Stephen Kelly's injury-time header earned Reading a point and denied fellow Championship promotion-hopefuls Nottingham Forest a third win in a row.

The visitors deservedly led at the break through Greg Halford's header.

Halford and substitute Matt Derbyshire both wasted good opportunities to wrap up the points after the interval.

But the Reds failed to make their chances count and Kelly equalised when he met a Royston Drenthe free-kick in the fifth of six minutes of added time.

Kelly's late intervention at a rain-lashed Madejski Stadium means ninth-placed Reading remain just one point off the play-offs and keeps them to within five points of Forest, who stay fifth.

It was a bitter blow for Forest, who despite stretching their unbeaten sequence to seven games, are now 11 points adrift of Championship leaders Leicester.

The Royals had the first noteworthy chance of a quiet opening, but Billy Sharp was too slow to react against his former club and Jamaal Lascelles was able to recover from an error and clear the ball.

Having survived that scare Forest started to get on top, twice going close through long-range Jamie Paterson strikes.

Danny Guthrie did shoot just over for the hosts but Forest went ahead on 36 minutes when Reid swung over a free-kick from the left and Halford jumped highest to send a looping header in to the net - his third goal in as many games.

A Reading side lacking in confidence and cohesion struggled to respond with Henri Lansbury and Reid dominating the midfield for the visitors.

Forest tough to beat away

Forest have lost just twice away from the City Ground all season. Their goalless draw at Birmingham in their last away match was the first time this season that they have failed to score on the road.

Forest should have increased their lead when Reid chipped a cross into the home area and Halford headed straight at keeper Alex McCarthy, and Paterson was also denied by a last-ditch block from Kelly at McCarthy's near post.

The pattern of away profligacy continued as Derbyshire, the matchwinner against Leeds in Forest's last game, twice sent shots wide when well placed.

But the points seemed secure as an Alex Pearce header from a Danny Guthrie corner was nodded off the line by Derbyshire in what seemed to be the home side's final chance.

However, Kelly came to the rescue for Reading, securing a draw and ending a run of three consecutive defeats.

Reading manager Nigel Adkins:

"We've stopped the rot, we've stopped that losing trend. People can maybe now look at the positives and not the negatives, we've taken four points off a team who we expect to be at the top and challenging with us for promotion.

"We left it late but better late than never. We showed a lot of character to keep going, got back into it and were in the ascendancy at the end.

"If we can stay in the play-off race and get most of our injured players fit again, we'll have better opportunities in March and April."

Nottingham Forest manager Billy Davies:

"You can see just what we need and I've been saying that for a few weeks. The game should have been over, well and truly done.

We were just not clinical up front and we should have had a second goal, a third and a fourth - we've got to kill teams off.

"Nine tenths of our game was good, we just didn't defend in the last 10 seconds and it felt like a defeat. We may have got seven points from nine but it should have been more."

Lineup, Bookings (7) & Substitutions (6)

Reading

  • 21 McCarthy
  • 02 Gunter
  • 03 Kelly
  • 23 Williams Booked
  • 05 Pearce
  • 24 Cummings (Taylor - 82' )
  • 12 McCleary (Drenthe - 59' )
  • 20 Guthrie Booked
  • 14 Sharp (Le Fondre - 59' Booked )
  • 07 Pogrebnyak Booked
  • 22 Blackman

Substitutes

  • 01 Federici
  • 09 Le Fondre
  • 10 Drenthe
  • 16 Akpan
  • 25 Taylor
  • 34 Keown
  • 47 Sweeney

Nottingham Forest

  • 01 Darlow
  • 18 Jara Booked
  • 02 Lichaj
  • 10 Lansbury
  • 16 Lascelles
  • 25 Hobbs Booked
  • 12 Mackie (Derbyshire - 68' )
  • 11 Reid
  • 15 Halford (Cox - 68' Booked )
  • 07 Chalobah (Greening - 81' )
  • 21 Paterson

Substitutes

  • 03 Harding
  • 14 Greening
  • 27 Derbyshire
  • 28 Majewski
  • 29 de Vries
  • 31 Cox
  • 38 Osborn
Ref: Michael Oliver
Att: 19,873

Match Stats

Shots

6 13

On target

4 7

Corners

4 4

Fouls

14 14

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Reading 1, Nottingham Forest 1.

