BRENTFORD 1 READING 1 (Half Time: 0-0)
Cureton (77 mins)
Brentford Scorers: Rowlands (51 mins)
20 April 2002
Reading: Whitehead, Murty, Viveash, Shorey, Hughes, Igoe (Cureton 67), Parkinson, Williams, Salako, Butler (Savage 89), Forster. Subs not used: Talia, Roget, Watson.
Brentfrod: Smith, Dobson, Ingimarsson, Powell, Anderson, Rowlands, Hunt (Williams 82), Sidwell, Evans, Owusu, Burgess. Subs not used: Gottskalksson, Boxall, O'Connor, Theobald.
Bookings: Salako (Reading); Anderson, Evans, Rowlands (Brentford).
When Jamie Cureton deftly lifted the ball over Smith in the Brentford goal with thirteen minutes left, the blue and white end of the ground erupted, and although there was there were a few anxious moments before the final whistle, I somehow felt that we would hang on for the point we deserved. This was gritty performance, which was just what was needed, but for most of the game I had a strong feeling we were destined for the play-offs again. It was far too tense an occasion to be enjoyable and when the final whistle blew the feeling of elation was heavily laced with relief. We were up at last. The sun shone players and fans sang and danced. It was a moment to savour.
The biggest surprise in selection was the omission of Watson, our most composed and skilful central midfield player, but to keep the balance in the centre of midfield I suppose Hughes had to play. Pardew's selection was vindicated in the end mainly because Parky had an inspired game. Nobody could have fought harder than he did for this result - and he didn't even get a yellow card! I was worried that Pardew might play for the draw but there was no evidence of sitting back. Neither was there any reckless charge to get an early goal. Thankfully we got the tactics right.
The full 90 minutes as you would expect was fiercely contested but it has to be said Reading looked the more likely team to play controlled football. Brentford looked to play the ball forward quickly to their big men up front, a tactic which has caused us problems this season. The first half produced few real chances. Brentford's main threat was in the air from set pieces. One header from Burgess produced a superb save from Whitehead. Forster as always looked to be Reading's most likely player to breach the home team's defence with his pace. Butler battled away up front but is not yet back to his best after his long lay off. When half time came the scoreline suited the Royals but with Brentford needing a win, something had to give.
We didn't have long to wait. Five minutes after the interval Owusu outpaced Williams on the left and crossed for Rowlands to hammer the goal that made my heart sink. The home fans celebrated and I was left wondering where a goal from Reading was coming from. We had scrapped well so far but Hughes and Parky were not creating much and Brentford's defence seemed to be doing a good job of stifling Butler and Forster. With their season disintegrating the Royals raised their game and began to mount some real pressure for the first time. Then Pardew made the crucial change. Igoe was replaced by Cureton, and having learned from his mistake at Cambridge, he pushed Forster out wide on the right and paired Cureton with Butler. The little striker needed only ten minutes to make his mark and he did so with a goal worthy of a higher division, running onto a Parkinson flick before calmly lifting the ball over the advancing 'keeper. Fitting that our best finisher should score the crucial goal.
Of course they didn't give up, but the body language of some of the Brentford team said it all. They were looking around at each other as if surprised that we were back in the game and not quite sure what to do about it.
Reading fans have suffered over the last few weeks of the season but in the end the team did enough to go up - just. We may have lacked the drive to win games when it mattered, and dropped more points than we should have in the run in, but you can't fault their resilience and determination not to lose! As we celebrated, the police and stewards had the unenviable task of fending off a handful of thugs masquerading as Brentford fans. We were too busy wallowing in the glory of promotion to care what they were up too. What rounded the day off nicely for me was the way a large number of real Brentford fans waited about twenty minutes after the game to applaud the Reading team for their achievement. They appreciated how hard we had fought for our reward. Good luck to them in play-offs.
All that remains to be done now is to wait for the hangover to clear
and contemplate the World Cup, a summer holiday, and new season in Division
One. You never know - we might be going to Cardiff again next year!
