MATCH REPORT: 2007/2008 Season

Reading: Harper (15 mins), Kitson (61 mins), Doyle (69 mins), Lita (90 mins).
Derby: -
Half Time: 0-1
Attendance: 33,087

Pos Team P Pts GD
17 Fulham 38 36 -22
18 READING (R) 38 36 -25
19 Birmingham (R) 38 35 -16
20 Derby (R) 38 11 -69
Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Ingimarsson, Duberry, Shorey, Oster, Harper (Bikey 86), Matejovsky (Cisse 83), Hunt, Lita, Kitson (Doyle 66). Subs Not Used: Federici, Kebe.
Derby: Carroll, Mears, Moore, Nyatanga, Lewis, Sterjovski (Edworthy 46), Savage (Feilhaber 46), Ghaly, Jones, Villa (Simmons 63), Miller. Subs Not Used: Price, Addison.
Reading: Doyle.
Derby: -
Ref: Mike Riley (Yorkshire).
Reading were relegated from the Premier League despite stuffing Derby 4-0 at their place. Everything rested on this fixture and Fulham's fixture at Portsmouth. The Royals did their part and were three goals up before news broke, with just fifteen minutes left to play, that Fulham had scored at Portsmouth. Fulham's goal secured their three points to enable them to finish above Reading on goal difference and send Reading back into the Championship after two seasons in the top flight. The Royals had been undone by poor results earlier in the season, today there was only one team in it as Reading notched up a comfortable, but empty, victory. Things had looked so promising throughout the afternoon until those last fatal fifteen minutes at Fratton Park.

There was a party atmospehre at Pride Park with random inflatables filling the away end. The travelling fans were in good voice, and things looked good for Reading early on when we took the lead fifteen minutes into the game. An impressive move saw the ball played out to Harper on the right who hit a superb shot across goal and into the top corner. The rest of the half was a nervy affair with Derby rarely threatening. After the break, and with the score still 0-0 at Portsmouth a second goal seemed vital. It came just after the hour when Shorey's shot wasn't cleared and Lita did well to cut the ball back from a tight angle for Kitson to tap home. Reading, who had started with Lita and Kitson up front saw Doyle replace Kitson and nearly immediately get on the score sheet from close range. Doyle's celebrations were massive as the away end went mental, and he picked up a yellow card for his efforts.

Reading were in full control and appeared to be heading towards Premiership safety. Murty had an excellent shot from the right just wide of the post, and Lita was about to bury one before a last ditch tackle. Then it all fell to pieces with Fulham scoring at Portsmouth - and reality came crashing down. Good work from Hunt saw Doyle cross and Lita to head home. It was a good goal to make it an impressive 4-0, but Lita found himself celebrating alone as the rest of the team trudged back to their own half for the restart. The fans behind the goal hardly celebrated this one and despite all our efforts on the final day we were relegated. Our best win of the season but too late to save us.

It hurts but its not the end of the world just the end of a season. A season in which seeing URZ score 4 goals away from home somehow ended badly even the third time ... when at least we won the game. RFC should do all it can to keep Steve Coppell - and most of the players - and John Madejski. Its incredible that a few short-sighted fans blame Madejski when without him we would have long since become not so much a 'little' club as a tiny one. A few years ago we were playing and even losing to teams that have since fallen into the Conference. Just five years ago we were delighted to get to play Derby at Pride Park as our first game back in the Championship. Now we will be back there again ... though certainly not delighted it is still a lot better than without JM and SC. Those who call for more 'investment' need to be realistic - sensible investment is not throwing money away on a dream of 'bigness' (see Leeds United if not convinced). So there do need to be changes but not massive ones and not at the top. Less so called fans who choose to abuse players and more who get behind the team. So we will be back supporting our local team next year and I hope John Madejski, Steve Coppell and Graeme Murty will all be there with us building the next phase of an undiminished dream.
David Markwell

