David Wagner wouldn’t be drawn into a debate over the performance of referee Jeremy Simpson after an eventful FA Cup clash finished all-square.
The third-round tie at the John Smith’s Stadium featured a failed penalty appeal by both sides before one that was given, allowing Town top-scorer Nahki Wells to claim a stoppage-time leveller with his ninth goal of the season.
To the fury of Town fans in a 9,236 crowd (506 from Reading), Lancastrian whistler Simpson yellow carded Wells when he went down under a challenge by Reading keeper Ali Al-Habsi in the 63rd minute.
Town, denied the chance to go two up after Jamie Paterson’s opener, then unsuccessfully claimed Wells was fouled in the build-up to Reading’s 71st-minute equaliser by Matej Vydra.
Then Reading failed in their appeal that Harry Bunn had committed a penalty-box foul on Vydra before Hal Robson-Kanu put the visitors ahead with three minutes of normal time remaining.
There was still more debate to come as former Town midfielder Oliver Norwood, Reading’s skipper for the day, was ruled to have fouled Bunn inside rather than outside the area, giving Wells his chance to notch a fourth goal in as many games.
It was only the second Town penalty of the season, the first, against Bristol City last month, having been missed by Emyr Huws, who was ruled out of Saturday’s cup-tie through illness.
“It is always bad if after such a good game, we have to speak about the referee,” said Wagner.
“There were big moments where the referee made some decisions which in my opinion weren’t right.
“From my position, it was a clear foul on Nahki Wells, but the referee was nearer.
“Still, it doesn’t make sense to talk about it for too long. We have to accept it.
“We are still in the competition, which is good, and I’m very satisfied with the performance of the squad.
“We did very well. We were good with the reactive pressure, we dominated the game other than a short period towards the end when we had some problems, we created chances and we had speed in our game.”