Reading 2-2 Sunderland: Yann Kermorgant strikes to seal Royals draw
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 14/04/18 8:53pm
Sunderland edged another step closer to a second successive relegation as they squandered a 2-1 lead in their 2-2 Championship draw at fellow strugglers Reading.
Reading went in front in the 20th minute, when Liam Kelly lashed in a penalty after Jon Dadi Bodvarsson had been fouled in the area.
Sunderland controlled much of the first half, with Ashley Fletcher unlucky to hit a post, but they struck twice after the break.
Paddy McNair levelled it with a long-range screamer soon after the interval and stand-in skipper Lee Cattermole made it 2-1.
But home substitute Yann Kermorgant rose high to head in the equaliser with 11 minutes left.
Sunderland, relegated from the Premier League last season, had shown improved form recently, losing only once in four matches.
They drew 1-1 at home to Norwich on Tuesday, denied a victory by Ivo Pinto's 89th-minute equaliser. Chris Coleman's men are six points shy of safety with three games left.
Reading had won 1-0 in both their previous home games under new manager Paul Clement, seeing off QPR and Preston.
But they lost 1-0 at Fulham on Tuesday, when utility player Leandro Bacuna was sent off in stoppage time.
Reading began sluggishly in the Berkshire sunshine, with Sunderland forcing the early pace.
But nothing came of the visitors' pressure and Reading soon went close to breaking through the Sunderland cover.
Bodvarsson and John Swift looked to have raced clear, on separate occasions, but Sunderland centre-back Lamine Kone was on hand to twice snuff out the danger.
Sunderland replied quickly, with Callum McManaman shooting wide, before Reading went ahead in the 20th minute.
Goalkeeper Lee Camp spilled Sone Aluko's fierce effort and then brought down Bodvarsson as he pounced on the loose ball. Kelly hammered home the spot kick with the minimum of fuss.
Camp then parried away a powerful 20-yarder from Kelly before Sunderland regrouped and almost equalised.
Fletcher struck an upright, with Liam Moore heading off the line from McManaman's goalbound follow-up effort.
Aiden McGeady was also twice denied by fine saves from home keeper Vito Mannone while McManaman drove over when well placed.
However, Sunderland deservedly drew level two minutes into the second half.
Dave Edwards carelessly lost possession in midfield and McNair was handed a free run before unleashing a superb 30-yard shot that Mannone barely saw.
Sunderland could then have gone ahead when McGeady crossed from the left but Cattermole headed over at the far post.
Cattermole did much better in the 66th minute, stooping low to nod in McGeady's free-kick from close range. It was his first goal since August 2014.
But Reading pushed forward towards the end and were rewarded when Kermorgant nodded in a Chris Gunter cross.
Chris Coleman: "We've got three games to go and that's nine points to play for. And there's six points in it (from safety), so the ball is firmly in other teams' courts.
"What we've got to do is what we've been doing for the last four or five games - and that's just go for it.
"Whoever the opposition has been, our performances have been the same. That's three games running now that we've done enough to take all three points, but we've eventually given it up.
"That's critical for us at this stage of the season.
"The performance and mentality was spot on, brilliant, but it's those fine details that we haven't taken care of more. It's been like that all season really."
Paul Clement: "When we got back to 2-2, we really pushed to get the winner. And we had two or three fantastic chances to go and win it.
"With the way the other results went, it was important not to lose the game. It ended up being a good point, but, obviously, we're disappointed at not getting all three. It's a missed opportunity.
"I don't think we played very well today. The fighting spirit was there, but we looked a bit lethargic, even though we found a bit of energy towards the end.
"That was probably more due to the adrenaline of the occasion."