Kitson fails to uncork Clarets

Reading 0 Burnley 0
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The Independent Football

Reading were forced to sacrifice their place at the top of the Coca-Cola Championship table after being thwarted by a stubborn defensive performance by Burnley at the Madejski Stadium.

Reading were simply unable to break down Burnley's back-line, although striker Dave Kitson came closest for the home side with a late header disallowed for offside.

Persistent pre-match drizzle and the absence of injured captain Adie Williams did not dampen the spirits of a sparse crowd, with the club sitting sp pretty at the start of the day.

Nicky Forster and Kitson, the Reading front pairing, have run roughshod over rival defences this season, netting 13 goals between them. In complete contrast Burnley have based a surprise push towards the promotion places on the second tightest defence in the division.

The match started nervously with Micah Hyde's quick feet and vision initially helping to push Reading back, but the home side were presented with the first clear-cut chance when Kitson controlled a long ball only to see his effort saved by Danny Coyne.

Kitson then headed straight at Coyne from point-blank range before strike partner Forster blazed over wastefully after piercing Burnley's defence with a 30-yard run.

Burnley's Richard Chaplow forced Marcus Hahnemann into his first save of the game with a low shot on 23 minutes before Robbie Blake blasted over after a mistake by the leaden-footed Ibrahima Sonko. Kitson fired inches over for Reading from 40-yards, but Burnley had the better of the play in the closing moments before half-time.

Chaplow and Blake were the persistent, biting engine-room behind Burnley's early dominance after the interval, but it was Jean-Louis Valois who almost put the visitors in front with a on 55th-minute miss from too tight an angle.

Reading sparked into life on the hour when Forster fed James Harper, whose low shot was blocked away. Sonko then headed wide with a brave diving effort.

The closing 10 minutes were hectic as both sides fought for the win, within Reading coming the closest. Firstly Kitson headed home a Nicky Shorey cross only for the goal to be disallowed for offside, before Harper had a shot from 12-yards blocked away by a despairing lunge from Mo Camara. Honours even.

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