Match Report: 2011/2012 Season

28 April 2012: CHAMPIONSHIP
Reading: -
Birmingham City: Rooney (24 mins), Elliott (pen, 75 mins).
Half Time: 1-0

Attendance: 25,516

Pos Team P Pts GD
1 READING 46 89 +28
2 Southampton 46 88 +39
3 West Ham 46 86 +33
Reading: A Federici, I Harte, M Connolly (S Cummings, 62), K Gorkss, A Pearce, J McAnuff, M Leigertwood (B Gunnarsson, 71), J Tabb, H Robson-Kanu, A Le Fondre, S Church.
Subs not used: N Hunt, A McCarthy, J Mills.
Birmingham City: C Doyle, D Murphy, P Ibanez, P Ramage, C Davies, G N'Daw (C Burke, 70), M Gomis, W Elliott, A Townsend, N Redmond, N Zigic (A Rooney, 19) .
Subs not used: J Butland, M King, E Huseklepp.
Reading: Connolly.
Birmingham City: Murphy.
Ref: Robert Madley

Couple of observations.... We were caught out at times by quick, direct players. Connoly and Harte in particular. Something that will come quick and fast in the PL so it's something that needs to be looked at. HRK and Church were in-effective/dump and didn't really do anything all game.
We were unlucky a couple of times. Obviously the penalty, but we had a couple of good chances that should have gone in, and there were some fantastic last ditch clearances from Ibanez and in particular Davies, who I thought was fantastic, the kind of player we need in the Prem.
Fans were great, the inflatables also and fair play to the stewards for tolerating the sheer amount of inflatables, and for not telling us to sit down.

If I'm honest, I went for a good time and I think for the first time in 22 years of supporting this club I really couldn't care about the result. It was just about sending the boys off with one final standing ovation in the Championship. Arrived 10 minutes late as the queue for taxis in town was fairly long and with only two taxis showing up on average every ten minutes. Still, not complaining as we didn't leave the Briar Rose until 11.45.
Performance wise the players pretty much reflected the attitude of our fans. The hard work was done and quite frankly it's all about getting our trophy back tomorrow and therefore it was a performance of rare glimpses of the sort of quality we know we're capable off. But we must strengthen, which we no doubt will. 5-6 players, 2 in defence, 2 in midfield and 2 up front. Then lets see how we get on. But right now I'm still buzzing from what has been a simply amazing season and I'm going to milk these feeling for the next few months ahead.
And if anyone thinks our home support is quiet, my God how quiet were the Brum fans? I really expected better. Couldn't believe 20% of their fans left at full time and not wait to clap their boys lap of honour. Good to see some of them applaud our champions though. Concourse was one big toilet too.
Goodbye Championship.

Inflatables great.
Surrounding areas of ground are a dump.
Atmosphere home fans average at best.
Reading fans good, could of been better. Game did not help.
Game poor from our perspective but team sheet said it all for me.
Redmond - sign him up quality shout. Great player.
Connolly no thank you.
Robson Kanu loaned out.
Church loaned out.
Celebrations at end all a bit muted!!
However, we are champions, pleased I went, looking forward to an exciting pre season and possible signings. Amazing season and fortunate to of been to some of the greatest away days ever.

Sat/stood with other Royals in the home support - the inflatables were brilliant! Great atmosphere.
Stewards were cool too - they knew we were from Reading but didn't hassle us. Not a particularly memorable game, but we do need to sort out our penalty taking.
Worried about how we'll cope with pace in the Premiership as Harte and Connolly were slow, but for now I'm enjoying being Champions!!!

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Adam Rooney sealed Birmingham a Championship play-off date with Blackpool with a 2-0 defeat of Reading. Rooney scored after being teed-up by Nathan Redmond, before Wade Elliott ensured the win from the spot. Elliott also missed a late penalty, while Blues keeper Colin Doyle frustrated the champions by keeping out Ian Harte's spot-kick. Pablo Ibanez also headed against a post for Birmingham, who travel to Blackpool for the semi-final first leg on Friday.

While champions Reading brought the curtain down on a highly successful campaign with a rare defeat, Birmingham head into the play-offs in good form. Chris Hughton's side, who finished fourth in the table, are unbeaten in nine league games. Substitute Rooney, a 19th-minute replacement for the injured Nikola Zigic, had only been on the pitch a short time when he netted his seventh goal of the season after coolly slotting home following clever play by Redmond. In an entertaining match, Ibanez twice frustrated Reading's Adam Le Fondre with clearances off the line before half-time. Ibanez was left cursing himself when he headed against a post following a free-kick by Elliott.

The second-half was just as thrilling as the first 45 minutes. After Harte's penalty, awarded when Ibanez fouled Alex Pearce, had been saved by Doyle, Elliott doubled Birmingham's advantage from the spot following a handball by Jay Tabb. There was still time for Elliott to miss the game's third penalty in the dying moments, Adam Federici doing well to keep out Elliott's effort after substitute Brynjar Gunarsson was adjudged to have fouled Rooney.

Reading manager Brian McDermott:
"It was a funny decision in the first half when the referee didn't give us a penalty which would have made 1-1. There could have been a sending off and he missed it and then he gave three silly penalties in the second half. It is all irrelevant now but I would not have liked to have come here wanting a point and not getting it because of that decision."

BBC Sport