STOKE CITY were left ruing a lack of luck as Reading escaped the bet365 Stadium with a point on Saturday.
Despite dominating the encounter, Nathan Jones’ men were unable to fashion an opener on a wet and very windy afternoon in North Staffordshire.
The woodwork twice coming to the Royals’ rescue during the opening 45 minutes. Firstly, Tom Ince saw an effort cannon across the line via the inside of the post following a lay off by the fit again Sam Vokes. Then, it was the Welsh international himself who was denied his second goal in Potters colours in almost identical fashion. James McClean sent a teasing centre just inches out of reach of senior debutant Verlinden, who produced a man-of-the-match winning display on his maiden outing.
At the other end Callum Harriott forced Jack Butland into his only real save of the afternoon midway through the first-half, whilst John Swift thumped a half volley over the bar from 20-yards.
The swirling wind was having a major say on proceedings, although it was the hosts, who are now seven unbeaten, who were undoubtedly dealing with the conditions better.
That said, further opportunities to break the deadlock were relatively few and far between following the interval, although Verlinden did head wide when he should have at the very least hit the target just on the hour mark.
There were half opportunities for Ince and Afobe , although neither were able to hit the target when well positioned on the edge of the penalty area.
A frustrating end , although Jones will point to a fourth successive cleansheet and the emergence of Verlinden as two of the major positives to stem from the afternoon. Still much room for improvement as a cutting edge is sadly lacking.