News and Views

Reading Finish Seventh After Draw

04 May 2014
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading finished seventh, and missed out on the play-offs, after they failed to beat Burnley at the Madejski Stadium on the final day of the season. Brighton secured sixth place with a late injury time goal, to win at Nottingham Forest and see them move ahead of Reading, in the last few dramatic moments of an inconsistent season for the Royals. Reading gave it their best shot on the final day of the campaign and looked to have done enough after earning a 2-2 draw. The final whistle saw bizarre scenes at the Madejski Stadium. The players sank to their knees in disappointment before leaving the pitch. Some guy stormed out of the stadium past us shouting and swearing as he loudly confirmed Brighton had won at Forest. It was all over, but then ten seconds later a massive roar went up in the East Stand and thousands of fans poured on the pitch to celebrate. It was the first pitch invasion I'd witnessed for a meaningless seventh placed finish. Then the scoreboard confirmed Brighton's victory and the fans slowly made their way back to the stands - and on their way home.

It was a cruel way to end the season. Hopes were high right until the end as Reading finished both this game and the season strongly. After some terrible performances across the season we looked to be finally doing the business as the season came to an end. However the league table correctly reflects the whole season and, while the Royals are definitely in the Championship next season, there's uncertainty elsewhere about Reading's future. The squad will change but there are no funds to strengthen as Reading still hunt for new owners. Now Premier League football is off the agenda, Reading appear to remain an unexciting investment.

At any other point in this season this would have been a good result against high quality opposition. It was made better by Reading's attitude as they clearly set out to win the game from the off. We should have been ahead and had a penalty in the opening couple of minutes when the Burnley defender held the ball with both hands. Reading were ahead on 16 minutes when a great passing move saw McAnuff's cross turned in under Reading pressure. The lead was short lived and Burnley pulled it level and then went ahead as they looked dangerous every time they came forward. Burnley's lead felt against the run of play but luckily Reading responded well.

At half time both Reading and Brighton were losing as we sensed a draw might be enough. McCleary sent the Madjeski Stadium wild with a superb strike that flew into the top of the net just before the hour. With time running out Reading continued to attack and the Burnley keeper made a couple of great saves to keep it level. We did everything but score in the dying moments. It really was a classic too little too late over the whole season.

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