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2012 - A Year Of Two Halves - A Look Back At Reading's Year

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In January it'll be 18 years since I've started watching Reading and it's not since my first year in 1995 when I can remember a calender year being quite so divided. That year we stormed our way to Wembley losing just one of our last ten before the Wembley hangover set in and we won just five times in our next 23 league games the following season. 2012 has been similarly fractured, with just four defeats in our last 22 games, turning into just 2 win in 20. From play-off contenders to Champions to Premier League strugglers here's a look back on some of the memorable games of 2012.

Ben Hoskins

January 21 - Championship: Reading 0-1 Hull

I'll use this first sentence to apologise to BBC Radio Berkshire's Tim Dellor. The day before this game he'd kindly allowed me to interview him for the website as he hosted the preview show for Berks ahead of the Hull game. With the interview concluded I ventured home but just hours later the game was the furthest thing from the mind of Reading fans with the news that Sir John Madejski had agreed to sell his majority stake in the club to an investment group called Thames Sports Investments. Suddenly the interview was put on the back burner and to this day I've still not finished it! (sorry Tim!)

On the pitch, Reading lost 1-0 at home to Hull to a goal that was scored in dubious circumstances. Aaron McLean appeared to be active in a clear offiside position but with Federici distracted by the onrushing forward he gave up the chase, only for Robbie Brady to nip in and score much to the disgust of Brian McDermott.

Still, the result didn't really matter as all the talk at the Madejski was as to whether we'd see an Abramovich style revolution or a steady Venkys style collapse.....

March 31 - Championship: West Ham 2-4 Reading

There are some games that'll stick with you forever and for me, this was one of them. For 40 minutes it looked as if the automatic promotion bubble would burst. West Ham were dominant, the crowd were behind a much fancied home team and Reading were barely getting a kick.

But two goals in those final few first half minutes turned the game on its head and if you were at Upton Park, then you'll forever remember the bounce that followed Noel Hunt's crucial second goal to give us the lead.

West Ham 2-4 Reading 2011-2012 (via youroyals1871)

April 6 - Championship: Reading 2-0 Leeds

West Ham was a beautiful win on the counter but this one was a brutal win in a war on Good Friday. Neil Warnock's Leeds side took no prisoners at the Madejski Stadium with an early red card followed up by several horrific challenges by Michael Brown, one of which broke Jem Karacan's ankle. With the clock ticking away it seemed as if we'd lose two crucial points only or super-sub Adam Le Fondre to score a late brace and send the home crowd wild.

April 13 - Championship: Southampton 1-3 Reading

Again, much like West Ham we hardly looked like the better team for much of this one, as a patched up Royals side headed to St Mary's for a potential title decider. Jason Roberts gave us an early lead but with the scores levelled up by Ricky Lambert, the stage was set once again for super-sub Le Fondre to score two late goals and all but secure promotion for the Royals.

Southampton 1-3 Reading 2011-2012 (via youroyals1871)

April 17 - Championship: Reading 1-0 Nottingham Forest

This game wasn't a classic but it's a night no Reading fan will forget, as Mikele Leigertwood stabbed home the goal 10 minutes from time that officially sealed promotion to the Premier League. Cue a pitch invasion, players in the directors box and even Brian McDermott and Sir John in the Purple Turtle past 3am!

Reading 1-0 Nottingham Forest 2011-2012 (via youroyals1871)

August 22 - Premier League: Chelsea 4-2 Reading

With Chelsea basking in the glow of their Champions League win, Reading pitched up at Stamford Bridge with few expecting anything other than a rampant win for the home side. Early on it seemed as if the pundits were right as Reading were cut open time after time and eventually conceded through a Frank Lampard penalty. However the Royals didn't cave and by half time had a 2-1 lead thanks to a brilliant Pogrebnyak header and a well hit free-kick from Guthrie. Sadly a Feds error and a blatantly offside goal from Fernando Torres ensured there would be no fairy tale but for nearly an hour Reading were top of the Premier League and fans were given hope that we could compete at the top level.

October 27 - Premier League: Reading 3-3 Fulham

For 61 minutes this was a fairly pedestrian game, with Reading doggedly clinging to a lead and Fulham struggling to break us down. However, a second half substitute by Martin Jol that saw Bryan Ruiz come on changed proceedings and set things up for a final 13 minutes that saw four goals and Reading twice come from behind to snatch a point.

October 30 - Capital One Cup: Reading 5-7 Arsenal

I don't really need to recap this game and quite frankly words don't do it justice......

Arsenal Vs Reading 7-5 All Highlights And Goals 10-30-2012 HQ (via OHighlightsHQ)

November 17 - Premier League: Reading 2-1 Everton

Things were beginning to look bleak for Brian McDermott's side as in-form Everton pitched up at the Madejski Stadium. Reading had gone 10 without a win and what little confidence remained was swiftly drained out of the fans when Steven Naismith capitalised on a huge cock-up between Gorkss and Morrison to put Everton in the lead. Chance after chance followed and how Reading only went into half-time 1-0 down I'm still not sure.

But faced with an 11th game without a win, Reading rallied in the second half, soon levelling things through Le Fondre before a clumsy foul by Coleman gave Le Fondre the chance to give Reading a win from the penalty spot. As cool as you like, Le Fondre converted and after seven long months, Reading fans could once again celebrate a league win at the Madejski Stadium.

December 1 - Premier League: Reading 3-4 Manchester Utd

In 21 Premier League seasons and close to 800 games, Manchester United had never conceded three goals in the first 23 minutes to a side, but that's exactly what Reading did to them on another wild night at the Madejski Stadium as the Royals twice led Sir Alex Ferguson's side.

Goals from Hal Robson-Kanu, Adam Le Fondre and Sean Morrision gave fans the hope that a famous upset might be on the cards but Robin van Persie's 34th minute finish gave United a 4-3 lead that they'd never surrender.

So what was your highlight? Let us know in the poll below or why not leave your own personal memories of 2012.