Steve Bruce said his Aston Villa side created enough chances to “win two games”street they were denied victory against winless Reading by Sam Baldock’s 93rd-minute penalty.
James Chester headed against the bar in a first half dominated by the hosts and led when debutant winger Anwar El Ghazi’s cross was headed home by Ahmed Elmohamady.
But they became nervy late on, Orjan Nyland tipping Sam Baldock’s shot onto the bar from just three yards before the Reading striker equalised from the spot after Chester brought down Josh Sims.
“Who would want to do my flaming job? I’ve had Chester for the best part of six years and I’ve never seen him make a challenge like that,” Bruce told BBC WM 95.6.
“The cardinal error when you’re a defender – you never go to the ground, not in the penalty area.”
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Villa lost playmaker Jack Grealish at half-time – to what Bruce described as a “bad dead leg” – and, while the home side had 21 shots to Reading’s 10, they had only one more on target.
Bruce’s side have drawn three Championship games in a row, while Paul Clement’s Royals have picked up two away draws in four days to get off the mark.
The late drama went in stark contrast to both sides’ midweek results, when it was Villa who scored a 95th-minute leveller against Brentford, while Reading spurned a two-goal advantage at Blackburn.
“We’ve got to eradicate the individual errors that are starting to creep in and cost us, and the basics of the Championship are we’ve done enough to win two games there,” added Bruce.
“We didn’t get the second one, but look like we’re going around the right route. We’ve had a decent start, it could’ve been a great start.”
Bruce’s latest addition Yannick Bolasie – signed on a season-long loan from Everton earlier on Saturday – was watching in the Villa Park stands but it was another recent acquisition in Dutchman El Ghazi who caught the eye with some neat footwork and an in-swinging ball for Elmohamady’s back-post header.
“When he adapts to playing in England I’m sure he’ll be a very decent player,” said Bruce.
“He’s got very decent ability, which you’ve just all seen. He’ll be an asset to us.”
Reading manager Paul Clement told BBC Radio Berkshire:
“Aston Villa are a really good side and before the game we’d have taken the point. It’s a good point for us.
“I learned a lot about the team today, especially after we had that big chance on 82 minutes, a fantastic double save from their goalkeeper. The players didn’t fold and pushed to the very end.
“I’ve not seen it [the penalty] back. When I saw it in real time, I thought it was 50-50. But we had one go against us in midweek, and the fact is it was given.”