Thanks to James Mitchell for photographs
Post Match Opinions
The Royals 1-1 win over Brentford at Griffin Park, means Reading are
promoted back to the first division. After 4 years absence, a Jamie Cureton
header secured Royals place back with the big boys in Division one. Both
sides dominated the game at set periods. For the first 20 minutes, it
was very tight with neither side giving way. Brentford then controlled
the tempo of the game, for 25 minutes up till half time. Brentford then
went a goal up with Matthew Rowlands hitting the score sheet just after
the half time break. A long gap followed until 17 minutes from time, Jamie
Cureton headed it into the back of the Brentford net. Until full time,
Royals seemed completely in control, although they could just steal the
last minute winner. Being in division one means higher TV funds coming
into the club, better players being attracted to the club and of course,
booming attendances. Personally I believe we could fill the Madejski with
top matches against teams like Coventry, Leicester and Derby next season.
As for Brentford they go to Huddersfield Town for their playoff legs,
and Cardiff City go to Stoke City.
As we set off from West Berkshire yesterday morning, our motley gang
was a mixture of doom and gloom merchants and the ever reliable optimists.
For once I had an almost surreal feeling that it was going to be our day
and I boldly predicted a 1-1 draw. Nearly every week I have a bet but
desperate for any possible changes of fortune decided not too this day.
Would it be our day or were we destined to go down in history as one of
the biggest chokers in football? Well we all know what happened so I'm
not going to report much on the match as many others will do a better
job than I could. What I will say though, is that yesterday we saw 13
true heroes in the famous hoops. This was the Reading Football Club we
I had a tear in my eye today... we have done it we have f*cking done
it, it doesn't get better than this. Firstly for the plaudits, thank you
HNA for letting me express my elation and desperation through the season,
your site is a must for all Loyal Royals and well done to all correspondents,
in particular Crowthorne Royal, Thatcham Royal, my old pal in the north
Darren Hall, and the eloquent Nick Newbury, I have enjoyed all your reports
and I hope the feeling is mutual.
Well done Reading FC! Promotion at last and much deserved after 2
really good seasons. Those play-offs looked a bit ominous at 4.30pm. Well
done Jamie Cureton for keeping your head in the white-hot heat of the
moment. A priceless goal! So what is the difference between this season
and last? Could it be the improved fitness of the whole squad? Credit
to Niall Clark there, an unsung hero from the backroom staff. Also credit
to number 13 throughout the season, especially away from the Mad Stad.
15,000 average home gate next season?
Well, what a difference a week makes! Last week, frustration, thoughts
of booking flights back to the UK for yet another Playoff Final. This
week, joyful jubilation, listening to someone on the Internet who sounds
to me like the King of the Daleks, commentating on the Mighty Royals winning
deserved promotion to Division One. Well done lads - you have made me
extremely proud, and won me many bets at the same time. Life as a Reading
fan is a wonderful rollercoaster of a ride - always gut wrenching, but
never boring! Cheers for the ride - I will always pay money to join it.
Well Done. (Why must you always do things the hard way?) You ran it
very close by failing to kill off ordinary teams at home. You must make
the Madejski a FORTRESS next season. Enjoy It, Good Luck, etc.
I was at Madjeski. I was there when the first half drew to a close
on the big screen.The atmosphere was electric. Emotions were high and
lager was flowing. It seemed a very long time, the half time period. The
blank screen remained blank well into the second half. Eventually, it
was announced that difficulties were prohibiting the coverage, we all
missed seeing the first goal. Rumours abounded. Was it a Reading goal?
No. To be sitting with 5000 like minded people with no outlet for emotion
other than to ask for a radio to be brought in. Eventually, order was
restored with reconnection to the game.We all witnessed the very magic
moment when the fans favourite scored.I will always be able to say. I
Not really an opinion, just a big thank you to Jamie and the others.
You've made an old man very happy!
A fantastic day, a great achievement. I still can't quite believe
it, it's a bit like a dream. Not a classic but the team showed a lot of
courage to fight back in a critical situation. Pards has taken a lot of
criticism, especially in the recent stuttering run, but he got his team
selection spot on today. There were 11 heroes out there today. And what
a finish by Curo... the stuff of legends. Today is a day we'll always
Well done Reading you got what you needed and at the end of the day
over the season you have had deserved it. I hope for our sake that we
can reform and lift our heads high for the play offs against Huddersfield
and get to Cardiff. On behalf of Bees fans I apologise for the morons
at the end of the game trying to spoil your moment of glory. Look forward
to hopefully revisiting the Madjeski again next season. Well done.
YES! Div 1 here we come. I am writing this on Sunday, with one of
the worst hangovers I have ever had.
Congratulations on your promotion to Division 1. It looked a bit worrying
to get enough points to go up but what a game to do it. We should of been
champions but like most reading fans will settle for the runners up spot.
