Preston 2-3 Reading - September 15th
Rocking up at Deepdale without a win in the first six games of the season, Clement’s Reading were stuck bottom but were only three points behind fellow slow starters Preston. It turned out to be a vital away win as the Royals continued to pick up all their points on the road.
After Baldock’s opener was cancelled out, Tiago Ilori (!) scored what would be his only goal for the club and a further equaliser led to Leandro Bacuna lashing in an 86th minute winner. Maybe we would be alright after all.
Reading 3-0 Hull - September 22nd
This is the sort of game Reading have been playing a lot in the past two seasons, albeit with the shoe on the other foot. Hull were a wholly unequipped mess of a side, and Paul Clement’s men took full advantage.
Sam Baldock knocked in an early opener and late finishes from Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and the impressive Andy Yiadom sealed a September win that remained the club’s biggest of the entire 2018/19 season.
Reading 2-1 Blackburn - February 13th
Jose Gomes’ first home game in charge of the club was a shocker - losing 4-1 to Swansea. Bouncing back with a rejuvanating win over a shocking Nottingham Forest side, Blackburn Rovers came to town and the Royals slipped back into their awful selves.
That was, until Yiadom went on a mazy run in first-half stoppage time and delivered Gomes a half-time lead, John Swift adding the finish. In the second period, Reading were much much better and yet conceded late on. Step up Nelson Oliveira and a world class breakaway goal sent the fans went home happy, worshipping a new hero.
Ipswich 1-2 Reading - March 2nd
Late shows were costing Reading as they headed to Portman Road for a clash with the bottom club, knowing a defeat could mean an irreversible drop into the relegation zone. Nelson Oliveira’s troll-tastic opener gave the travelling masses - aided by refreshingly cheap tickets - something to cheer.
But, with memories of Bolton and Rotherham snatching late draws against the Royals fresh, the home side’s equaliser was a real sucker punch. That all changed amid Emiliano Martinez’s heroics and a late long ball forward. Put round the corner by a knackered Yakou Meite, Mo Barrow was in. I distinctly remember feeling so pissed off at the equaliser that I didn’t think I’d celebrate a winner. I was very wrong.
Reading 3-2 Wigan - March 9th
There was a moment in this game when Reading were headed for League One. Wigan were 2-1 up and a chance fell to Nick Powell, who was denied brilliantly by Martinez. A two-goal gap would have been far too much to surmount and the Gomes revival would have been thrown into massive doubt.
That didn’t happen, though. What did happen was Reading kept the score down and pounced late on, Barrow rifling in a power drive from range and Meite heading home a last ditch corner to send the home crowd wild. It was the ten minute spell that turned the season, finishing a run of seven points from three crunch games that would ultimately keep the club up.
Norwich 2-2 Reading - April 10th
Norwich were on a run of eight straight wins and the Sky cameras turned up to Carrow Road with the express intent of broadcasting the latest step of their path to glory. Filled with young British players and an unorthodox European manager, the Canaries were the handsome heroes over Reading’s unorthodox European manager and young British players.
Going ahead through Yakou Meite, the inevitable equaliser came via a well-hit strike on 86 minutes, and Norwich were ahead 90 seconds later. Game over. Or maybe not. Andy Rinomhota popped up on the edge of the 18-yard box in injury time to stun the commentators and home fans alike. It was a glorious, unexpected moment that we could enjoy without any caveats.
Reading 0-0 West Brom - April 22nd
As stalemates go, this was a good one. From a neutral point of view, both sides put on a good show and the second-half in particular saw chance after chance created. West Brom hit the woodwork, Danny Loader fluffed his lines, it was all going on.
It would have been truly satisfying to get a late winner on a balmy spring afternoon, but the fact that wasn’t to be was a mere subplot in the true headline story: Reading were safe. Rotherham’s loss meant our draw put us six points clear with a much better goal difference and two games to go. Salvation.
Vote below. Can’t see the poll? Click here.