News and Views

Play-Off Second Leg: Huge Night Ahead

16 May 2017
By Hob Nob Anyone?

They don't come much bigger than this. Reading face Fulham at the Madejski Stadium this evening in the second leg of the play-off semi-final, with the prize being a trip to Wembley for a shot at promotion to the Premier League. Both Fulham and Reading will fancy their chances of securing the win for a huge day out, in a fixture that has to be settled tonight. The Royals did all that was asked of them on Saturday evening, leaving Craven Cottage with a 1-1 draw to bring the tie back to the Madejski Stadium, and get home advantage, on level terms. It feels like we are half way there and on track to finish the job, but Fulham won't be too disappointed with the draw in the first leg and have their excellent away form this season to call on.

Things couldn't have looked better for the Royals on Saturday when the excellent Jordan Obita put Reading ahead on 53 mintues with a fantastic low effort from the left that found the back of the net off the far post. With an hour gone Reading had looked comfortable and we dared dream of bringing a win back home. However, Fulham equalised from Cairney with 65 minutes on the clock. Paul McShane was given a straight red on 80 minutes for a late challenge with his foot way off the ground, but Reading held firm despite playing with ten men. The great result was overshadowed by Jordan Obita staying on the floor after the referee's final whistle with what looked like could be a serious injury to his ankle.

Paul McShane will definitely be missing through suspension and Obtia remains a doubt after that late injury. Ilori came off the bench after McShane's sending off on Saturday and will now most likely start in McShane's place. Stam will have to shuffle around his defence, but we will all be hoping Obita has recovered after such an important role on Saturday. Gareth McCleary was an unused substitute on Saturday after coming back from injury but seems almost certain to play a part tonight.

Reading finished the season with the best home record in the entire Championship after winning 16 of our 23 home fixtures during the regular season. That impressive set of wins of course included a 1-0 victory over Fulham. Fulham's away record was only bettered by Champions Newcastle United. Impressive as it may be, the statistics still point to a Reading victory. However, the bookmakers still disagree, and it is Fulham listed as favourites to complete the win over Reading and go on to Wembley.

The tie is so finely balanced that anything could happen - and probably will. It should be quite some night at the Madejski Stadium. Away goals don't count in the play-offs so if the game is drawn, whatever the scoreline, the game will go to extra-time and potentially penalties. You wouldn't bet against the game going the distance. It's a game you really wouldn't want to miss, which makes it amazing that Reading have been unable to sell out the fixture. Tickets are still available to buy on-line and by telephone for both the Upper West and the South Stand.


Discussion On This Story:


» 14 May 2017 10:12

Well it's in the hands of Reading Football Club still and that's all you could ask for.

As ever though with Reading if it's going to be done, it's going to have to be done the hard way with no Paul McShane and quite possibly no Jordan Obita and if there's one team you really didn't want to have half your defence ripped out for it's Fulham.

So Jaap now has to perm another defensive line. He has options but if Obita is gone as well it is very much make do and mend. As I see it the logical step is to play Ilori instead of McShane and move Blackett over to left back. The question then is do Reading play 5 at the back or play 4 and perhaps double up on defensive midfielders. Another option is to totally alter the formation by moving Gunter over to left back and asking Tennai Watson to step in at right back. Lastly there's always the option of Reece Oxford for what would be the biggest game of his career so far.

The other question is whether Liam Kelly will be over his illness in time. In a way I'm glad he missed the game as if he is fit he'll be fresher and that can only be good given his style of play and having someone getting involved and stirring things up is just what the cub will need.

I'm also expecting McCleary to be thrown at Fulham in the hope that he can give an hour or so to occupy the Fulham defence and, if he plays on the left, he could help keep Fredericks nailed down and therefore stop too much getting at what would be a weakened left side without Obita.

