IF Wednesday was dramatic, Saturday afternoon at the Madejski Stadium was anything but. Never has there been a more obvious case of two sides with nothing to play for.

When the season started, both Rovers and Reading would have hoped to be pushing for promotion right now.

As it was, Saturday’s game in a sunny Berkshire had all the atmosphere and tension of a particularly uneventful pre-season friendly.

The official statistics recorded only two shots on target in the entire 90 minutes, both for Reading.

Rovers wide man Ben Marshall will probably argue that his deflected effort in the first half should have counted too, but it was never in any danger of actually beating goalkeeper Adam Federici.

Even the potential talking points of the game never materialised.

Reading striker Yakubu never got the chance to face his old club as he surprisingly remained an unused substitute throughout, while highly-rated Rovers midfielder John O’Sullivan also stayed on the bench despite suggestions pre-match that the 21-year-old will get his opportunity in the remaining games of the season.

Perhaps that chance will come tomorrow at Birmingham, the place where he made his first-team debut two years ago.

Neither Rovers or Reading will be going up or down this season, of that we can be certain.

Blackburn may not be mathematically out of the play-off race, but even the most committed optimists have now accepted that a 13-point gap is not going to be bridged with only five games left to play.

Rovers’ season effectively ended with a brave FA Cup defeat to Liverpool amid an Ewood Park cauldron last week.

Reading do have an FA Cup semi final to look forward to on Saturday, when they face Arsenal at Wembley.

Royals boss Steve Clarke is refusing to let his players talk about that cup clash right now, but the ‘que sera’ chants that briefly went round the stadium during the second half told you where Reading’s focus really lies.

The home side looked like a team who did not want to pick up injuries or suspensions ahead of the big day.

Rovers’ performance was good and bad in equal measure.

They were completely ineffective in attack, with Jordan Rhodes and Chris Brown virtually anonymous up front - the latter a surprise inclusion after passing a late fitness test.

They were not helped by a complete lack of service, with only Marshall of the midfield four looking remotely like creating anything.

Rovers did defend impressively though, particularly considering the fact that they went into the game with Matt Kilgallon as their only recognised centre back after losing Shane Duffy, Grant Hanley, Doneil Henry and Alex Baptiste to injury in recent weeks.

Having gone 10 league games without a win on the road earlier in the season, Rovers have now avoided defeat in each of their last seven away games in all competitions - conceding only three goals in those matches.

Reading were wearing a one-off kit for the match specially designed by 14-year-old fan Ryan Duval, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy and accompanied the teams out on to the pitch before kick-off.

They made the brighter start as defender Alex Pearce headed over before Simon Eastwood - preferred to Jason Steele in goal - made a good save to deny Hal Robson-Kanu.

But Reading were not creating clear cut chances and Rovers were offering nothing going the other way.

The first half was soon drifting listlessly as fans pondered what they were having for tea and whether every league game until May 2 would be like this. Of Rovers’ five remaining opponents, Birmingham, Nottingham Forest and Huddersfield are all mid-table too.

Marshall had Rovers’ only effort of the first half, although the visitors did spark into life briefly at the start of the second period when Brown saw a header deflected wide.

Finally it looked like the game might begin, but it was a false dawn. Thirty five bleak, barren and blank minutes later Reading’s former Russian international Pavel Pogrebnyak - living off reputation alone these days - broke threateningly but then just fell over. It summed up the match.

The only real incident of note came in stoppage time, when substitute Hope Akpan met Mackie’s corner with a header and Marshall had to clear off the line.

It was a brief moment of drama that somehow didn’t quite belong in this game.