass' header with minutes to go. Substitute Watt could have grabbed a late winner, but the on loan Arsenal man couldn't turn in time to get a shot away.

For the second time this season Leeds drew 0 - 0 with Reading, but although many are describing this as a poor result, it shows that United can compete with the best in the division. Leeds should now build on this result, the play-offs are there for the taking with three games remaining. The man of the match has to go to Reading keeper McCarthy, but Leeds fans should be proud of the performance from Richard Naylor. The Leeds captain will take tremendous pride from Friday night, many thought he wouldn't represent Leeds again.

Crystal Palace are next up for Leeds, it will be another difficult game with Palace fighting for their league survival. I expect a win from Leeds especially after the display against Reading.


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