The Championship playoffs produced a second goalless draw in two days as Reading were held 0-0 at home to Cardiff on Friday.Swansea City had already come away from Nottingham Forest’s City Ground with honours even from Thursday’s semi-final first leg, despite the visitors going down to 10 men inside the first two minutes after the sending off of Neil Taylor.
Swansea’s Welsh rivals Cardiff were not disadvantaged in quite the same manner on their visit to the Madejski Stadium.
But they did have to contend without the services of key forward Craig Bellamy, who was forced off by a hamstring injury after just 17 minutes.
It was Bellamy – on loan from FA Cup finalists Manchester City – who enjoyed one of the few clear-cut chances of an edgy contest.
His 11th-minute strike across the face of goal looked to be heading for the far corner and it took a quick reaction save from Australia international goalkeeper Adam Federici to preserve the deadlock.
Michael Chopra, himself lacking match-fitness, replaced Bellamy and with the departing Cardiff captain went much of the visitors’ sense of adventure.
The hosts slowly worked their way into the game, with Hal Robson-Kanu and Jobi McAnuff enjoying half-chances shortly before the break.
Matthew Mills went close to scoring early in the second half when Cardiff goalkeeper Stephen Bywater let a cross slip from his grasp, but the error surprised the Reading centre-back and he failed to seize on the gift.
An injury saw Robson-Kanu replaced by Mathieu Manset, who picked up where his predecessor left off, combining well with central midfielder Jem Karacan but still failing to create a genuine chance for the hosts.
Peter Whittingham might have given Cardiff a spectacular lead against the run of play when he fizzed a long-range effort narrowly wide of goal on 65 minutes.
Four minutes later, Cardiff full-back Dekel Keinan forced Federici into another save from Whittingham’s corner.
Down the other end, Bywater had to work to keep out an effort from French forward Manset in the 70th minute, but it proved to be last real chance of note.
The draw leaves both teams with everything to play for heading into the second leg at the Cardiff City Stadium on Tuesday.