The biggest factor though has to be the supporters. There really needs to be effort from ALL stands CONTINUALLY throughout the game and none of the pathetic library quality atmosphere that has been about throughout most of the season. Fans need to be noisy and right behind every move of the players, they need to make sure Fulham do not feel welcome during the game and be on the back of the referee for every decision.

As to the game, well it's a quite simple case of having to beat Fulham on the night. There will be 90 minutes to do it in, and then another 30 minutes if it's still level. Heaven help us if it goes to penalties though as given the dreadful performance from the spot of both clubs this season any penalty shoot out may well still be running by the time the proposed play off final comes round (so if you happen to read this Mr Stam, make sure there is some penalty practice in training).


Referee does not appear to have been appointed yet but I believe it is likely to be one of Andre Marriner, Robert Madley or Graham Scott.


Reading at home to Fulham in the league has seen a 50% success rate for Reading while Fulham have a 30% win rate (20 games played). It all gets rather depressing though looking at the cup games played between the clubs in Reading which has seen 5 games previously (2 in the FA Cup and 3 in the League Cup) and Reading are still waiting to record a win.


 Top Flight

» 14 May 2017 10:21

You can count me in. I will be extremely loud on Tuesday night and will be calling for every decision even if it clearly should go in Fulhams favour. Any Reading player that goes down in the box I will be calling for a penalty whether it's a penalty or not. The time to be Mr Nice Guy and kind and generous to the opposition is over. The prize is worth £290 million. I did not eat the sausage at the Cottage and I am not going on Tuesday night to be making friends. COME ON YOU ROYALS! This is win at all costs.

 The Cap

» 14 May 2017 10:34

Sutekh wrote: Another option is to totally alter the formation by moving Gunter over to left back and asking Tennai Watson to step in at right back. Lastly there's always the option of Reece Oxford for what would be the biggest game of his career so far.

Are you confident that Tennai could handle the pressures of such a big occasion? So looking forward to this game and, as you say, we all need to play our part. Well, as I've said elsewhere, I'm normally in Y25 and now fate has placed me in the South Stand for this one. I'll certainly be looking to get the picnic brigade going. And going. And going........ :wink:

 glass half full

» 14 May 2017 10:36

All together:

"You call us 'tinpot', we DON'T CARE!" :lol:

 Top Flight

» 14 May 2017 10:37

I think Tennai could handle it. He is a classy player. He's got all the attributes. We have a good squad. Stam is confident in the squad. And so am I.


» 14 May 2017 10:52

No one likes us
No one likes us
We are tin pot
Really tinpot
We are the Reading from the South


» 14 May 2017 11:27

Obita probably won't be fit for Tuesday. I can see Tiago coming in for McShane with Blackett playing left back.

I can see Evans and Van den Berg playing behind Swift, Williams and Kelly with Kermorgant up front.

I can't see McCleary being risked albeit just off the bench


» 14 May 2017 12:51

I would imagine Kelly will have recovered from his illness so will be back Tuesday, I think he could well be key to a victory.

 Gunny Fishcake

» 14 May 2017 17:45

I've a strong feeling this will go to penalties after a draw .....then we'll see who has bottle !


» 14 May 2017 18:39

Can we do a Van Gaal 2014 World Cup and bring Jaakola on at the end of extra time? :lol:


» 14 May 2017 18:41

And it's suuuper tinpot
We're by far the most irrelevant team
The world has ever seen!

Also bobby did you go to Walkabout in the end? Was it dece?


» 14 May 2017 18:52

And it's suuuper tinpot
We're by far the most irrelevant team
The world has ever seen!

Also bobby did you go to Walkabout in the end? Was it dece?

I did and yes it was superb. Better than expected.

Downstairs was jam packed with RFC fans with loud chanting throughout.

When we scored beer was thrown everywhere. People on tables. Some (male unfortunately) with their shirts off. I tried to get My GF to do that but she looked at me as if to say "you're a pathetic idiot, why am I with you?"

Edit: sorry just remembered she did say that.

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