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Two Goal Collapses: How Do Reading Bounce Back?

Fulham's devastating second half performance dismantled a Reading side that had looked so solid in the games prior. So how have The Royals bounced back from previous two goal collapses?

Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

Ouch. That hurt. After looking so comfortable in the first half at Craven Cottage on Saturday afternoon, Steve Clarke's side capitulated and ended up on the losing side, despite leading 2-0 shortly after half time. The devastating result, which Clarke called a "reality check", got me thinking: how have the Biscuitmen recovered from two goal collapses in recent seasons?

Fortunately, there haven't been too many since 2011/12, which is as far back as I'm willing to go. Working our way back, let's look at the results and the recoveries. This may or may not be painful...

Reading 3-3 Watford, Championship 2013/14

Prior to the Fulham shambles, the most recent game The Royals have thrown away a two goal lead was back in the 2013/14 season in our first season back in the Championship since relegation from the Premier League. Nigel Adkins was at the helm at the time and saw his side 2-0 up at the Madejski Stadium in the 42nd minute, with goals from Adam Le Fondre and Jem Karacan.

What could possibly go wrong? Well, Marco Faraoni scored with a header midway through the second half for Gianfranco Zola's Hornets, before Jem Karacan gave Reading another two goal lead. It didn't last, as Troy Deeney scored a penalty and a lucky last-minute goal saw Watford draw level.

How did they recover?

Not well. Adkins' charges bounced back from that collapse by losing 1-0 away at Blackpool, following it up with the shambolic 6-0 defeat at Peterborough in the Capital One Cup. That seemed to shake them out of their rut though, as they went on to get 13 points from the following five games.

Relive the game

Reading 5-7 Arsenal, League Cup 2012/13

I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to open up old wounds, but it had to be done I'm afraid.

Perhaps the greatest collapse of recent years, Reading looked to be cruising to a shock victory over Arsenal in the League Cup, leading 4-0 in the 37th minute. Theo Walcott, speed demon that he is, scored in added time of the first half and that led to one of the most chaotic halves of football the League Cup has probably ever witnessed.

Giroud and Koscielny scored in normal time before Walcott equalised in the 93rd minute before extra time saw four goals scored — three for the Gunners — and The Royals crushed. Gutsy, ballsy, but torn apart in the end, it's a game that lives long in the memory and took Reading fans through the emotional wringer.

How did they recover?

Averagely. Well, we all know how the season ended: relegation. Though the next five games for Brian McDermott's men did see them pick up five points from five games against QPR, Norwich, Everton, Wigan and Aston Villa. Not great, but not horrendous either — especially when three of those points came at home against the Toffees.

Relive the game

Swansea City 2-2 Reading, Premier League 2012/13

It was only three games before that Arsenal mayhem that Reading had thrown away a two goal lead as well. Goals from the Big F-ing Russian and Noel Hunt saw the Royals leading at half time, only for a second half comeback featuring now-forgotten Michu and Wayne Routledge to snatch three points away and, actually, see The Royals hold out for a "gutsy" (their words, not mine) point.

How did they recover?

Not great. The Royals wouldn't win until the victory against Everton in mid-November, collecting just three points in the following five. Which made the collapse at Arsenal all the more gut-wrenching. Sigh.

Reading FC 2-3 Sheffield United, Championship 2010/11

Fourth and finally, this game against the Blades (back when the Championship was sponsored by nPower) saw a two-goal lead, courtesy of strikes from Noel Hunt and Hal Robson-Kanu, crumble into zero points. Zilch. A brace from former Royal Darius Henderson sandwiched a strike from Lee Williamson and meant fans left the Madejski Stadium in a rather foul mood, despite starting the game brightly.

How did they recover?

Not too bad. They drew the next game away at Coventry, but beat Derby in the last game of the season before famously defeating Cardiff in the play-offs, before throwing it all away in that play-off final defeat to Brendan Rodgers' Swansea.

What does this all mean?

Probably very little. It's worth noting that just one of these capitulations occurred during a moment of decent form. Watford happened early in the season, the capitulations against Swansea and Arsenal took place during that tough second Premier League stint under Anton Zingarevich.

Disconcertingly, the Sheffield United crumble ended a 13-game unbeaten run on the charge to the play-offs under Brian McDermott, and we need to hope this Fulham result isn't a sign of things to come, especially with Championship leaders Brighton visiting this Saturday.

Can Clarke rally the troops and bounce back? We can only hope he does a better job than McDermott and Adkins managed before him.

Can you recall any (in)famous two goal collapses for The Royals? Let us know about it in the comments below and remind us how Reading recovered.