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.

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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