Reading 1-1 Southampton

Championship leaders Southampton hit back to deny Reading and secure a valuable away point in a gripping game despite having Dean Hammond sent off.

The Royals seemed set for a deserved win when Mikele Leigertwood showed great composure to fire home after Jobi McAnuff's free-kick hit the post.

Saints then had skipper Hammond sent off for a second yellow card after a late lunge on McAnuff.

But they levelled when Steve De Ridder cut inside and crashed the ball in.

De Ridder's stunning finish, from Guly Do Prado's delightful first-time lay-off, restores Saints' three-point lead at the top of the table.

Reading will feel they like they wasted a glorious opportunity, not only because they conceded a late equaliser against 10 men, but also because they dominated the first half.

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Simon Church twice went close with decent chances, Adam Le Fondre had an effort blocked by goalkeeper Kelvin Davis and Leigertwood also had a fierce long-range strike tipped over by the excellent Davis.

Saints responded after the interval and Royals keeper Adam Federici pulled off an incredible one-handed save to keep out Aaron Martin's header.

Richard Chaplow also tested the keeper with a low strike as the game opened up.

Reading went ahead through Leigertwood when the midfielder coolly slotted home from the left-hand side of the box after McAnuff's measured 20-yard strike rebounded to him off the post.

The victory seemed assured against a below-par Saints side when Hammond saw red, only for De Ridder's clinical finish to ensure a share of the points.

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