News and Views
Reading Finish Third To Face Fulham
07 May 2017
By Hob Nob Anyone?
Reading wrapped up the regular league season with a 4-2 away victory at Burton Albion, to secure third place in the Championship and set-up meetings with sixth placed Fulham in the play-offs. Reading's remarkable season has seen them finish in the highest possible play-off spot, which is fair reward after the Royals spent a good part of the season in third spot without ever featuring in the top two.
The win at Burton sees Reading enter the play-offs with seven wins out of their final nine games. Fulham and Reading were the only play-off placed sides to win on the final day of the season, so it's fair to say the two in-form sides have been matched together. Both sets of fans are likely to think they have a very difficult path to the final.
The first leg of the play-offs will take place at Fulham's Craven Cottage on Saturday 13 May with a 5:30pm kick-off. The crucial deciding second leg will be at the Madejski Stadium on Tuesday 16 May, getting underway at 7:45pm. The winner on aggregate will go on to the play-off final at Wembley Stadium on bank holiday Monday 29 May. Three games stand between the four contenders and a place in the Premier League next season, and surely Reading now have the same chance as the other three teams of making it all the way.
The win at Burton was a suitable ending to a season that has beaten all expectations. Jaap Stam opted for a strong line-up which featured essentially a first choice starting eleven with Paul McShane back from injury. The Royals raced into an early lead with goals from Joseph Mendes and Jordan Obita. Obita's cross-shot put the Royals firmly in the driving seat with just 21 minutes on the clock.
Yann Kermorgant is in the best goal-scoring form of the season, and probably his entire career. It was no surprise when he put Reading three goals up just after the hour mark. Burton, safe from relegation already, threatened to ruin the party with a late comeback but Grabban came off the bench to add Reading's fourth and secure the 4-2 win.
Final Championship Table
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