I'd love to be there for the celebrations, but I'll have a couple of quiet
ones over here in Perth, Australia! Lets hope it's a good season next
I was not at the match but was keeping up to date on the radio and
can only say well done you rrrrrrrr's. A well deserved result that sees
us back up where we belong, the first division. Heres to a monster celebration
of a wonderful season well done the lads heros everyone of you. Many congratulations.
I had two choices, go and watch Rochdale and try and put the match
out of mind, or stay at home and listen on the Internet. I choose the
later but was frustrated because the streaming choose today to be and
pain and keep cutting off. However when Brentford scored the broadcast
was load and clear. I thought b******ks and took the dog for a walk. I
heard a roar from spotland as the Dale equalised against the Rovers and
had a feeling that we would equalise next! So I rushed back home dragging
a disappointed boxer dog behind me and there it was on Sky Sport news:
Brentford 1 Reading 1.
Didn't see the game... had to put up with a crappy internet coverage
with loads of distortion... that seemed to make it even more tense! I'm
not going to dwell on anything else, other than the fact...I am so HAPPY!!!
Made into Reading last night, left our daughter with her Grandparents,
and got completely wasted! Great result, great end to the season, great
night... we love you Reading we do...
Well done the team, the club, the supporters. Please don't do that
waiting bit again on us. Some of us who now live away cannot get to the
matches but follow we still do. At this time I would like to recall club
servants of past years. All very good men fo their day. The one and only
Stan the man Wicks. Johnny Walker. Good old Mr Blackman who had fire in
his boots. To mention but a few. Then we have the supporters like Cliff
Day and his brothers, Henry Holding and his daughter plus so many more.
Good Reading people who no matter how the team played was there week after
week and many year after year. Then we have the likes of Ted Hillier who
did so much in his time. In those days I worked for Ted and met several
of the players who came to the factory to work in there spare time. Now
we are to see what you have to give us next season? I am sure your supporters
will be on the line pushing you on. They will demand as always the best
out of you.
Congratulations lads. Once again you had us all going for a minute
there. I am ten quid better off now thanks to my unbelieveing girlfriend.
Thanks also to HNA for the website. My lifeline throughout the season.
We were there. Absolutely brilliant. Pards couldn't even face the
celebrations, he was so wound up. It just goes to show how important the
whole thing is to him. Well done everyone. Perhaps I can make up with
some of my neighbours now. The atmosphere in this part of Sussex has been
decidedly frosty since Brighton were promoted. See you all next season,
IN DIVISION 1. URZ!
What a moment, what a day, what a season! I was sat at the Mad Stad
on Saturday with another 4,999 fantastic Reading fans. It was all very
surreal to be honest. The first half gave us hope that we were not going
to collapse - the second was a blur! Things got a bit nasty when the screen
packed up for the first 15mins of the second half. When Cureton scored
we just went mental... though the tension just made the brain numb for
a while and it's only now on Sunday afternoon - things are sinking in.
Afterwards the fans streamed on to the pitch - one steward even helping
a few on! Who cares... we ain't gonna play on it again this season!! It
was like a huge garden party after the game - people lying and relaxing
on the grass with beer in hand - others in the stand watching the tele.
One gets the feeling we won't be back in Div 2 for a very long time. Brilliant,
well done Reading... at last!
What a day, what a weekend, what a season. Thank god its all over
and we can relax and watch the World Cup in the knowledge that next season
will be spent in Divison One. The season after, why not the Premiership.
Congratulations to all involved, but particularly Jamie Cureton. The man
for the occasion. A bargain when we bought him for £250k, absolutely priceless
now. Crowthorne Royal its been a pain watching with you the last few weeks,
but it was all worth it at 5.00 Saturday night. Here's to Divison One.
Come on URZZ!
What a weird experience. Never before has a draw seemed so incredibly
like a win and, judging by the faces of the Brentford faithful, never
has it seemed so like a loss either. Maybe Geller did have an effect on
me for, as the game kicked off, I felt an incredible sense of inner peace.
We were going to get the result we needed, I was sure of it. Even when
Brentford scored, I remained confident, having somehow shaken off my play-off
post traumatic stress syndrome. 'Stay positive', I kept saying to my kids
and, 'let them think they've got it, we don't want to equalise too early!'.
