MATCH REPORT: 2005/2006 Season

Reading: Harper (59 mins), Doyle (65 mins), Oster (70 mins), Long (74 mins, 83 mins).
Derby: -
Half Time: 0-0
Attendance: 22,981

Pos Team P Pts GD
1 READING 41 95 +61
2 Sheff Utd 41 79 +27
3 Watford 41 72 +22
Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Sonko, Ingimarsson, Shorey, Sidwell, Little (Oster 69), Harper, Convey (Hunt 68), Kitson, Doyle (Long 72). Subs Not Used: Stack, Gunnarsson.
Derby: Camp, Jackson, Nyatanga, Moore, Wright, Bolder (Bisgaard 72), Idiakez, Barnes, McIndoe, Smith, Peschisolido (Ainsworth 72). Subs Not Used: Poole, Thirlwell, Hanson.
Reading: -
Derby: -
Referee: A Bates (Staffordshire).

Reading wrapped up the 2005/2006 Championship title, with five games of the season remaining, in plenty of style as Derby Country were demolished by an amazing second half Royals' performance. The first half was very uneventful but the second half was blistering as Reading tore Derby apart, hitting five goals in a twenty-four minute spell. That spell of top drawer football summed up Reading's incredible season that's seen them crowned clear Champions and earning Premiership football for the first time in the club's history. These are unbelievable times for Reading FC - the club and all the fans. Reading have clearly deserved the title all season long, but this was the way to do it with a huge home win. The final whistle saw fans pour onto the Madejski Stadium pitch to celebrate winning the title - which was confirmed when Sheffield United could no longer catch the Royals after only drawing with Stoke City. Shortly after the game ended, the pitch was nearly entirely covered as the players and management appeared outside the directors boxes in the West Stand to spray themselves and the crowd with Champagne. The party that started last weekend as Leicester was set to continue once more.

Things hadn't looked this great at half time. Reading, already promoted of course, only put their foot on the gas after the break when the goals flooded in. A beautiful bit of play by David Kitson set up James Harper to run through the middle to make it 1-0 and put Reading on their way. Bobby Convey put in a perfect cross from the right that Doyle needed the slightest of headers on to guide it into the back of the net to double the lead. With the game now won, Coppell replaced Little and Convey with Oster and Hunt - and both players had immediate impacts for the third goal. Hunt juggled the ball around on the left wing before hooking over a great cross that eventually dropped in the path of Oster who drove it home. Shane Long was next off the bench and hit two goals, including the first with practically his first touch - heading home from Oster's ball in. There was a certain delight with the substitutues having such a big impact and continuing the excellent work the players they had replaced had started. The fifth involved Hunt and Long finished to wrap up a 5-0 victory. The fans went mental once more and the celebrations kicked off in full swing.

Following report by John Wells:
A four goal salvo in the space of fifteen minutes brought Reading's magnificent season to a fitting climax. After a drab first half, Reading sealed the Championship in style which was fitting in view of some of the superb football they have produced throughout the campaign. Following the futile attempts over the public address to persuade the fans to leave the pitch the Madejski Stadium was treated to lengthy celebrations from the players from the upper tier of the West Stand. It was moment to savour for all true Reading supporters who had waited for many years to see their team finally rise to the highest level of domestic football.

There was very little to say about the first half. Doyle, as always, was lively and Sidwell was breaking forward from midfield. The only chances of note were a Sidwell effort which flew over the bar, a good long range effort from Kitson, and Convey shot which looked goalbound until it was deflected over by Kitson.

Derby wasted a good chance just after half time when a long ball caught the defence ball watching and Smith found himself with only Hahanemann to beat, but lifted his shot over the bar. The game burst into life when Harper scored the first goal when he broke clear and smashed the ball home from just inside the box. That was the signal for Reading to step up a gear. A fine angled cross from Convey was glanced confidently past Camp by Doyle for the second, and then Oster, on for Little steered home the third with his first touch. The fourth was breathtaking. Murty played a slick one two wide on the right and then whipped in a vicious cross which Long met perfectly at the near post with a thumping header which gave Camp no chance. High in the West Stand even the Derby directors and guests rose to their feet spontaneously to applaud what was an outstanding finish. Fuelled with confidence from that Long completed the scoring with another very good finish from a tight angle. It might have been six after Long unselfishly provided Oster with a clear opening. Although he struck his shot well it rebounded from the post. Derby's only other real chance was blocked by Murty on the line with the least favoured part of his anatomy for shot-stopping. Hahnemann gathered the ball from the rebound as Murty went to ground for similar reasons.

