Reading’s Welsh manager Mark Bowen claimed clubs are powerless to prevent anti-social behaviour from individual fans after an away supporter was ejected for making an offensive gesture during his team’s 1-1 draw at Cardiff City.
The second instalment of Cardiff and Reading’s winter trilogy echoed their bad-spirited encounter of six days before with a draw and constant taunts between rival Welsh and English fans.
Yakou Meite’s opener for Reading was cancelled out by Callum Paterson, but once again it was the spiteful atmosphere between rival fans that captured much attention.
Last week’s FA Cup tie had led to the arrest of four Cardiff supporters, allegations of racism and homophobia.
This time, just prior to Cardiff City fans signing about Emiliano Sala, a Reading fan was dragged away by stewards after making gestures to the home supporters.
Another fan was intercepted after invading the pitch, while both managers were spoken to at length by referee Simon Hooper and there were three bookings for rash challenges as tempers frayed.
“Unfortunately, you are never going to stop single individuals, maybe if they have had a drink too many, coming out with ridiculous things,” said Bowen.
“It never stops. We all pray it will, but it never does. Thankfully, they are isolated incidents. I grew up with Cardiff fans, living just down the road from them, they are a vociferous lot and they really get behind their team.
“It was a feisty affair, but the referee handled it well in my opinion. There were one or two running battles on the pitch, but like good professionals they came off the pitch and shook hands and said, ‘see you on Tuesday’.
Cardiff manager Neil Harris said: “I heard a raised level of noise, but I didn’t see what went on with the stewards. I can’t comment because I’m not aware of what went on.”
Meite put Reading ahead in the eighth minute with a sharp header from John Swift’s cross.
Cardiff dominated the second-half, though, and when a long throw forced Michael Morrison to head against his own post, Paterson swept the ball home to level in the 70th minute.
Cardiff later confirmed deadline day deals had been completed for Nottingham Forest winger Albert Adomah and Wolves defender Dion Sanderson – both on loan until the end of the season.
Adomah, 32, joined Forest from Aston Villa on a free transfer last summer.
But the Ghana international has made only five starts for the Championship club this season, featuring mostly as a substitute.
Sanderson, 20, is a product of the Wolves academy and can play at centre-back or right-back.
But Harris has surprisingly chosen to allow Bluebirds full-back Lee Peltier to leave for West Brom on a free transfer.