Sunday, April 30, 2006


The only thing missing was a fist-pumping Kris Akabusi. Otherwise the day on which the Royals were crowned as decisively deserving champions had everything you could possibly wish to round off a season to be cheerful. A late penalty from the captain who hadn't scored for five years clinched an english football record points total of 106, this was once again the stuff of dreams in a fantastical campaign.

The champagne flowed at the end of the game as the exhultant Reading players paraded their silverware around every corner of a packed and delirious MadStad, but for the most part this was not a champagne performance. Typical of our season though, we hit back from the inconvenience of a Queens Park Rangers equaliser to take the points late on in dramatic and fairytale style with a little over 5 minutes of our league season remaining. Interestingly, goals in the last ten minutes of matches this season have earned us a total of 10 league points - stageering when you remember that the first game of the campaign was lost in injury time to Plymouth Argyle. However, August seems a long time ago now and Floyd on Football suggests that perhaps even the most optimistic Reading supporter wouldn't have expected our team to finish 16 points clear of our nearest challengers.

Despite this not being a vintage Reading performance there was still plenty of gutsiness about the display and perhaps the players could be forgiven for not quite firing on all cylinders having clinched promotion so quickly. There was a carnival atmosphere about the day, mexican waves swept around the stadium in the second half and pre-match there was a spectacular Raise The Hoops demonstration as pieces of blue and white plastic were held aloft around the bowl to create a colourful collage of our proud colours. It was however QPR who seemed to be the more inspired by the ocassion in the opening exchanges with the lively Lee Cook giving us plenty to think about. The Reading support grew increasingly irritated by the officials, particularly the linesmen who made a number of suspect looking calls - a flag which halted Kevin Doyle came not so much late as almost posthumous. Reading grew in stature the longer the half went on, playing some typically neat football at times but they were foiled by QPR's impressive defensive double-act Santos and the inaptly named Shittu.

We always had a bit more class than QPR though and the first goal of the game shortly before half time was well crafted and a delight to watch, so fiendishly clever in it's intricacy as it was. Hahnemann collected a long QPR freekick, releasing Convey who played a one-two with Shorey before crashing over a powerful centre which seemed destined to go begging before Oster crashed it back across goal from the far post for KITSON to poke home. Truth be told, QPR had much the better of the second half and deserved to level with a little under twenty minutes left when FURLONG drilled home a knock down from Jones. Convey responded with a smart volley into the side netting but QPR missed a guilt edged chance when Shittu found only the side netting at the other end after Hahnemann had dropped a corner. There seemed to be only one team likely to win it at this stage and the points record looked in real doubt until a little miracle happened.

A Shorey cross was handled in the box, penalty. For many weeks supporters had joked how a spot kick in our last game might give our captain the chance to net his first competitive goal for RFC in 5 long years and once again Murty's every touch this afternoon was greeted with urges of shoot! Our right back strode decisively over to take the penalty and after an agonising wait for QPR gamesmanship the ball was placed on the spot. A chance to cap off the best season in the club's long history giving one of our most popular players the chance to end that long, long goalscoring drought. After what seemed an age, the North Stand attempted to suck the ball in but they had no need to as MURTY dispatched the ball high to the left as the keeper dived low to his right. The stadium rocked and acclaimed a most popular goal as the players bundled Kingsley Royal. It was an apt epilogue to a fairytale.

Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Shorey, Ingimarsson, Sonko, Oster (Hunt, 61), Sidwell, Harper, Convey (Gunnarsson, 85), Doyle (LOng, 85), Kitson. Subs not used: Stack, Makin.

Floyd's Favourite: Murty. Roy of the Rovers stuff brought the house down.


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