90:00 +5:57 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Reading 1, Nottingham Forest 1.

90:00 +4:45 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Reading 1, Nottingham Forest 1. Stephen Kelly (Reading) header from the centre of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Royston Drenthe with a cross following a set piece situation.

90:00 +4:24

Foul by Matt Derbyshire (Nottingham Forest).

90:00 +4:24

Chris Gunter (Reading) wins a free kick on the right wing.

89:30 Booking

Booking Pavel Pogrebnyak (Reading) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

89:22

Andy Reid (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

89:22

Foul by Pavel Pogrebnyak (Reading).

88:49 Booking

Booking Simon Cox (Nottingham Forest) is shown the yellow card for hand ball.

88:38

Hand ball by Simon Cox (Nottingham Forest).

87:58 Booking

Booking Gonzalo Jara (Nottingham Forest) is shown the yellow card.

83:57

Attempt saved. Danny Guthrie (Reading) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Nick Blackman.

81:53

Attempt saved. Henri Lansbury (Nottingham Forest) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Gonzalo Jara.

81:19 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Reading. Jake Taylor replaces Shaun Cummings.

80:37

Attempt missed. Royston Drenthe (Reading) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Danny Guthrie.

80:22 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Nottingham Forest. Jonathan Greening replaces Nathaniel Chalobah.

77:56

Corner, Reading. Conceded by Matt Derbyshire.

77:53

Attempt blocked. Alex Pearce (Reading) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Danny Guthrie with a cross.

77:31

Corner, Reading. Conceded by Karl Darlow.

77:27

Attempt saved. Nick Blackman (Reading) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Danny Guthrie.

74:41

Attempt missed. Matt Derbyshire (Nottingham Forest) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Henri Lansbury.

73:07

Attempt saved. Simon Cox (Nottingham Forest) left footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Nathaniel Chalobah.

69:35

Attempt missed. Matt Derbyshire (Nottingham Forest) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Jamie Paterson following a fast break.

67:53 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Nottingham Forest. Simon Cox replaces Greg Halford.

67:43 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Nottingham Forest. Matt Derbyshire replaces Jamie Mackie.

65:44

Nathaniel Chalobah (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

65:44

Foul by Nick Blackman (Reading).

64:37 Booking

Booking Jack Hobbs (Nottingham Forest) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

64:30

Foul by Jack Hobbs (Nottingham Forest).

64:30

Nick Blackman (Reading) wins a free kick on the right wing.

62:37 Booking

Booking Adam Le Fondre (Reading) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

62:20

Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

62:20

Foul by Adam Le Fondre (Reading).

61:29

Corner, Nottingham Forest. Conceded by Chris Gunter.

61:28

Attempt blocked. Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Jamie Paterson.

59:01

Greg Halford (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick on the left wing.

59:01

Foul by Chris Gunter (Reading).

58:36 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Reading. Royston Drenthe replaces Garath McCleary.

58:30 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Reading. Adam Le Fondre replaces Billy Sharp.

53:30

Attempt saved. Jamaal Lascelles (Nottingham Forest) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Jamie Paterson with a cross.

53:06

Corner, Nottingham Forest. Conceded by Stephen Kelly.

53:02

Attempt blocked. Jamie Paterson (Nottingham Forest) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is blocked. Assisted by Jamie Mackie with a cross.

52:19 Booking

Booking Danny Guthrie (Reading) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

52:14

Andy Reid (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick on the right wing.

52:14

Foul by Danny Guthrie (Reading).

51:12

Foul by Greg Halford (Nottingham Forest).

