Date: 24th October 2011 at 2:01pm
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Steve De Ridder’s 80th minute strike was enough to earn Championship leaders Southampton a point, despite having captain Dean Hammond sent off.

The Belgian came off the bench to fire home a left footed strike with just 10 minutes left on the clock to give 10-man Southampton a crucial point as they keep their place at the top of the table.

Mikele Leigertwood gave the home side the advantage in the 71st minute when the midfielder reacted the quickest after Jobi McAnuff’s free kick cannoned back off the post.

The former QPR player managed to fire a low shot which beat Kelvin Davis and gave the Royals a deserved 1-0 lead.

Before De Ridder’s late equaliser, Hammond was given a second yellow card after the skipper caught McAnuff late on.

The Royals started the game brightly and Davis had to make two vital saves to deny firstly Simon Church and then Leigertwood .

The Saints were once again without midfielder Adam Lallana, who remained out with a foot injury – and the league leaders were lacking the cutting edge to create a genuine chance to trouble Adam Federici in the Reading goal.

After more pressure from Reading – they were finally rewarded in the 71st minute. McAnuff was unlucky to see his free kick hit the post, but Leigertwood was there to fire the home side 1-0 up against the Saints.

Nine minutes later substitute De Ridder showed to manager Nigel Adkins exactly what he can do when he displayed composure and class to equalise.

Guly Do Prado played in the 24-year-old who cut inside onto his left foot and smashed the ball in off the bar to send the 4,200 travelling Saints fans into jubilation.

The draw gave Southampton a vital point to give them a three point lead over Middlesbrough in second place. Boro come to St. Mary’s this weekend for which will once again be a massive game on the south coast.