Reading manager Steve Coppell says his side deserved no more than a draw in their clash with Middlesbrough at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday.
Coppell had seen his side go ahead after 54 minutes thanks to a nicely timed lob from Dave Kitson before Boro substitute Tuncay Sanli equalised in the 83rd minute.
The Royals had not won in three games before the tie and Coppell is positive that progress can be made to lift them up the league.
"We certainly weren't fluid but we did get our noses in front," he said. "In the cold light of day I'd probably say 1-1 was deserved.
"Even at this early stage in the season the significance of the game was important and we were frightened to do anything in the first half.
"At least in the second half we had a more positive impact on the game, without being anything like what we're capable of, the force we can be.
"It's almost as if sometimes you have to apologise for a goal like that, but a goal is a goal, the goalkeeper kicked the ball well."
Coppell was pleased with the performance of his two strikers, Kevin Doyle and Kitson, and hopes his side can begin to secure more points away from home.
"They're both sharp up front and have an understanding which is growing with time. We certainly need them both to be in goalscoring form as the season goes on.
"It was poor defensively. We were under a bit of pressure and had a couple of challenges halfway in our half. The ball broke wide and from that position we should have had enough men to cope with the threat.
"Tuncay just got in front of Sonko and 1-1 was a blow to the heart for us.
"We have to improve our away form or it's going to be a sticky season. I've got a good bunch of lads and we'll come in next week to look at what went wrong."