Harper saves Reading record
By Peter ORourke
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Reading stretched their unbeaten run to 29 games with a 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace.
Reading stretched their remarkable unbeaten run to 29 games with a 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace.
James Harper's late goal cancelled out Andy Johnson's penalty to ensure Steve Coppell's men kept their unbeaten record and moved a step closer to promotion.
Palace started brightly and Johnson in front of the onlooking Sven Goran Eriksson had a great chance to score after just four minutes when he latched onto Harper's loose backpass to run clear on goal, but Marcus Hahnemann was quickly off his line to keep out the striker's shot.
Johnson had another chance on 21 minutes when Michael Hughes cleverly played him inside the box and his left-footed shot was well pushed out by Hahnemann.
Dave Kitson went close to opening the scoring a minute later when he capitalised on some hesitancy between Mark Hudson and Gabor Kiraly inside the box and he was unlucky to see his prodded shot land just over the crossbar.
Glenn Little almost broke the deadlock six minutes after the break when he broke into the box, but his intended chip was tipped over the bar by Kiraly.
Hudson really should have scored on 53 minutes when he rose highest to meet Ben Watson's corner only to get his header all wrong and direct it wide of the target.
Kiraly was forced into a sprawling save just past the hour mark with the Hungarian diving full stretch to keep out Kevin Doyle's header from Graeme Murty's cross.
Johnson was denied by Hahnemann for a third time on the night on 63 minutes when the American was quickly off his line to keep out Johnson's header after he had broken the Reading offside trap.
Palace had strong claims for a penalty turned down on 77 minutes when Macken's cross appeared to strike the hands of Ivar Ingimarsson.
However, a minute later the home side won a penalty when Hahnemann brought down Johnson and the England international dusted himself down to score from the resultant penalty kick.
Palace's lead proved short-lived as Reading hit back two minutes later when Harper latched onto substitute Leroy Lita's flick and thumped an unstoppable shot past Kiraly.
Hahnemann prevented Palace from restoring their lead six minutes from time with a superb point-blank save from Johnson and he was also alert to save Tom Soares' follow up shot.
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