Match Report: 2011/2012 Season

13 April 2012: CHAMPIONSHIP
Reading: Roberts (19 mins), Le Fondre (72 mins, 90 mins).
Southampton: Lambert (48 mins).
Half Time: 0-1.

Attendance: 31,892

Pos Team P Pts GD
1 READING 43 85 +29
2 Southampton 43 82 +34
3 West Ham 42 76 +25
Reading: A Federici, I Harte, K Gorkss, A Pearce, S Cummings, J McAnuff, J Tabb (A Le Fondre, 64), H Mullins, J Kebe, N Hunt, J Roberts (B Afobe, 77).
Subs not used: S Church, A McCarthy, B Gunnarsson.
Southampton: K Davis, D Butterfield, J Hooiveld, D Fox, J Fonte, D Hammond (G Do Prado, 76), R Chaplow (S De Ridder, 53), A Lallana, J Cork, R Lambert, B Sharp .
Subs not used: D Harding, A Martin, F Richardson.
Reading: -
Southampton: Do Prado, Chaplow.
Ref: M L Dean.
Reading took a huge step to securing automatic promotion to the Premiership with a 3-1 victory over previous leaders Southampton tonight. The two sides were level on points before kick-off but the win sees Reading go three points clear of Southampton at the top of the table and, more importantly, nine points clear of West Ham who lie third. With four games left to play the Hammers have a massive task ahead of them to close the gap on the Royals. A win and a draw from the final three games will see Reading promoted, but it could be less if West Ham fail to win all four of their final fixtures.

Southampton dominated the fixture in terms of possession and shots on targets but, despite enjoying most of the game, Reading were the most clinical up front and were solid in defence. Southampton could well have been a few goals up early on but for the brilliance of Federici in the Reading goal. Against the run of play Roberts headed home on 19 minutes to make it 1-0. The home side equalised after the break and for a while looked most likely to pick up the three points, until Le Fondre game off the bench with less than thirty minutes to play. Le Fondre scored the vital second and Southampton then seemed out of the game leaving Le Fondre to score his second on 90 minutes to wrap up a vital victory. It's now all eyes on West Ham as they play Brighton on Saturday, and the possibity of clinching automatic promotion on Tuesday night as Forest visit the Madejski Stadium.

Well, the perfect game plan from the perfect manager.
In some ways playing Brighton on Tuesday set us up nicely for this one. IMHO Brigton passed the ball quicker but Southampton seemed to have a better idea on how to use it. It was good to see two decent teams not trying to con the ref all the time - possibly because Southampton are that good they believed they were going to score goals. I thought we were going to be in for a torrid time without Leightwood and Karacan but, as ever, McDermott had a game plan that restricted them to dead balls and some long range efforts - you can't really ask for more than that away from home.
I'm going to nail my colours to the mast - McDermott has put together the best Reading team I've ever seen. The 106 had better players and played better football, but McDermott has extracted every ounce out of the squad. I'm staggered at what he's achieved.
Royal With Cheese

I thought we started the game well and looked less nervous-as Tony wrote earlier it was probably good to have the Brighton game ahead of this one as a build up to another big game. In the first half in particular Hunt won nearly all the headers and Roberts was strong as were our two centre-backs but Saints had a number of half-chances and didn't take advantage. The goal came out of nothing with a good cross from Jimmy and a rare Roberts header.
Saints dominated the first 20 minutes of the second half and having scored their goal I think most of our fans would have settled for the draw. We hung in there with our two central defenders immense and doing nothing much going forward but then 2 terrific Alf finishes and as with Brighton on Tuesday somehow we come away with all 3 points and let's face it we are up.
I think we won the game as, despite Lambert being the best individual player on the pitch by miles with every attacking move coming through him,our 2 central defenders and keeper were better than theirs and Alf showed everbody how to finish and some. Brian said on the radio that he made more attacking substitutions-he didn't,he just did his usual moving of Jobi to central midfield,Hunt dropped back to left midfield and Alf replaced him up front. What he did do though was to orchestrate a massive victory away to the next best team in the division and at the moment he can almost walk on water. Brian, please let us all know what horse you will be backing in the National.
Victor Meldrew

