KELVIN Ehibhatiomhan’s impact off the bench helped Reading to rescue a point in the local derby on their first trip to Oxford United for 20 years.
The U’s went in front through Mark Harris who tapped in from close range before an own goal from Ciaron Brown helped Reading to claim a point
Reading remain in the relegation zone but add another point on the board to maintain their upturn in form.
After picking up a knock last weekend against Leyton Orient, Tom Holmes wasn’t fit enough to start which meant he was replaced by Amadou Mbengue.
Michael Craig also returned to the starting 11 to take the place of Charlie Savage in central midfield, while there were places on the bench for Ben Elliott. Tivonge Rushesha and Kelvin Abrefa.
After a cagey start to proceedings, it was Oxford who settled the better of the sides in front of their home supporters as the teams met in the Kassam for the first time since 2004.
Royals captain Andy Yiadom was kept busy down the right and showed enough tenacity to keep out Greg Leigh’s cross before he prevented the corner.
Tyler Bindon had to get across quickly in the box to cover for his teammates after Mbengue and Yiadom had let the U’s venture into the box,
The Royals started to grow into the contest and found some attacking rhythm of their own with the best move of the half so far involving Paul Mukairu before Lewis Wing’s shot flew just wide.
A good spell from Reading saw them cause some problems without being able to affect the scoreline as Harvey Knibbs’ cut back evaded Sam Smith in the middle before Wing saw a shot blocked.
Michael Craig was first to go in the referee’s notebook after he was cautioned for a poorly timed challenge.
First blood went to the hosts with 33 minutes on the clock when Cameron Brannagan managed to squeeze his cross past both Mbengue and David Button to find Mark Harris who tapped home from a few yards away.
Some late Oxford pressure at the end of the half ended with a tame shot from Ruben Rodrigues being easily collected by Button as the hosts went into the break a goal to the good.
Selles’ side showed some better signs early into the second-half, winning an early corner.
The Royals fans and players wanted a penalty when Knibbs appeared to have been dragged down in the area, but the ref wasn’t interested in the appeals.
Royals’ skipper stayed alert at the back post to head away a dangerous clipped cross with Oxford shirts lurking for a tap in.
Reading launched a counter attack of their own after Oxford had felt aggrieved to have not been given a free-kick, but Azeez scuffed his shot well wide.
Selles tried a roll of the dice with a triple substitution with a little over 15 minutes remaining after a turgid second-half.
Charlie Savage, Clinton Mola and Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan replaced Dorsett, Craig and Mukairu.
Azeez almost broke through the Oxford back line after connecting with Smith’s flick on, but his heavy first touch let him down and allowed Oxford to recover.
Ehibhatiomhan made his impact felt quickly as he burst down the left touchline before breaking into the box. He fired the ball into the box which was turned in for an own goal by Ciaron Brown to put Reading level.
Momentum was now with the away team as Wing smacked a shot at goal that was claimed by the keeper.
A fourth Reading change of the afternoon saw Ben Elliott replace Femi Azeez in the 87th minute.
After four minutes of added time, the referee sounded the final whistle and the points were shared for the second meeting in a row.
Reading: Button, Yiadom, Bindon, Mbengue, Dorsett, Craig, Wing, Knibbs, Azeez, Mukairu, Smith
Subs: Pereira, Mola, Elliott, Savage, Ehibhatiomhan, Abrefa, Rushesha
Oxford United: Eastwood, Brown, Moore, Brannagan, Harris, Burey, McGuane, Goodrham, Rodrigues, Leigh, Negru
Subs:Marriott, Thorniley, McEachran, Henry, Dale, Matete, O’Donkor
Goals: Harris 32’, Brown (og) 76’