Last year I left the Millennium Stadium trying to hold back the tears
while consoling my distraught daughter. I made a promise to her then that
we won't be in the play-offs again - we'll go up automatically. I kept
that promise. I sat in front of my PC and openly wept with joy when I
saw the result. Such a relief and congratulations to every No. 13 out
there in the world. WE all deserve this. I've always told other Royals
to make the most of this - you never know when the next time will be.
By God I love this football club! URZ!
Yes sir....I should like to challenge the statement made by a fan
of the Royals on 606 last night... I was dissapointed to hear of him talking
of the chairman wishing to run the club as a business and to make money.
I feel it is only fair to point out that if Mr Madjeski's aim has been
to make money he prefers to make a slow buck rather than a fast one. I
happen to believe he is the best thing to have happened to the club...
(although I am pretty impressed with the current team!) Without his vision,
ambition and of course funds, Reading FC would be nothing like the huge
concern they now are... bringing great football and excitement to this
already thriving town. I cannot tell you what pleasure I have had in watching
the team this year... and I know it is going to get better and better!
So, its 4.30 pm and there we are, a sea of desolate faces, facing
disappointment yet again. I had this awful physical pain of despair in
my gut watching the Brentford party, thinking Why does it have to be like
this? Why does it always have to be this painful? Why does it always happen
to us? Suddenley, Curo has the ball - one half chance, one shot, one goal
and in an instant we're going mental with the greatest feeling of orgiastic
joy! Only football can do this - unbelievable! All the pundits have said
we deserved it because we were top all season - we weren't! In October
we were 14th and I, as many others did, wanted Pardew out. If we'd got
a new guy in at that point we would have considered it a success to get
to the play offs - to go up from there automatically is an amazing achievement.
As for Curo? Goalscoring hero! Give him a 10 year contract on a million
a week NOW - he's a Reading hero for now and forever!
Saturday 20th April 2002 - Probably the greatest draw I have ever
We are there! I really hope that any minute now the alarm isn't going
to ring and I'm going to find that it' s Saturday morning, I still have
a complete ticket for the game and I've got to get on the coach and go
through it all again! But it isn't a dream - it's reality! We are no longer
the Nearly Men, no more jealous cracks from mid table fans about us bottling
it again. Players and fans showed that we have what it takes to be winners!
I will never forget Hughsey dancing like an idiot at Griffin Park, Parky
snarling at the Bees fans before kick off, Adie W screaming through a
megaphone, balloons everywhere and most of all I will never forget Jamie
doing what he does best. We have marked time for the last few seasons
but this club is ready to go! We have the facilities, we have the support
and we have the makings of the squad. I have no doubt that we will see
some new faces over the summer and there are some very good players available.
I cannot wait for August - in fact why stop now! let's just go straight
into next season! Thankyou Mr Mad, thankyou Alan Pardew, thankyou the
entire squad and thankyou fellow fans. It's a great time to be a Royal
'The Royals are going up, The Royals are going up and now you've gotta
believe us and now' etc...
Oh happy daze...! What a feeling when that final whistle went. What
a bizarre experience shouting and screaming at the 'big' screen (when
it was on that is...it was just as well Curo scored otherwise we may well
have found out how many people it would take to turn over a three and
a half ton truck!) Actually I find it quite hard to deal with it all.
Defeats, near misses and last minute failures I can handle. But success...?
What do I do? I'm still lapsing into chanting ('Jamie Cureton; what a
bargain; what a bargain' is the favourite one) and I have a silly grin
most of the time. In the course of Saturday's celebrations a bloke came
into the pub who had been at Brentford. He said he saw a woman with bad
grazes to her arms and a black eye. The grazes were the result of being
crushed against a barrier. 'Guess where I got the black eye?' she was
asking, before proudly telling everyone that Graham Murty did it in his
exuberant celebrations at the final whistle! I have no such proud injury
but me and Dave would surely have given a cardiac specialist a worrying
moment or two on Saturday afternoon. Well done Alan and the lads- but
you certainly put us through it!
'ello, 'ello Reading are BACK, Reading are BACK.
I was at the Mad Stad too, with my husband (a Newcastle fan). At least
the "big screen" disruption meant we did not have to see the Brentford
goal! Seriously if the club stages an event like that again we need (a)
a bigger screen (b) contingency plans for technical hitches! But we are
up, no arguments now, a well-deserved return to Division One and thanks
a million to Alan and the lads and John M himself. I live nearer Brentford
funnily enough! Come on URZZZZZ! Go for it in the First next season.
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