JACK Colback admits Sunderland shouldn’t have come away from the Madejski Stadium empty-handed after blowing the chance to extend their unbeaten run to four games.
The Black Cats were distinctly below-par against resurgent Reading on Saturday, yet looked the more likely winners during the closing stages in Berkshire with the teams level at 1-1.
Alfred N’Diaye slashed wildly into the side netting before debutant Danny Graham was twice denied with headers from six yards out.
But with five minutes to go, it was Reading who sealed all three points when Jimmy Kebe grabbed his second of the game to move Brian McDermott’s two points clear of the bottom three.
Colback said: “We’ve come away with nothing when we certainly should have got something.
“I don’t think it was a great game.
“Reading are fighting for their lives and it was always going to be tough.
“We had some opportunities. Alfie (N’Diaye) went through on the keeper, who then made a good save on Danny – so to lose it after that was very disappointing.”
Sunderland failed to heed the warning signs from Reading after former Black Cats defender Ian Harte had persistently threatened from the free-kicks which the visitors continued to concede on the edge of the area.
When Titus Bramble needlessly fouled Reading debutant Nick Blackman near the right-hand corner flag, Harte whipped in an inswinging free-kick which Kebe headed home from point-blank range.
“Harte put dangerous balls in all day and he’s been doing that for the last 10 or 15 years,” added Colback.
“We couldn’t defend it and the guy got in there.
“The winning goal was difficult to take, especially after we’d just had a couple of chances ourselves.”
Meanwhile, Sunderland have been linked with a £2.5m summer move for Wigan midfielder Shaun Maloney.
The 30-year-old played under Martin O’Neill at Celtic before the Sunderland boss brought him south of the border to Aston Villa.
Maloney, who grabbed a dramatic late equaliser for Wigan in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Southampton, only signed a new contract with the Latics a fortnight ago.
But Sunderland are said to be preparing a summer switch for the Scotland international, with Wigan’s Premier League status in jeopardy.