Going into the game, we sat in sixth place and we kind of needed to win against already promoted Burnley. What would happen though would be one of the most dramatic ends to the season.
After the previous week's win at Doncaster, Reading went into the final day of the season with momentum and confidence. We’d only lost once in six at home and if Brighton didn’t win away at Forest, then we’d be in the play-offs. So for Reading it was important that we picked up three points, but if Brighton lost or drew then it wouldn’t be crucial.
As we know Reading only needed a win to secure their place in the play-offs and our intent was clear right from the start: we would attack. In the first minute Reading were denied a clear cut penalty and continued to press the action straight after that.
A counter attack from a Burnley corner set us through. Le Fondre with a slick pass down to captain Jobi McAnuff, who ran down the right wing and struck the ball into the box. The ball deflected off right back Kieran Trippier and Reading were ahead. The lead was deserved and Reading now had to defend.
The defending part didn’t go so well for us though. The 1-0 lead quickly turned into 2-1 to Burnley. Scott Arfield and Danny Ings both scoring within eight minutes of each other and Reading went from the play offs to out. Arfield’s goal came from sloppy defending during a free kick as he was the only man to jump for the ball and the second was even sloppier.
Ings was given time and space on the edge of the box, and slotted the ball home. On the stroke of half time, Reading were lucky not go further behind. A good save from McCarthy kept Ings out again.
After the break, Reading responded well but a goal was needed, desperately. Brighton had equalised at the City Ground and we needed a goal. Luckily for Reading though that goal came, and it came from one of the best goals I have ever seen at the Madejski Stadium. McCleary struck maybe the sweetest volley I have witnessed and it rifled into the top hand corner from the edge of the box. We were back in the play offs and the goal deserved to send us there.
We were unlucky not to get a third, Sean Morrison was denied a header in the last moments of the game after a great save from Tom Heato, but at almost the exact same time Leandro Ulloa scored for Brighton to put them in the lead and into sixth spot, us seventh.
And then the pitch invasion happened. Everyone in the ground believed that Brighton drew and we were through. It was devastating and probably one of the saddest days I’ve experienced inside that ground. It’s up there with the FA Cup defeat this year. So we were out of the play-offs and we needed to regroup for next year.
Reading: A McCarthy, C Gunter, A Pearce, S Morrison, J Obita, G McCleary, M Leigertwood, H Akpan (J Taylor, 55), J McAnuff, A Le Fondre (H Robson-Kanu, 57), P Pogrebnyak.
Burnley: T Heaton, K Trippier, J Shackell, M Duff, B Mee, M Kightly (R Wallace, 63), D Marney, D Jones, S Arfield (J Stanislas, 72), A Barnes, D Ings.