Barnsley had to come from behind twice to draw 2-2 draw with Reading.

The Reds are yet to confirm a play-off spot, whilst Reading have all-but ensured Sky Bet League One safety.

Sam Smith and Lewis Wing netted for the visitors, with Adam Phillips and Fabio Jalo providing equalisers.

The Royals opened the scoring in the 21st minute when Smith nodded home from Femi Azeez’s corner.

Barnsley levelled in the 29th minute when John McAtee dinked a cross from the left for Phillips to head in for his 10th goal of the season.

Smith wasted a guilt-edge chance to give Reading the lead in the 69th minute when he rolled an effort wide inside the six yard box from Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan’s cut back.

Ruben Selles’ side regained the lead with nine minutes to play when Wing smashed one home from 25 yards out.

Barnsley responded well though and equalised two minutes later through 18-year-old Jalo, who headed beyond substitute goalkeeper David Button.

Jalo almost won it for the hosts two minutes later when he broke free inside the box, but his laced effort struck the left-hand post.

Reading manager Ruben Selles praised the strong character of his players for brushing aside the club’s off-field worries to secure a vital 4-0 League One victory over Cambridge.

Goals from Sam Smith and Femi Azeez gave Reading, who are still beset by constant cash-flow problems, a commanding half-time lead and they cruised past Cambridge after the break with further efforts from Lewis Wing and Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan.

“It was really important for me to see the character of the team as the week has been another difficult one for us,” Selles said.

“The boys have been working really hard to get that kind of performance and to get those goals.

“We focused on the task in hand and it is good to find a group of players who want to compete for each other in that way.

“I’m very proud of what they did today.

“We were very ruthless in the final third, very ruthless in what we did. I would like to see that more often.

“It’s not myself who kept the players focused. I think they learnt themselves to keep focused as individuals and as a team.

“It was a great expression of the character of the dressing room. The team is alive, it means that it has that life inside.

“It makes them really difficult to beat and they showed that. So it’s not down to me, it’s absolutely them.”

Struggling Cambridge, with new head coach Garry Monk three matches into his reign, lost heavily to Reading after a previous 6-0 defeat at Lincoln on Tuesday.

“It’s been a difficult week,” said Monk. “But I’m not going to lose any belief in the squad.

“It’s been a difficult two games that we’ve had but I’ve seen enough in the players, the ability is there.

“But it’s been a symptom of these two games. We started this one well enough and with a bit of momentum.

“But it seems that every time we get that bit of momentum, we kind of shoot ourselves in the foot.

“The first two goals were similar to Tuesday (against Lincoln). They were just poor goals, just individual errors, whether that’s down to concentration or decision-making.

“And it leads straight to a goal. Unfortunately, that’s what happened on Tuesday and that’s what happened today.

“There were quite a few large spells in the game overall when we were quite competent with the ball and were doing OK.

“But we come out in the second half, again gain momentum, but not taking our opportunities is then compounded by Reading’s last two goals.

“And then you’re out of the game.”

Financially-troubled Reading put aside their off-field worries with a 4-0 home win over fellow League One strugglers Cambridge.

In a scrappy first half, Reading opened up a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from striker Sam Smith – his 12th of the season – and winger Femi Azeez.

Well-struck second-half efforts from Lewis Wing and Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan secured the comprehensive victory.

Reading, still beset by constant cash-flow problems under owner Dai Yongge, began slowly against Cambridge.

United defender Michael Morrison found space and nodded narrowly wide early on from a Liam Bennett cross.

But Royals went ahead when Cambridge’s James Gibbons made a hash of an intended clearance from a Harvey Knibbs cross and Smith pounced for his fifth goal in as many games.

Reading increased their advantage in the second minute of first-half stoppage time when Azeez ran through unchallenged on a quick break and beat keeper Jack Stevens with a fierce near-post shot.

Cambridge could have halved the gap soon after the interval, with home keeper Joel Pereira making a superb double save to deny Elias Kachunga from close range.

Pereira’s heroics proved crucial, with Wing effectively making the game safe for Royals when firing over United’s substitute keeper Will Mannion in the 62nd minute.

Ehibhatiomhan struck with five minutes left, lashing past Mannion from the edge of the area for his 10th goal of the campaign.

Proud Reading boss Ruben Selles saluted his team’s spirit and progress after they pocketed a precious point at promotion-chasing Peterborough.

The struggling Royals twice battled back from behind to share the spoils with the League One top-scorers, as goals from Sam Smith and Femi Azeez cancelled out efforts from Josh Knight and Ephron Mason-Clark.

Reading remain in the bottom four of League One, but Selles said: “The point is good for us, but the performance we produced and knowing we can compete in this type of game is even better.

“Peterborough are one of the best opponents in the division and getting a result here is very difficult, so I’m proud of my team.

“We had some problems as it was a new team with a lot of new characters. It took a little bit of time for us to find the connection but I think they have found it now. For me it is a pleasure to work with these players.

“The target is to be a team that is difficult to beat, that want to play together, that want to fight together and want to do great things which we showed today.

“Femi has become a very important player for us. He can make the difference with the assist and the goal, but he is also a big part of what we do defensively.”

Reading fell behind to Knight’s header six minutes before the break and were fortunate not to concede two penalties in the opening half.

Second-placed Posh then saw a Hector Kyprianou strike ruled out for offside just before substitute Smith squeezed in a 63rd-minute equaliser.

Azeez hit a post before Mason-Clark again put Reading on the ropes by restoring Posh’s lead in the 69th minute.

But the visitors refused to roll over as Azeez levelled with five minutes to go to secure just their fifth away point.

Peterborough manager Darren Ferguson said: “I’m disappointed not to win a game that I felt we deserved to win.

“We twice led in the game, we had 20 shots and 16 corners, but the one thing we couldn’t do was get ourselves into a two-goal lead.

“I think we should have had penalties and I’m told Hector was onside when he scored, but what can you do? Everyone makes mistakes.

“Our response to conceding a goal was fantastic to go and get 2-1 up, but we just couldn’t kill the game off and ended up giving away a sloppy goal late on.

“There are going to be plenty of dropped points – especially over this period – but we’re on a really good run and we keep going.

“Reading are a good team and the manager is doing a good job. I don’t know why they are where they are.

“I knew it would be a very tough game and that proved to be the case.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.