News and Views

Reading Safe As Disappointing Season Finally Ends

06 May 2018
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading finished their hugely disappointing season with an impressive result at Premier League bound Cardiff City. The 0-0 draw would have been enough to keep Reading up regardless of other results, but with Burton and Barnsley both losing, Reading were always going to be safe on the final day of the Championship season. Cardiff found themselves in a similar situation with Fulham's defeat also meaning they were promoted as runners-up whatever the scoreline with the Royals. With Cardiff already promoted and Reading already safe from relegation, and with home fans eager to get on the pitch to celebrate promotion the last few minutes were spent with Reading just knocking the ball around the defence waiting for the final whistle. That summed up the game perfectly - perhaps with scorelines elsewhere the early pressure quickly evaporated and both teams then lacked urgency and were happy to settle for a point with time running out.

Before the match everyone was expecting Reading to take a battering at the hands of Cardiff. Before heading to a side who will be playing in the top tier next season, the Royals had let in seven goals and scored none in their last two league defeats. Reading's last 16 games had seen them earn just 2 wins. Meanwhile Cardiff had secured 11 wins over the same period and despite a wobble towards the end of the season they had still won three out of their last four games. It was a surprise to find Reading deep in Cardiff territory for the opening five minutes but soon enough the game turned and it was Reading who found the ball in their half for most of the rest of the game.

Despite beginning to dominate the game Cardiff struggled to really test Mannone, and were limited to longer range efforts that failed to find the target. Despite a bright start Reading found themselves on the defensive for the rest of the game and finished after notching up just a single off-target shot in the entire game. I imagine the neutral watching on Sky TV had turned off long before the final whistle. Despite taking it to the last day of the season, you always felt that Reading would stay up. Next season could be a different story if this form and this football continues.

Reading finished the season in 20th place and three points away from the drop. That's our lowest placing since our promotion out of the third tier in 2002. Paul Clement has a tough job ahead of him to turn Reading's fortunes around next season.

Royals Set To Lose At Cardiff But Stay Up

05 May 2018
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading enter the final day of the Championship tomorrow knowing that there is still an outside chance of relegation, after a hugely disappointing season. The Royals will be relegated to League One if they lose at Cardiff, Birmingham draw or win, and both Barnsley and Burton also win their games. It's a hugely unlikely situation and the most likely outcome remains a solid defeat for Reading at Cardiff City and Reading staying up thanks to someone else dropping vital points at the bottom of the table.

Cardiff City need a victory to guarantee second place in the table and promotion to the Premier League. Reading are seen as perfect opposition to pick up the three points they need. However, if Reading could somehow cause a shock, then just a single point would guarantee our survival regardless of other results. Sky have chosen to screen the game live (12:30pm kick-off) so they can capture the scenes as Cardiff secure promotion. It will be a strange day for Reading fans if everything goes as expected and we secure safety on the back of another heavy defeat.

Final Day Fixtures - How Reading could still go down:

  • Cardiff -v- Reading - First of all we would have to lose at Cardiff - obviously very likely.
  • Birmingham -v- Fulham - Birmingham would need at least a point to move above us, which is going to be very difficult against a Fulham side who themselves have to win to have a chance of second place. Fulham will need Reading to help them out at Cardiff or it's the play-offs for them.
  • Derby -v- Barnsley - Barnsley have to win at Derby. However Derby need at least a point to be sure of a play-off finish.
  • Preston -v- Burton - Burton have to win at Preston. Preston must win to have any chance of catching Derby and stealing the last play-off place.

All the teams that need to get results to send Reading down are playing against teams that themselves need results to have a shot at promotion. It's unthinkable that both Barnsley and Burton could win on the road against play-off chasing teams. With everything considered it seems very unlikely that Reading could end up in the bottom three on the final day - but it's definitely not impossible.

Three Games To Secure Championship Football

20 April 2018
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading hit the road this weekend hoping to take some of their home form with them on their travels. Since Paul Clement took over as Reading boss after the departure of Jaap Stam, the Royals have picked up 7 points from a possible 9 to ease relegation fears. Although Reading are still not yet safe from the drop, a victory at Sheffield Wednesday would almost certainly mean that the Royals will be playing Championship football again next season.

However, a Reading defeat combined with a Barnsley victory at Leeds United would make for very nervous times as the season draws to a close. After Saturday's trip to Hillsborough, Reading wrap up the season with a home game against Ipswich Town before ending the season at promotion chasing Cardiff City. With just three games left it is definitely all to play for as Reading, Bolton, Birmingham and Barnsley all look to drop each other into the final relegation place with Sunderland and Burton already looking doomed. Reading fans will be keeping their eyes on the scores at Birmingham who play at home against Sheffield United and Bolton who host already promoted Wolves. Reading could off course stay up without winning another game, but it would be great to secure some points and avoid the bottom three due to our own efforts.

Sheffield Wednesday themselves weren't far from the bottom three earlier this year, but four wins from their last six games has guaranteed them a mid-table finish and they will go into the game with nothing to play for. Having picked up form recently they are favourites for the win and also have the luxury of the return from injury of a number of first team players. Clement will have the same squad to pick from this week after last weekend's 2-2 home draw with Sunderland. Bacuna will still be missing from the team due to suspension after his red card at Fulham. On-loan Tommy Elphick, who looked so good on his arrival, could return before the end of the season as he has returned to training but this game will come too soon.

Reading's recent form against Sheffield Wednesday has been excellent despite our FA Cup defeat at Hillsborough earlier this season. Before that we were undefeated in six games against them including a 2-0 away win in our last league fixture at their place. Kermorgant and Popa scored the all important goals in that fixture roughly this time last year. Earlier this season we shared the points in a game with no goals at the Madejski Stadium.

Recent Meetings With Sheffield Wednesday

26 January 2018 FA Cup Sheff Wed (Away) L: 1-3 Read report...
25 November 2017 Championship Sheff Wed (HOME) D: 0-0 Read report...
17 March 2017 Championship Sheff Wed (Away) W: 2-0 Read report...
10 December 2016 Championship Sheff Wed (HOME) W: 2-1 Read report...
23 January 2016 Championship Sheff Wed (HOME) D: 1-1 Read report...
19 August 2015 Championship Sheff Wed (Away) D: 1-1 Read report...
31 January 2015 Championship Sheff Wed (HOME) W: 2-0 Read report...
20 September 2014 Championship Sheff Wed (Away) L: 0-1 Read report...
08 February 2014 Championship Sheff Wed (HOME) L: 0-2 Read report...
02 November 2013 Championship Sheff Wed (Away) L: 2-5 Read report...