READING FC and Stevenage are set for an FA Cup third-round replay after a stalemate at Lamex Stadium.

Both sides lacked a cutting edge on the day and will do it all again at Madejski Stadium the week after next.

The bore draw means Royals' winless run now stretches to seven matches in all competitions.

And failing to beat League Two opposition at the first attempt will do little to ease the pressure on manager Jaap Stam.

Darren Sarll's hosts ruffled Royals' feathers with their high-intensity approach.

The visitors were also guilty of over-playing in the wrong areas which invited more pressure from the pumped-up hosts.

But when Stam's men looked in deep trouble they were bailed out time after time by stand-in keeper Anssi Jaakkola.

The big Finn produced a succession of top saves to keep his side in it and ultimately frustrate the home side.

As expected, Stam rested a number of players for the tie and gave others some much-needed game time.

Jaakkola replaced Vito Mannone while 19-year-old full-back Omar Richards made his fifth first-team appearance and first start in the FA Cup.

There were further recalls for Tiago Ilori, Dave Edwards, George Evans and Liam Kelly, while Garath McCleary took sole responsibility up front with Yann Kermorgant on the bench and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson missing through illness.

Stevenage, meanwhile, handed a first start to on-loan Millwall keeper Tom King.

Pressure had been mounting on Stam after no wins in six in the league before kick off.

And his side showed early signs of nerves as Stevenage put them under immediate pressure.

The hosts won a series of corners in the first five minutes and nearly took the lead when Ben Kennedy's header from six yards out deflected just wide off Leandro Bacuna.

Royals invited more trouble when a number of sloppy passes went astray and Danny Newton almost punished them by heading narrowly over from a dangerous cross.

Boro threatened again soon after when further hesitation from Reading's defence almost ended in an own goal.

Stam's men finally began to settle but were unable to capitalise on an opening in the 20th minute when Kelly under-hit a pass intended for Mo Barrow who would have been clean through.

Yet Reading were indebted to Jaakkola for a superb fingertip save to keep out Ben Wilmot's 28th minute header from their sixth corner of the game.

Then moments later Newton rifled a shot narrowly over from just outside the Reading box.

Royals just weren't at the races - but they almost snatched the lead four minutes before the break.

Stam's men had been gaining territory and forced a corner. Kelly swung it in and Edwards' clever header was brilliantly saved by the alert King.

The visitors ended the half strongly, but Evans and McCleary failed to hit the target with further opportunities.

Stevenage, though, threatened first after the restart when Newton drilled a 25-yard effort a foot wide of the post which all stemmed from a poor Royals clearance.

Then Jaakkola was forced to make two more crucial saves to keep the home side at bay.

The Finland international dived full-stretch to palm Joe Martin's long-range free-kick over the bar in the 53rd minute.

Then six minutes later he produced another vital stop to keep out a stinging volley from Stevenage defender Jack King.

Reading were struggling to create clear-cut chances, and a rare opportunity on 74 minutes ended with Kermorgant shooting over from a Richards centre.

Back came Boro through Newton, but Jaakkola got his angles spot on again to save the striker's shot at his near post.

Kelly also went close at the other end, Barrow sliding the ball in from the left only for the midfielder to sky his shot from 15 yards.

And Kelly also took the wrong decision to shoot with a minute left on the clock when Kermorgant was much better placed after more good play from Barrow.

But Stam's men were hanging on in the closing stages as Stevenage sensed a memorable victory.

Newton's header lacked the power to beat Jaakola as the game entered time added on.

Then Bacuna's last-ditch lunge inside his own six-yard box went out for a corner which Reading defended without much conviction.

But neither side possessed enough quality up front to settle the tie, with the replay likely to take place at Madejski Stadium on Tuesday, January 16.

Stevenage: T.King, Henry, Wilmot (Franks 89), J.King, Martin, Pett, McKee, Smith, Kennedy (Samuel 73), Godden, Newton. Subs not used: Fryer, Wilkinson, Gorman, Whelpdale, Gray. Booked: Newton 37, Pett 90.

Reading: Jaakkola, Bacuna (Gunter 90), Richards, McShane (c), Ilori, Van den Berg, Evans, Edwards (Swift 81), Kelly, McCleary (Kermorgant 65) , Barrow. Subs not used: Mannone, Aluko, Clement, Blackett. Booked: Richards 56, Bacuna 78.

Referee: Ben Toner.

Attendance: 3,877 (Reading 1,393).

  • The draw for the FA Cup fourth round will take place live on BBC 2 at 7pm on Monday.