It was indeed a great day. An historic day. The rest of the season should now be just one big party. I hope the players can find the motivation to treat us to a couple more performances to enjoy over the next few weeks. The is a great deal to look forward to next season but there is still time to wallow in the glory of this one!


Let the party begin! As last week the football seemed to be an afterthought. The atmosphere before the game was terrific. The first half failed to match it and the scoreline at the interval was fair enough. I understand Sir Steve challenged the players at half time and didn't they respond? When was the last time we saw 5 goals in one half without reply and they were quality goals. They mirrored our season as different people scored and one for the future in Long netted twice. How good will he be? the celebrations afterwards were terrific, but didn't mean as much I suspect as last week's. Well done and a quality performance to match a quality season. It just does not get better than this!!!
Ken C

How on earth can you top that? You couldn't write a better fairy story if you tried , unbelievable scenes last week winning promotion at Leicester and now the ultimate , winning the championship in front of a packed Madejski with a demolition job of Derby and a display to grace any football ground in the world . The second half performance was breathtaking , total football with goals coming all over the place and what goals , how apt it was super fit man Harper to get the party going with brilliant finish that nearly burst the net , Jonnie Osters lovely finish , super super Kevin Doyles precision header and wee Shane Long , he'll remember this day for the rest of his life as will all of us , with two magnificent goals . " That's why we're champions , that's why we're champions " rang out all around the stadium and I swear the place was shaking . A Mexican wave went flowing around the ground and everywhere you looked it was sheer happiness with grins from ear to ear . The only possible thing that could have been added was a Murty goal and with every time he got the ball being followed by "shooooott " even though he was in his own half , maybe that would have been too much to ask , hopefully he'll get a penalty before the end of the season . What do we do now ? Five games left with everything completed to great satisfaction by April the bloody first !! I don't give a hoot about points records as records don't last but nobody can take the Championship away from us . The last five games are going to be one big party , and if the atmosphere and singing in the Monks Retreat last night was anything to go by it's going to be one hell of a do ! I'm so proud to be Reading fan and to be associated with such a team , to do what we've done in the manner and the style we have really does make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck . Get the paper look the league table , look at the big C next to Reading and pinch yourself , you won't wake up , it really is true , we are the champions !! UUURRZZZ
Nick Newbury

After the tentative 1st half performance, it was good to see the players relax after the 1st goal & clinch the championship with style & a swagger. The scenes after the match were a joy to behold again. The players & management richly deserve the plaudits for this achievement. As I said last week, WE ARE GOING UP!
Mr Even-Happier (Caversham Royal)

Well what can I say? The last 2 matches have been wonderful for Reading fans everywhere. I only started following the team in the last 3 or 4 years when dragged along by my husband (a life long fan of the Royals). Not one for enjoying being cold and sometimes fed up I now find myself looking forward to seeing the Royals in action both home and away. I'm so pleased to see the 3 Irish lads doing so well for the team. I'm most impressed by Kevin Doyal, the energy he brings to the game and didn't he look hungry for a goal during the Leicester game? So most fitting he was the one to produce our much needed goal towards the end of the match. I need say nothing about yesterdays match, so proud were we again at the performance of the team and what a wonderful feeling it was to pitch invade, shame we couldn't have done that at Leicester! I'm hoping to be able to get tickets to at least some of the matches next season. Caversham Royal will continue to have his season ticket and I'll be there somewhere supporting the team and probably shouting at the Ref!
Caversham Royals Missus

Got an opinion? E-Mail us at
Appropriate submissions will appear on match report pages