Championship - Reading return to Premier League

Tue, 17 Apr 22:01:00 2012

Mikele Leigertwood netted a late winner as Reading clinched promotion back to the Premier League with a 1-0 win over Nottingham Forest at the Madejski Stadium, with Forest staying up despite defeat.

FOOTBALL Reading's Noel Hunt celebrates their promotion to the Premier League - 0

The midfielder broke the deadlock in the 81st minute as the Royals eventually overcame a dogged Forest side to spark wild celebrations by the home fans.

The goal came minutes after news filtered through that nearest challengers West Ham had been held to a 1-1 draw by Bristol City at Ashton Gate.

Forest, though, came close to snatching a point and putting the champagne on ice but substitute Marcus Tudgay's header was cleared off the line by Alex Pearce with the striker's follow-up effort being kept out by Adam Federici deep into injury time.

It was Reading's sixth successive win, eighth in a row at home and their 15th in the last 17 games, form which has seen them leapfrog long-time leaders Southampton at the summit.

Despite the defeat, only their second in eight games, Forest secured Championship football for another season with Coventry losing at home to Millwall.

Forest made a strong start and Lewis McGugan had an early sight of goal only to drag his 12-yard shot wide.

Reading were struggling to build any momentum, although they did have the ball in the net after 19 minutes. But Noel Hunt was penalised for a foul on Forest keeper Lee Camp from Jobi McAnuff's free-kick, with Jason Roberts having tapped home.

Moments later, Federici - widely regarded as one of the best keepers outside the Premier League - reacted quickly to get down to Adlene Guedioura's effort from range.

The home side were still to find their rhythm and it was again Forest who threatened, Dexter Blackstock turning and shooting at Federici.

Camp was finally tested when Hayden Mullins fired a shot from 18 yards with the midfielder then seeing another effort charged down by Forest defender Luke Chambers as Reading eventually started to get going.

Reading came out in the second half with much more purpose and had an early chance to take the lead but Hunt headed well wide from Jimmy Kebe's cross.

They went close again shortly afterwards but excellent defending from George Elokobi prevented Hunt from connecting to Ian Harte's far-post cross.

Elokobi then threatened at the other end as his overhead kick from McGugan's corner just cleared the bar.

Reading boss Brian McDermott then threw on Adam Le Fondre - the match-winner from the bench in last Friday's win at Southampton - in the 58th minute as he sought a repeat of the striker's heroics.

Seven minutes later Le Fondre had the best opportunity of the game. He chased down a lost cause and found himself with Camp to beat but he dinked his shot over the keeper and wide.

Luke Chambers headed a McGugan corner over before Elokobi skimmed the bar moments later with 20 minutes left as Forest still looked threatening.

But after hearing news of West Ham's draw at Bristol City, the Reading fans roared their team on and they got the crucial goal with nine minutes left, Leigertwood bundling in Harte's free-kick.

The stadium was rocking and Le Fondre was denied a chance to wrap the game up by a fine save from Camp before Reading survived a late scare.

PA Sport

Comment 33 - 53 of 53

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  1. Better get all the goalkeepers a suit of armour then.­ Remember how the thugs injured the 2 Chelsea­ goalkeepers in the same match.

    From had enough, on Wed 18 Apr 16:02
  2. Well done reading from a Swansea City fan. You gave us­ a cracking game at Wembley last year and were sooo­ close to equalising and who knows what could have been­ then ..... You've done it with style with your­ recent run of games - fantastic to do that. I hope you­ go up as Champions. See you at the Liberty Stadium next­ season!!!!

    From Derek, on Wed 18 Apr 15:29
  3. Well done Reading, welcome back to the Premiership from­ a Stoke City fan. On current form you really deserve­ your promotion but I expect you will be targeted for­ relegation exactly like we were back in 2008. Go and­ prove the so called experts wrong.

    From Gerard, on Wed 18 Apr 12:35
  4. well done to all the team, squad, coaches, manager etc.­ well deserved. we're well prepared for top flight­ wit the form of the current team. its time to claim a­ few more top flight scalps nxt season

    From Martin, on Wed 18 Apr 12:01
  5. Bad news Reading is absolutely the worst ground to­ visit as an away fan and the hospitality veers towards­ Little Chef rather than a value experience. The team­ and the manager deserve congratulations though.

    From Silverfleet, on Wed 18 Apr 11:58
  6. Fantastic news , well done Reading.

    From ALLAN, on Wed 18 Apr 10:46
  7. well done reading u came from nowhere to promotion from­ efc fan

    From TRACEY STOUT, on Wed 18 Apr 10:11
  8. Congratulations Reading. Hopefully we will be joining­ you in the Premier League on Saturday. Comon you­ SAINTS.

    From TBRays, on Wed 18 Apr 10:10
  9. Congratulations Reading, from a LFC fan. I don't­ know much about the Championship so please tell me,­ what are your aspirations for next year? Will staying­ up be enough or do you hope to replicate Swansea and­ Norwich, who have done so well this season? Either way,­ enjoy the moment, your players have earnt it with this­ fantastic run.

    From LarryMac, on Wed 18 Apr 9:37
  10. Well done Reading, now my finger nails can start to­ grow again as I won't be biting them waiting for­ the ref to blow the final whistle, hope you finish up­ as Champions, you deserve it, and I hope Brian­ McDermott get Manager of the year, he deserves it as­ well. Good luck for next season, but then I always say­ you make your own luck.. keep on playing your dogges­ sort of playing, never stopping until the final whistle­ blows and you will do alright... Come on URZzzz.. ­ :-)))

    From Lizzy Ingram, on Wed 18 Apr 9:36
  11. well done reading, its a grin in this league,swans fan

    From alfa man, on Wed 18 Apr 9:23
  12. Well i hope reading do stay up after next season but­ its very hard what with the money thats on the table­ today they will find it hard as for buying new players­ forgat that you got up without spending a fortune so­ stick with the team who got you there and all the very­ best of luck to you and your familys go on reading­ prove them all wrong god bless

    From ALAN, on Wed 18 Apr 8:56
  13. Comment hidden due to its low rating. Show

    Well done Reading, but you will go straight back down­ again!!

    From McVicar, on Wed 18 Apr 8:42
  14. Make sure you guys give Man United a good kicking! and­ their paid off ref staff next season :)

    From mike j, on Wed 18 Apr 8:34
  15. Well done and good luck for next season.

    From Saalemnok, on Wed 18 Apr 8:33
  16. Well done Reading. Brian McD, manager of the year for­ me.

    From Tom, on Wed 18 Apr 8:30
  17. Well done Reading a great run since Xmas and thourghly­ deserved promotion.

    From Victor Meldew lol, on Wed 18 Apr 8:22
  18. Well done, you desrve it!! LCFC Fan.

    From Quit your jibber jabber, on Wed 18 Apr 8:11
  19. Comment hidden due to its low rating. Show

    Make sure you dont resign that other Hunt from Wolves.­ Any team he has joined has been relegated, yourselves,­ Hull and now Wolves.

    From john, on Wed 18 Apr 7:47
  20. welcome back reading ....from nufc supporter

    From Dave Tfe, on Wed 18 Apr 7:36
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