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When Reading FC Troll Their Opponents’ Big Day

Can they add Cardiff to the likes of Derby and Bournemouth?

Derby County v Reading - Sky Bet Championship
Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Sometimes Reading find themselves part of another club’s plotline and, like any reasonable football team would do, cherish ruining their opposition’s big day. With a little help from our loyal Twitter following, we recount when the Royals, quite frankly, got in the way.

Reading 3-3 Bournemouth: 2000/01 Division Two final day

An opera singer, helicopters delivering the match ball... and a ruined day out for Cherries fans. Saturday May 5 2001 was a day that started with Reading in third place of the old Division Two (aka League One), a position they couldn’t be shifted from no matter the result at home to Bournemouth.

The visitors had won eight of their last nine, charged by a young forward called Jermain Defoe, and needed a win to make the play-offs and take on the Royals over two legs.

By half-time, Bournemouth were 3-1 up with goals from Wade Elliott and a Defoe strike bettering a lone Martin Butler effort. However, Alan Pardew sent on Darren Caskey and the mercurial midfielder curled in a free-kick with his first touch before Nicky Forster buried an equaliser in the 88th minute, his first on return from serious injury.

There was still time for Graeme Murty to head a goalbound shot off the line in front of the thousands of away fans in the South Stand, and their dropped points meant Wigan’s draw versus Bristol City was enough to carry them into the play-offs. The rest is history.

Reading 2-1 Fulham (Agg.): 2016/17 Play-Off Semi-Finals

Sometimes you don’t only troll the opposition, but the overarching media narrative that had overestimated their abilities by some margin. In Reading’s play-off semi-final first leg with Fulham, the 1-1 result was fair and belied a much more even contest than suggested by the fact the Cottagers were favourites for the play-offs, despite finishing sixth.

Back at the Madejski, things were about to go very wrong for the media darlings, Yann Kermorgant’s penalty putting the hosts in front.

One of the great trolling features about this game was how replays showed Kermorgant seemingly punching the ball onto the Fulham defender’s arm to win the spot-kick, after which the visitors proceeded to spaff plenty of chances and send Reading through to Wembley. Much like in 2001, we needed no help in trolling ourselves in the final itself.

Derby 0-3 Reading: 2014/15 Championship final day

The epitome of football trolling, Reading rocked up to Pride Park with the Sky cameras trained on Derby’s inevitable rise to the Premier League via the play-offs, only for things to go very, very right.

Just a point would have been enough for the Rams to seal fifth place with Steve McLaren’s side inside the top six from mid-September all the way to the moment unknown loanee Kwesi Appiah grabbed Will Hughes’ wayward pass to put Reading, restricted to 19th place at best, ahead three minutes in.

Derby had even led the division for more weeks than they’d been outside the top six. But, you know what they say, it’s where you are at the final whistle that counts. The Royals doubled down on their trolling efforts when Darren Bent had a penalty kick saved by Adam Federici, with Michael Hector making it two. The sealer came courtesy of former Nottingham Forest winger Garath McCleary.

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