I just didn't want to leave the stadium. First few minutes a very loud home side singing we are top of the league. Great cross from Jimmy and power header from Roberts and we are singing we are top of the league. Second half, Southampton start like an express train, score and for the next half an hour as cross after cross hurtles into our box they are singing we are top of the league. Then great Le Fondre goal after another Jimmy assist and we are singing we are top of the league.
Then the third goal led to mass hysteria from us and mass exit from them.
And on the way back great to hear from the Saints fans on the radio on how much better they were than us and all we did was score three goals and how lucky we were.
A truly great night. Hope the Hammers fans are all whinging too.
Bucks Dave

Where do you start? Twelve hours past the final whistle last night and still high as a kite and buzzing. Those of us that were lucky enough to be at St Marys last night will never forget this game as long as we live. The superlatives are running out, forget all the baloney about we were lucky only three shots on target, so bloody what. You don't win 16 of 18 with luck, you don't win the the last five games including massive away games with luck, you win it with teamwork, skill, fortitude, attitude and desire to win. Yes we're not up yet but the odds of 1/66 say it all, we will go up and we will be Champions in what has proven to be arguably the second greatest season in Readings long history, only surpassed by the 106 points year. Every player deserves all the praise you can laud on them last night and the previous games, Gorks and Pearce with Feds for me stand out as the rock that been our foundation for all the success, simply amazing.
The support last night was unbelievable, I had the pleasure of sitting next to the Saints fans in the corner, absolutely priceless, though today I'm black and blue from mental celebrations when we scored, and on that note step forward Alfie Le Fondre, you little beauty, his second goal will never be forgotten for the significance. To be fair to Saints they did play well and I've no doubt we'll be playing them in the Premiership next year. They are a good club and much better than those jumped up twats at West Sham. Enjoy the weekend, enjoy not worrying over results and lets lift the roof on Tuesday against Forest ... UURRRZZZZ
Nick Newbury

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Reading all but secured promotion to the Premier League with a victory over their nearest rivals Southampton in an enthralling encounter at St Mary's. Jason Roberts's header put Reading ahead with Rickie Lambert's deflected strike levelling before two goals from Adam Le Fondre sealed the win. Victory opens up a three-point gap for Reading at the top of the Championship. And with three games to go, the Royals hold a nine-point advantage over third-placed West Ham, who have four to play. It would take a monumental slip-up and some very unfortunate results elsewhere for Reading to miss out on promotion now, while Southampton face a nervous battle with the Hammers for the second automatic place. But Nigel Adkins' side can take huge credit for the way they played and if they perform like they did tonight in each of their final three games there will not be a team that can live with them. Reading's victory was secured courtesy of some fine goalkeeping from Adam Federici and two moments of magic from winger Jimmy Kebe, who created two of the goals. Southampton headed into the game top on goal difference and the contest pitted the league's best attack against the division's most frugal defence.

Saints started brilliantly but found Federici in fine form, the Australian keeping out Lambert and Adam Lallana in the opening minutes. It was Southampton at their free-flowing best with Lallana pulling the strings in midfield and Billy Sharp's movement proving a constant menace for the visitors. Lambert had a golden opportunity to put Saints ahead but his close-range header was well kept out by Federici and moments later Reading caught their hosts with a classic sucker-punch. For the first time in the game, Kebe found space on the right wing to send in a fierce cross and Roberts was there to power home a header from three yards. Saints came firing back, Lallana again going close with a delightful chip, but for all their endeavour they could not beat Federici. Roberts was proving a useful outlet for Reading but their moments in the Saints half were few and far between and just before the break Lambert should have put the hosts level but headed over from six yards. It took just three minutes for Saints to level after the break and unsurprisingly it was Lambert who scored. The Championship's player of the year combined brilliantly with Sharp before firing a deflected half-volley past Federici. The goal spurred Saints on and soon after Richard Chaplow warmed the palms of Federici with a fierce drive from the right. Lambert and Sharp combined again before the latter sent a low drive past Federici's right-hand post while Lallana also headed wide from close range.

But as in the first half, Reading made Southampton pay for their wastefulness in front of goal and Le Fondre found space in the Saints box to fire home after good work from Kebe on the right. Reading were superb in defence as Saints pursued a second equaliser, Steve de Ridder firing straight at Federici late on. And in the closing moments, Le Fondre sealed the victory after rounding Kelvin Davis before firing into the empty net to send the away fans into delirium.

BBC Sport