This game was Reading’s biggest of the season. The Royals were six points away from second place with two games to go and were hoping that Birmingham City slipped up. Luckily for us they did and all Reading needed was a win away at Norwich City.
Despite fighting for relegation, the Canaries had beaten some tough teams at home that year: Wolves, Sheffield United and Cardiff City had all fallen at Carrow Road.
The game itself showed that both teams were tense. Norwich had to win to try and stay up, and as we all know we were fighting for promotion and needed six points in our last two games to get back to the promised land.
The first half was nervy. Both teams didn’t really do much and despite City having the most shots, they were almost all off target and most were from distance. Reading were defending well and would put pressure on the home side, closing them down at almost every opportunity.
This pressure continued into the second half and Reading had City pinned in their own half every single time they went forward. Attacking wise, we had to say thanks to Shane Long and Jimmy Kebe. Both goals were from the hands of both men and down the left wing.
The first for Long came from a perfect cross by Kebe and great positioning by the Irishman meant that he could head home from close range. The second goal though was a lot of Long’s work. Kebe once again producing the cross, but this time Long out jumped two defenders and secured the victory for Reading and gave us all three points.
Norwich: D Marshall, J Otsemobor, J Shackell (A Leijer, 79), G Doherty, R Bertrand, A Gow, S Clingan, D Russell, D Carney (L Daley, 74), A Lee, C McDonald
Reading: M Hahnemann, L Rosenior, A Bikey, M Duberry, D Harding, K Cisse (M Matejovsky, 62), J Karacan, J Kebe, G Little (S Hunt, 41), D Kitson (A Pearce, 89), S Long
So with the victory Reading would just need to beat Birmingham at home on Sunday and they would leap above them in the table into second place (due to our goal difference being superior). So for next week's article we will have a look at Reading’s most important game of the 2008/09 season.