News and Views

Reading Finish Third To Face Fulham

07 May 2017
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading wrapped up the regular league season with a 4-2 away victory at Burton Albion, to secure third place in the Championship and set-up meetings with sixth placed Fulham in the play-offs. Reading's remarkable season has seen them finish in the highest possible play-off spot, which is fair reward after the Royals spent a good part of the season in third spot without ever featuring in the top two.

The win at Burton sees Reading enter the play-offs with seven wins out of their final nine games. Fulham and Reading were the only play-off placed sides to win on the final day of the season, so it's fair to say the two in-form sides have been matched together. Both sets of fans are likely to think they have a very difficult path to the final.

The first leg of the play-offs will take place at Fulham's Craven Cottage on Saturday 13 May with a 5:30pm kick-off. The crucial deciding second leg will be at the Madejski Stadium on Tuesday 16 May, getting underway at 7:45pm. The winner on aggregate will go on to the play-off final at Wembley Stadium on bank holiday Monday 29 May. Three games stand between the four contenders and a place in the Premier League next season, and surely Reading now have the same chance as the other three teams of making it all the way.

The win at Burton was a suitable ending to a season that has beaten all expectations. Jaap Stam opted for a strong line-up which featured essentially a first choice starting eleven with Paul McShane back from injury. The Royals raced into an early lead with goals from Joseph Mendes and Jordan Obita. Obita's cross-shot put the Royals firmly in the driving seat with just 21 minutes on the clock.

Yann Kermorgant is in the best goal-scoring form of the season, and probably his entire career. It was no surprise when he put Reading three goals up just after the hour mark. Burton, safe from relegation already, threatened to ruin the party with a late comeback but Grabban came off the bench to add Reading's fourth and secure the 4-2 win.

Final Championship Table

1Newcastle 461535492314453617+4594 (C)
2Brighton 461733461411662826+3493 (P)
4Sheff Wed 46152636229772423+1581
5Huddersfield 461526342610492232-281
6Fulham 461085453212654025+2880
7Leeds 461445321685102931+1475
8Norwich 461544552256123047+1670
9Derby 461184332075112130+467
10Brentford 461157422575113340+1064
11Preston 461166402658102437+162
12Cardiff 461148312667102935-162
13Aston Villa 461283332046131428-162
14Barnsley 466116323392123234-358
15Wolves 46841125308692928-458
16Ipswich 468105302456121834-1055
17Bristol C 461148332645142740-654
18QPR 469410303264132234-1453
19Birmingham 46851025315992033-1953
20Burton 469410283049102133-1452
21Nottm Forest 461247423025162042-1051
22Blackburn 46887293047122435-1251 (R)
23Wigan 465810192654142131-1742 (R)
24Rotherham 465612233402211764-5823 (R)

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