Hal and Ali leave Dyche furious
BURNLEY boss Sean Dyche was left apoplectic after Hal RobsonKanu scuffed up the penalty spot – moments before Andre Gray had his kick saved in a stalemate at the Madejski Stadium.
Referee James Adcock awarded the Clarets a golden chance to jump back into the automatic places when Gray was tripped by Ali AlHabsi.
But the striker saw his effort denied by the Oman international moments after Robson-Kanu had tampered with the white dot.
“What I did see was their player kicking the spot up,” fumed Dyche. “I certainly hope my players never conduct themselves in that manner.
“It was bizarre behaviour and there is no place for it in the modern game. I would be surprised if any of their players were OK with him doing that. I also saw the keeper come off the line before he hit it – I thought you have to stay on your line.
“You’d put a fair chance on Andre scoring, the rest of it is just gamesmanship. I just wouldn’t expect one of my players to kick the ball and scuff up the spot as he’s ready to take it. It is really poor.”
Championship top scorer Gray had an afternoon of misery, which began with an awful miss, somehow pinging over from six yards after good wide play from George Boyd.
Boyd was then allowed to run at the Royals defence but his strike from the edge of the area drifted over, before Gray glanced a header well wide.
The best chance of the first half fell to Reading’s January signing from Bournemouth, Yann Kermorgant – his quality downward header from Robson-Kanu’s cross wonderfully kept out by Tom Heaton.
Centre back Paul McShane almost steered in a back-post header but nifty footwork on the line managed to scramble away the danger and moments later Lucas Piazon failed to send his free header on target.
Hapless Gray was back to his old tricks when he failed to divert Matt Lowton’s delicious delivery from five yards out – again an open goal.
Then it became the Al-Habsi show, firstly parrying David Jones’ cheeky free-kick against the post, as the midfielder spotted a gap inside the post.
He quickly redeemed himself after taking down Gray, although his furious protestations would suggest there was no contact, to save the spot kick.
The frontman had hit the penalty sweetly, but the Oman international flung himself to his left to deny him – cue another angry confrontation with Gray.
The visitors had plenty of attacks to find the three points to send them into the automatic places, but could not find the cutting edge.
And Reading boss Brian McDermott was happy with a point against a promotion candidate.
“We are inching towards where we want to get to,” he said.
“We are keeping clean sheets and have the FA Cup to look forward to. It is great to get a result like that against a team I am sure will be in the Premier League next season.
“They have great wingers and a top quality striker in Andre Gray – they have the formula to go up.
“For us, we are just trying to make the season as exciting as we can for the fans.”
On the penalty he added: “Ali says he didn’t touch him and I’ve seen it three or four times and I’m still not sure. They were incensed for a reason, but it was the right outcome. It was a great save.”