Reading win promotion to the Premier League
18th April 2012
Reading won promotion back to the Premier League for the first time in four years with a 1-0 win over Nottingham Forest.
Royals boss Brian McDermott received an injury boost ahead of this game as Mikele Leigertwood was fit enough to start, replacing the injured Jay Tabb in the only change. The game could have seen the Berkshire side win promotion back to the Premier League but the league leaders didn`t start with their usual high tempo.
Long-range specialist Lewis McGugan had the first effort of the game but his effort went well wide of Federici`s goal. Forest continued to frustrate the Royals, with Jason Roberts and Noel Hunt not getting a huge amount of luck up front.
However, as the half progressed the home side appeared to show signs of life. Jason Roberts beat his man well by the corner flag but his pull back was cut out by the Forest defence. The ball was then in the net for the Royals as Roberts nodded in but Hunt was adjudged to have fouled the keeper in the process.
Steve Cotterill`s side were still a notable threat with their long-range ability in midfield and Adam Federici was tested mid-way through the half as McGugan`s long range effort was parried by the Australian and was eventually cleared by the Royals defence.
Dexter Blackstock then had a half chance as he spun Kaspars Gorkss well but Federici got solid hands to his left footed drive in the box. Reading started to turn up the heat as Berkshire-born Hayden Mullins tried his luck from the edge of the box but Lee Camp palmed it wide of his goal.
The half fizzled out as the sense of expectancy seemed to be affecting the Reading players. McDermott would have emphasised the importance of three points during the break and his side came out in the second period much more determined to grab the win.
They had a fantastic chance in the opening minutes as Kebe`s enticing cross met Noel Hunt but his header drifted wide, with the Irishman feeling he could have done better. Forest then almost took the lead in superb fashion as Elokobi`s ambitious overhead kick went just over.
Substitute Adam Le Fondre then had the best chance of the game to give the Royals the lead as he outpaced the Forest defenders to latch onto the loose ball but couldn`t recreate his Southampton magic as his dink over Camp went agonizingly wide.
Captain Jobi McAnuff then did well to beat his man down the left and his deep cross met the head of Kebe but his weak effort was cleared to Shaun Cummings, whose right-footed drive went wide. Elokobi then had a fantastic chance for Forest as he wasn`t marked from a corner but his effort clipped the bar and went over.
The Royals fans were now aware that West Ham had drew at Bristol City, meaning that a win would guarantee their promotion to the Premier League and that wish was answered on 81 minutes. An Ian Harte free kick was met 8 yards out by the left foot of Mikele Leigertwood to put Reading on the verge of the Premier League.
Reading were keen to score the second goal that would near enough guarantee their promotion and with Adam Le Fondre keen to make amends for his earlier missed chance, forced Lee Camp into a good save after his drive from the edge of the box.
Although, all 22,000 of Reading`s fans were to have their hearts in their mouths in injury time as a loose ball in the Royals box wasn`t cleared, with Tudgay beating Federici to a high ball and setting up a header for Blackstock but Pearce somehow cleared his goal bound effort off the line.
The final whistle went, sparking the biggest celebrations the town of Reading has even seen since the promotion in 2006. The pitch was flooded with ecstatic Reading fans knowing their teams will be playing the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal next season.
Reading: Federici, Cummings, Pearce, Gorkss, Harte, Kebe, Leigertwood, Mullins, McAnuff, Hunt, Roberts
Subs: McCarthy, Gunnarsson, Church, Afobe, Le Fondre
Nottingham Forest: Camp, Wooton, Gunter, Chambers, Lynch, Elokobi, Anderson, McGugan, Guediora, Majewski, Blackstock
Subs: Smith, Cunningham, Greening, Reid, Tudgay