Not second season syndrome, but second season suicide , in the main caused by the breathtaking naivety and arrogance of the way the club has been run. No reasonable investment over the season has proved to be JM's biggest business mistake in his lifetime. We were not relegated today, we were relegated at home against Fulham four weeks ago when a draw would have proved pricelsss and Reading FC produced the worst performance for such a vital game in my lifetime. So that's the end of our adventure in the so called promised land, a place so far away from the reality of most of us that the Championship offers sanctity and a league where we can actually win something .I always had this nagging feeling that we'd need to go down learn from it and come back stronger and wiser . At this moment it's hard to think that far ahead. Sir Steve will probably fall on his sword and we are all deeply indebted to him , it's been a fantastic last three years, but it's over and time for a massive shake up at Reading FC. Will they be back in the Premiership next season , probably not, next couple of years maybe but unlikely if we continue to be run like an outfit that represents it's name "little" Reading. It's over, it hurts, it's painful and it's goodbye to our dreams and back where we belong and come from. Time for big changes and time for departures including me.
Nick Newbury

To say that we are disappointed at being relegated is an understatement. But the reason for writing is not to go over the "if only's". Reading FC is our local club and "we will support you ever more". Over the next few weeks I have to decide whether to renew our family season tickets for next year. Shorey, Hunt, Lita, Kitson and Doyle may look to pastures new. Steve Coppel may stand down or be forced out. Our Chairman wants to sell. Where is the heart Reading? Over the closing weeks I have questioned this. Those last games should have been our cup finals but they were not played as such. For example, much of the game against Tottenham was unfair to the supporters. Tottenham were a good side, but where was the spirit? Our last home game of the season, where was the 'thank you for your support'? Where was the lap of honour for the fans? Steve Coppel is an excellent, articulate manager and a good ambassador for the game. Why didn't he take the mike! and thank us all? Why didn't our proud Chairman John Madesjski grab the mike and say \I know we lost today and, fair play to Tottenham, support us next week but whatever happens...thank you for your support throughout the season." It would have made the choice of renewing the season tickets a great deal easier.
Kevin Lowen

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The Royals put in a performance to be proud of as they swept the Rams aside with relative ease. James Harper curled home to hand the Royals a deserved half-time lead before Dave Kitson, Kevin Doyle and Leroy Lita made it a second-half rout. However, their efforts were to prove in vain as Fulham’s victory at Portsmouth ensured Steve Coppell’s men will join Derby and Birmingham in the second tier next season by virtue of goal difference. It was tough on the visitors, who were a class above their opponents throughout.

Reading beat Derby with some ease at Pride Park but were still relegated to the Championship after Fulham's late victory away at Portsmouth. The Royals needed to better Fulham's result to stay up, but Danny Murphy's goal condemned them to the second tier... The visitors were cruelly relegated on goal difference - a heartbreaking end to the season for Royals fans and manager Steve Coppell. Their two-year stay in the Premier League comes to an end and it is hard to believe that a year ago on the final day, Reading travelled to Blackburn looking for a win to earn a place in the Uefa Cup.
BBC Sport

THE deathly hush that fell on the Reading fans — replacing jubilant chants of “We are staying up” — told its own story. Steve Coppell’s Royals are the latest victims of second season syndrome. They were condemned to the drop on goal difference thanks to Fulham’s 76th-minute winner at Portsmouth. And the heartbreak came just 12 months after they narrowly missed out on a UEFA Cup spot. The Royals kept their side of the bargain here, calming their nerves with a 14th-minute strike from the outstanding James Harper before blowing Derby away with a three-goal second-half salvo. The Pompey Chimes rang out early on as the visiting fans celebrated the fact that Portsmouth were denying Fulham the victory that would still send Reading down. But when the Londoners scored at Fratton Park, the groans could be heard back on the banks of the River Thames. If boss Coppell had been allowed to hand-pick his team’s final-day opponents, the only thing he would have changed would have been the venue — although the Rams are hardly a fearsome prospect even in their own pen
The Sun