Reading 1-1 Cardiff: Yakou Meite scores dramatic last-minute equaliser against Mick McCarthy’s side to salvage point for Royals but result leaves play-off hopes hanging by thread
- Yakou Meite salvaged a late equaliser for Reading but play-off hopes look over
- Kieffer Moore had given Cardiff the lead in what was a dramatic last few minutes
- Results leaves Royals four points behind Barnsley in sixth an unlikely to close gap
- Elsewhere in the Championship Blackburn came from behind to beat Derby 2-1
Having spent all season daring to dream of an unexpected return to the Premier League after eight years away, reality has caught up with Reading.
They have faded on the season’s home straight from certainties to finish in the play-off positions to standing on the outside looking despairingly in.
Although they managed to salvage a point through Yakou Meite in the final minute of stoppage time after Kieffer Moore’s penalty, it probably won’t be enough.
Kieffer Moore scored from the penalty spot late on with what looked to be a winning goal
Yakou Meite netted an equaliser in the 94th minutes but Reading needed more than a point
The Royals are four points behind Bournemouth in fifth and Barnsley in sixth with just four games to play.
Reading (4-2-3-1): Rafael; Yiadom (Baldock 90+1), Holmes, Moore (c), Richards (Aluko 90+1); Rinomhota (Swift 77), Laurent; Meite, Olise (Tetek 90+1), Ejaria; Joao (Puscas 58)
Substitutes not used: Southwood (GK); Esteves, Gibson, Semedo
Scorer: Meite 90+4
Manager: Veljko Paunovic
Cardiff City (3-4-1-2): Smithies; Nelson, Flint (c), Brown; Sang, Vaulks, Pack (Murphy 70), Ng; Ralls; Wilson (Ojo 81), Moore
Substitutes not used: Phillips (GK); Osei-Tutu, Williams, Colwill, Hoilett, Harris, Watters
Scorer: Moore pen 87
Manager: Mick McCarthy
Booked: Nelson, Pack, Brown
Referee: John Brooks
They can only hope that those two both lose this weekend to prolong the chase into the final weeks. Even then, you sense Reading have run out of puff in the Championship marathon.
At least they didn’t flag here. In the fifth minute of stoppage time, Meite met Sam Baldock’s cross with a defender slicing it over the line.
But this underpowered performance against an out-of-form Cardiff came at the worst time. Reading had created little and they were rocked three minutes from time.
After Sheyi Ojo’s initial shot was beaten out by keeper Rafael Cabral, the Bayern Munich-bound Omar Richards brought down Moore, who dispatched the spot-kick well for his 17th goal of the season.
Cardiff started the brighter, testing Reading’s defence in the opening exchanges as McCarthy’s booming touchline instructions echoed off the Madejski’s empty blue seats.
Wales winger Harry Wilson looked lively, pinging a shot that Aden Flint deflected just wide with an outstretched boot but from an offside position.
A better chance came on 16 minutes when Wilson drifted infield and tried to curl the ball home from the edge of the box.
The Liverpool loanee was denied by Reading keeper Rafael, who dived low to his right to turn it away one-handed.
Reading were sluggish for the opening half-hour before finally exerting some sustained pressure.
In the same move, Michael Olise and Ovie Ejaria saw two shots blocked apiece before Meite’s back heel flick failed to trouble Alex Smithies from a good position.
Michael Olise was bright for Reading and was involved in promising attacks for the hosts
Reading had to create more and Smithies saved well at his near-post from Lucas Joao after Olise’s smart through pass from a free-kick.
And there was another good opening 20 minutes from time when Meite, leaning back, blazed over from 12 yards after good build-up play from Richards and Josh Laurent.
But then it got worse. Wilson skipped through on a rare Cardiff attack and dinked over Rafael before Andy Yiadom cleared off the line.
And with time running out, the clumsy tackle from Richards and Moore’s unerring penalty left them pointless. Even Meite’s late leveller might not be enough now.
Harry Wilson almost opened the scoring with a dink that was well cleared off the line
In the other Championship match on Friday night, Blackburn came from behind to beat Derby 2-1 at Ewood Park.
Tom Lawrence had put Wayne Rooney’s side in front, but goals from Sam Gallagher and Harvey Elliott gave the hosts all three points.
The result leaves Derby just four points above the relegation zone, but they have played three more games than the Rotherham side below them.
Harvey Elliott scored the winner as Blackburn came from behind to beat Derby 2-1 at home
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