Match Report: 2009/2010 Season

Reading: Kebe (12 mins), McAnuff (17 mins), Sigurdsson (72 mins), Church (90 mins).
Preston: Wallace (64 mins).
Half Time: 2-0
Attendance: 19,239

Pos Team P Pts GD
8 Sheff Utd 46 65 +7
9 READING 46 63 +5
10 Bristol C 46 63 -9
Reading: Federici, Mills, Griffin (Karacan, 84) , Bertrand, Pearce, McAnuff, Tabb, Howard (Gunnarsson, 68) , Kebe, Sigurdsson, Long (Church, 85) Subs not used: Hamer, Robson-Kanu, Bignall, Taylor.
Preston: Henderson, Jones, Davidson, St. Ledger, Mawene, Williams, Ross Wallace, Nicholson ( Parkin, 14) , Mayor ( Treacy, 52) , James, Brown ( Proctor, 78) Subs not used: Chilvers, Miller, Dougan, Comrie.
Reading: Pearce, Sigurdsson
Preston: Parkin, Ross Wallace
Ref: James Linington
Reading rounded off their season with a resounding home win. Simon Church was only on the pitch for just over six minutes but his superbly struck goal in added time was a fitting end to the season. Having raced into a two lead after only seventeen minutes Reading dominated the game apart from a brief spell when the visitors pulled a goal back with an excellent goal from a free kick. Two more goals from the Royals ensured the scoreline accurately reflected the superiority of the home side. Although there was nothing at stake in this final fixture, Reading played with a swagger which bodes well for next season.

Jimmy Kebe opened the scoring after twelve minutes. With his usual searing pace he anticipated a loose ball and surged through leaving a trail of Preston defenders in his wake before driving the ball past Henderson with his left foot. Not only did he score with his weaker foot, but he looked as if he believed he was going to score even before he shaped up for the strike on goal. Once again his ability and new found confidence was there for all to see. Not to be outdone McAnuff inflicted the next wound from the other wing. A stretched North End defence left him facing an isolated full back with sufficient space to cut inside and score, which is exactly what he did. It should have been three after twenty five minutes when Long's strike was blocked by Henderson. The ball rebounded to Kebe who this time carelessly lashed the ball high over the bar. Long had another good effort saved and missed good chance to score with his head when he mistimed his leap and could not find sufficient power to beat he 'keeper. Kebe was denied a scoring opportunity by an incorrect offside decision after Sigurdsson had delivered the best pass I have seen for a long time to put him clear behind the visitors defence. Preston did muster one attack and the ball flashed across the face of the Reading goal but there was nobody there to take advantage. Federcici had to finally make a save just before half time when he got down smartly to save from a Mawene header at the far post.

After a quiet start Kebe lifted the crowd again when he beat his man for pace and picked out an excellent pass for Sigurdsson, but the resulting shot was deflected for a corner. The Preston fans were now making their own entertainment with a large contingent in fancy dress dancing a conga around their own supporters. Preston however were still taking matters seriously and as Reading pushed forward in search of more goals a quick break produced a shot which hit the post with such power it went out fro a throw-in. Encouraged by this effort Preston rallied briefly and won a free kick outside the box. Wallace stepped up and scored a quite brilliant goal. Then it was business as usual and Reading never really looked in trouble. Long headed over before the third goal came. Once again Kebe was involved. When his shot was parried by Henderson, Sigurdsson was there to hit the rebound in off the far post. The finale was provided by Church who hit his dipping volley past Henderson who was not that far away from it but was taken by surprise by the power of the strike. It was clear from his reaction that Church was delighted with is effort and so was everyone else.

The fans stayed behind to congratulate their team on a fantastic second half to the season. Brian McDermott has continuously, as good mangers often do, given all the credit to the players, but without him I am not sure we would still be in the Championship next season. He too was desrvedly given generous applause from the grateful home fans. Players will no doubt come and go during the summer but Reading fans have every reason to be optimistic about their chances of promotion next season.
John Wells


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Reading finished their Championship campaign in style as a four-goal salvo overwhelmed Preston. Jimmy Kebe fired in a fine solo effort to give Reading an early lead before Jobi McAnuff rounded Billy Jones to double the Royals' advantage. Preston's Ross Wallace, who had earlier hit the post, hit back for Preston with a 35-yard free-kick. But Gylfi Sigurdsson drove in a Kebe rebound, and substitute Simon Church arrowed in a stoppage-time volley.

Reading manager Brian McDermott:
"It was a fantastic way to finish. From the 11 games we've had at home since I took charge we won nine, which is not a bad effort, and the goals will stay with us over the summer. When I got the job we talked about having a 20-game season and we have collected 40 points from those games. We don't want the season to end so if anyone fancies a game, give us a call. That is championship form and the players deserve all the credit for that."

BBC Sport