Reading's Npower Championship Title Win
Season 2011/12
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By Adam Higgins
Chief Football Editor 

 

 

It wasn't the perfect start to the season for the Royals as a second half scoring double from Mathieu Manset salvaged a point for Reading in a 2-2 home draw with Millwall on the opening day

 

 

Noel Hunt (right) celebrates with Tottenham loanee Bongani Khumalo (left) as the Irishman nets his first goal of the campaign in the second weekend of the season in a sensational 2-0 victory over pre-season title favourites Leicester City at the King Power Stadium 

 

 

It was the worst possible end to August for Brian McDermott's side as after the 2-0 victory over Leicester, they lost three consecutive Championship games- including a 1-0 defeat at Hull City courtesy of Robbie Brady's first goal for the Tigers- and they exited the Carling Cup at the hands of Charlton Athletic 

 

 

September didn't start well either as a 2-0 loss to Watford infront of a record low crowd at the Madejski Stadium made it four Championship defeats on the spin with Watford winning their first match of the campaign to leave the Royals languishing in the bottom three

 

 

Reading's form slowly began to pick up pace for the first time in the season as after a win over Doncaster Rovers and draw at Coventry City- the Royals staged a stirring late comeback from two goals down to beat Bristol City 3-2 at the end of September at Ashton Gate 

 

 

Reading had a steadily unbeaten month in October beating Burnley at Turf Moor to begin but drew four out of the five league games played, including a 1-1 draw with league leaders Southampton who had captain Dean Hammond sent off, to leave them in 14th place going into November

 

 

Marcus Tudgay (pictured above) celebrates scoring the only goal of the game as struggling Nottingham Forest continued their fine run under new boss Steve Cotterill by beating the Royals 1-0 at the beginning of November

 

 

Reading had to come from behind again- this time against free-scoring Peterborough to come out on top in a five-goal thriller later in the month while victories over Birmingham and Ipswich helped them to move to within two points of the Championship play-off places 

 

 

After a disappointing 1-0 loss at Blackpool, Simon Church scored twice in Reading's extraordinary 3-0 win over nine-man promotion chasing West Ham United in December to record their biggest win of the season so far

 

 

Jobi McAnuff (above) was the pick of the bunch as he helped Reading to sweep aside newly promoted Brighton with another 3-0 home win on Boxing Day to move into the top six for the first time in the season

 

 

Reading moved to fourth in the Championship as they won a fourth consecutive home game as Alex Pearce netted his third goal of the season in a 1-0 victory over Ipswich Town on New Years Eve 

 

 

Following a brisk exit from the FA Cup in the third round against League One side Stevenage and defeat at Cardiff, Hull City surprised the form book to keep up their own good run of form to end Reading's home streak of wins with a 1-0 victory at the Madejski Stadium as the Tigers did the double over the Royals 

 

 

January signing Jason Roberts- brought in from Blackburn Rovers- scored his third Royals goal since his arrival in a vital 1-0 victory over play-off chasers Burnley on 17th February to make it four wins in four Championship games 

 

 

The Royals went onto win another four matches to take them into the top two but their eight-game winning run came to an abrupt end as it needed a late Alex Pearce equaliser to earn a 1-1 draw at bottom of the table Doncaster Rovers in mid-March although remained in the automatic promotion places

 

 

After a lacklustre display in the 3-1 defeat at Peterborough, Reading produced an attacking performance of real quality to see off Blackpool 3-1 to remain five points behind leaders Southampton while they were four points clear of third-placed West Ham who were their next opponents

 

 

Reading ended the month of March with their most important result of the season so far as Brian McDermott's men fought back to crush West Ham's automatic promotion hopes to maintain the four point lead over the Hammers in the race for second place with a clinical 4-2 win at Upton Park  

 

 

For the first time this season, Reading moved to the top of the Championship on Good Friday (6th April) as two late Adam Le Fondre goals edged them past ten-man Leeds United with Southampton's draw at Portsmouth allowing the Royals to move above the Saints on 89 points

 

 

On "Friday 13th" April, the Championship had a title showdown of its own at St Marys as Southampton hosted Reading with the winner taking a giant step towards promotion. The Royals opened up a three point gap at the top of the league as they overcame a tense encounter to win 3-1 with just three games to go

 

 

Mikele Leigertwood scored the only goal as Reading beat Nottingham Forest at the Madejski Stadium to clinch promotion to the Premier League after the disappointment of last season's play-off final defeat to Swansea at Wembley. The result made it six straight victories in a row and means they have taken 46 points out of the last 51 available.

 

 

After languishing in sixteenth place on 1st November, Reading were crowned champions of the Championship despite only managing a 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace as Southampton's defeat at Middlesbrough left it impossible for the Saints to catch them on the final day while Jason Roberts was dismissed- the first Reading player to be sent off all season long in their final home match

 

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