51:12

Nick Blackman (Reading) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

51:01

Attempt blocked. Jamie Paterson (Nottingham Forest) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Greg Halford.

49:22

Jack Hobbs (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

49:22

Foul by Pavel Pogrebnyak (Reading).

48:45

Attempt saved. Greg Halford (Nottingham Forest) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Andy Reid with a cross.

45:00

Second Half begins Reading 0, Nottingham Forest 1.

45:00 +2:05 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Reading 0, Nottingham Forest 1.

45:00 +1:07

Foul by Greg Halford (Nottingham Forest).

45:00 +1:07

Alex McCarthy (Reading) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

45:00 +0:32

Nathaniel Chalobah (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

45:00 +0:32

Foul by Danny Guthrie (Reading).

39:25

Attempt blocked. Andy Reid (Nottingham Forest) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

38:58 Booking

Booking Daniel Williams (Reading) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

38:55

Nathaniel Chalobah (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

38:55

Foul by Daniel Williams (Reading).

37:03

Foul by Gonzalo Jara (Nottingham Forest).

37:03

Billy Sharp (Reading) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

35:54 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Reading 0, Nottingham Forest 1. Greg Halford (Nottingham Forest) header from the centre of the box to the high centre of the goal. Assisted by Andy Reid following a set piece situation.

35:25

Greg Halford (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

35:25

Foul by Alex Pearce (Reading).

34:46

Attempt missed. Nick Blackman (Reading) left footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses the top left corner. Assisted by Danny Guthrie.

33:55

Foul by Jack Hobbs (Nottingham Forest).

33:55

Danny Guthrie (Reading) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

31:40

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

30:44

Delay in match Pavel Pogrebnyak (Reading) because of an injury.

29:44

Foul by Gonzalo Jara (Nottingham Forest).

29:44

Nick Blackman (Reading) wins a free kick on the left wing.

28:06

Jamie Paterson (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

28:06

Foul by Chris Gunter (Reading).

26:00

Andy Reid (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

26:00

Foul by Danny Guthrie (Reading).

25:36

Attempt saved. Jamie Paterson (Nottingham Forest) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

24:55

Offside, Reading. Pavel Pogrebnyak tries a through ball, but Billy Sharp is caught offside.

23:42

Corner, Nottingham Forest. Conceded by Chris Gunter.

23:39

Attempt blocked. Jamie Paterson (Nottingham Forest) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Henri Lansbury.

19:50

Corner, Nottingham Forest. Conceded by Stephen Kelly.

18:45

Hand ball by Pavel Pogrebnyak (Reading).

18:03

Corner, Reading. Conceded by Jamaal Lascelles.

14:34

Offside, Nottingham Forest. Henri Lansbury tries a through ball, but Greg Halford is caught offside.

12:43

Alex Pearce (Reading) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

12:43

Foul by Greg Halford (Nottingham Forest).

11:48

Foul by Pavel Pogrebnyak (Reading).

11:48

Nathaniel Chalobah (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

9:22

Billy Sharp (Reading) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

9:22

Foul by Nathaniel Chalobah (Nottingham Forest).

8:51

Pavel Pogrebnyak (Reading) wins a free kick on the right wing.

8:51

Foul by Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest).

6:30

Danny Guthrie (Reading) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

6:30

Foul by Andy Reid (Nottingham Forest).

4:45

Foul by Garath McCleary (Reading).

4:45

Jamie Mackie (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

4:22

Foul by Henri Lansbury (Nottingham Forest).

4:22

Pavel Pogrebnyak (Reading) wins a free kick on the left wing.

2:58

Corner, Reading. Conceded by Jamaal Lascelles.

2:07

Offside, Nottingham Forest. Gonzalo Jara tries a through ball, but Greg Halford is caught offside.

1:51

Foul by Jamie Mackie (Nottingham Forest).

1:51

Daniel Williams (Reading) wins a free kick on the left wing.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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