Vital Football

Latest Reading FC News

Royals come out on top in crucial game

Royals come out on top in crucial game

What a difference one result can make! A perfect away performance gave Reading a 2-0 victory at fellow play-off chasers Sheffield Wednesday, also thanks to same heroics by Ali Al-Habsi.

As he has done in the previous games of late, Stam made three changes to the side that was comfortably beaten at Preston last week, with Moore, Williams and Beerens returning for Lewis Grabban, and the injured duo of McShane and Mutch. Reading arguably started the better of the two sides, as Williams had two early efforts at goal - one was deflected and the other went harmlessly over.

Rhodes and Winnall both had half chances within a few minutes of each other, but neither tested Al-Habsi between the sticks. Both manager highlighted how the first goal was going to be important during the week and fortunately that went in the favour of the visitors. Swift played a superb ball down the channel and Kermorgant took a smart touch inside to give himself space, before slotting the ball home from ten yards.

It wasn`t the prettiest finish, but a very smart one at that, with Westwood having no chance of getting to it. It took this goal to wake the home side up, who started very slowly at Hillsborough. Sam Winnall`s stabbed effort towards goal, which went through a crowd, hit the post to the fortune of the Royals, while Reach could have done better after Winnall set up the former Royals target but smashed over.

A superb Al-Habsi save meant the Royals went in ahead at the break, as Reach`s deflected shot towards goal was a good height for Rhodes to make connection with a header, but Al-Habsi made a Gordon Banks-esque save to claw away his goalbound effort. A truly wonderful from the Omani, in what wasn`t the first time he has come to our rescue this season, and it certainly wasn`t the last time in this game!

With Reading keen to sit on their lead, Wednesday came out all guns blazing after half time. Bannan`s inviting delivery was calling out for a telling touch, but dropped just wide of the post. While Reading were being stubborn, this didn`t mean they were not capable of launching an attack of their own - John Swift came close to doubling the lead as he drove in from the left, but placed his effort just wide.

We continued to look very comfortable until the final fifteen minutes, as Wednesday finally started to apply some noticeable pressure - Ali wasn`t to be beaten though. Substitute McManaman would have thought he equalised when he finally had Al-Habsi beaten, but Liam Moore was on hand to clear off the line. Steven Fletcher`s effort deflected off Blackett, but luckily looped onto the top of the net.

This then signified the start of the Al-Habsi show. From the first corner, he clawed away a header then showcased his reflexes by then getting up to deny Buckley with a superb reaction save. The following corner was only cleared to the edge of the box, where he palmed away another effort from danger. The Omani wasn`t done there, as he made another great save from point blanc range from a corner.

The hammer blow was dealt in injury time, as Reading broke down the pitch to seal the game. With every Wednesday player in the area, Williams won a 50-50 in midfield from a recovering Wednesday player. This allowed substitute Adrian Popa to sit down two defenders, before running the ball into an empty net. A superb role played by Williams, but superb composure from the Romanian to score.

A crazy final fifteen minutes, but superb and resolute defending meant we left Sheffield with probably our most crucial three points of the season. Fulham`s loss on Saturday means we have a very healthy six point gap between us and seventh place. With eight games left to play, we have given ourselves some breathing space, but we can`t take our foot off the gas. Onwards and upwards!

Sheffield Wednesday - 4-4-2: Westwood; Hunt, Loovens, Lees, Fox; Buckley, Bannan, Jones, Reach; Rhodes, Winnall.
Subs: Wildsmith, Palmer, Matias, Semedo, McManaman, Nuhiu, Fletcher.

Reading - 4-3-3: Al-Habsi; Gunter, Moore, Blackett, Obita; Van den Berg, Williams, Swift; McCleary, Kermorgant, Beerens.
Subs: Legg, Oxford, Watson, Meite, Popa, Grabban, Mendes.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Date:Monday March 20 2017
Time: 9:30AM

Login to post a comment

Best of Vital Network

Recent Reading Articles

Reading v Wigan - Follow Live On Twitter

Reading are at the Madejski Stadium with Wigan the visitors today, this will be a 3pm kick-off.

Championship Free Agents 2017

As the summer nears and contracts come to an end, should the club have an interest in any of the following free transfers from Championship oppositions?

51 Clubs Receive EFL Family Excellence Award - 2016/17

The Football League have recognised a record 51 clubs in the 2016/17 Family Excellence Awards.

Match Day Officials v Wigan (29/4/17)

The Football League have now announced the Match Day officials that will take charge of the game against Wigan Athletic this Saturday.

Archived Vital Reading Articles

Vital Reading articles from

Site Journalists

Write for Vital Reading
Write For Vital Reading
Apply Here

Current Poll (see more polls)

Reading v Wigan Athletic
Suggested By:
Reading win67%
Wigan win33%
ScoopDragon Publishing Entire League Network of Sites

League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
P Brighton 44 28 8 8 92 35
P Newcastle 45 28 7 10 91 42
3 Huddersfield 44 25 6 13 81 3
4 Reading 44 24 7 13 79 1
5 Sheff Wed 44 23 9 12 78 15
6 Fulham 44 21 13 10 76 27
7 Leeds Utd 44 22 7 15 73 14
8 Norwich 44 19 9 16 66 12
9 Brentford 44 18 9 17 63 12
10 Derby County 44 17 12 15 63 2
11 Preston 44 16 13 15 61 2
12 Aston Villa 44 16 13 15 61 0
13 Cardiff 45 16 11 18 59 -4
14 Barnsley 44 15 12 17 57 0
15 Wolves 44 15 10 19 55 -3
16 Ipswich 44 13 16 15 55 -6
17 Bristol City 44 14 9 21 51 -6
18 Burton 44 13 12 19 51 -12
19 Q.P.R. 44 14 8 22 50 -12
20 Forest 44 13 9 22 48 -11
21 Birmingham 44 11 14 19 47 -22
22 Blackburn 44 10 15 19 45 -15
23 Wigan 44 10 11 23 41 -16
R Rotherham 44 5 6 33 21 -58
The Vital Football Members League
Latest F1 News
Latest Vital Boxing News
Vital Football Comment

Recent Reading Results (view all)

Reading Fixtures (view all)

Apr 29 2017 3:00PM : Wigan Athletic (H)
Sky Bet Championship
May 7 2017 12:00PM : Burton Albion (a)
Sky Bet Championship
Write for Vital Football