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Nigel Adkins: It's a very important point

14 April 2014

Nigel Adkins expects the Championship Play-Off race to go down to the wire after his Reading side clambered back into the top six following a 1-1 draw with promoted Leicester City.

Danny Drinkwater's long-range rocket, his eighth goal of the season, cancelled out Alex Pearce's header for the Royals, whose wait for a first home win since January goes on.

The Foxes are closing in on the title and are now seven points clear of second-placed Burnley with four games left.

But while the automatic promotion race is all but done and dusted, the battle for the final play-off berth is hotting up and Reading are hanging on in there, now ahead of seventh-placed Brighton thanks to a goal difference of one.

Royals boss Adkins said: "It's a very important point that puts us back in the play-offs with four games to go.

"It will be nail-biting and it's going to go all the way. We're in there battling and we still have a chance."

Pearce headed Reading into the lead from Jordan Obita's cross after 15 minutes, shortly after Leicester's Jamie Vardy had a goal correctly ruled out for offside.

And the hosts should have had a penalty midway through the first half when Dean Hammond virtually punched the ball off Pavel Pogrebnyak's head.

But Drinkwater secured a point for Leicester before the interval when he lashed a half-cleared corner back past Alex McCarthy from 25 yards.

"It's a clear penalty that the referee's not given," added Adkins. "But then later on Kasper Schmeichel saved a shot and he didn't give us a corner either.

"But we've played a team who will be worthy champions and who are going to be in the Premier League next season, we wanted passion and hunger and we got that."

Substitute Mikele Leigertwood, back from a year out injured, took Adkins' plea a little too far when he collected two late yellow cards and was sent off.

Premier League-bound Leicester manager Nigel Pearson had called for a response after Brighton spoiled their promotion party last week by beating them 4-1.

They could have stolen all three points had Drinkwater not aimed a second-half shot straight into the face of Royals keeper McCarthy.

Pearson said: "We were a bit sloppy mentally but I have to balance looking at a performance like that at this stage of the season.

"The players are still putting effort in.

"We had chances to win it but with the problems Reading caused us in the first half it would be miserly for me to be too greedy.

"We had to work hard for a point.

"But it's a point in the right direction. The players will deserve the title if they get it."

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