ROCK-Bottom Reading hosted QPR on mild Tuesday night at Elm Park.
Teams: Reading v Queens Park Rangers
Date: Tuesday 2nd September, 1997.
Competition: Nationwide League Division One
Venue: Elm Park, Reading.
Both sides had flattered to deceive at the beginning of the 1997/97 campaign, with the opening few games yielding some frustrating results.
For the Royals a 1-0 home defeat at home to rivals Swindon and a crushing 3-0 defeat against Bradford City among other results put them bottom of the league.
Rangers weren`t faring much better with defeats against Tranmere Rovers and Nottingham Forest leaving them too in a precarious position in the league.
The game was played out in good conditions as Reading for long period belied the tag of relegation candidates as they set about their task of hauling themselves away from the foot of the table.
The hosts bolstered by former Ranger Michael Meaker took the lead with ten minutes gone as Lee Hodges handed the Royals the lead. The midfielder who was booed by the home crowd upon the announcement of the sides gave Reading the lead after Carl Asaba`s effort came back off the cross bar.
The half time whistle went with Rangers given the opportunity to reflect on a poor first period. But they were also handed a ready made chant by the Reading supporters that still exists to the day: “Rufus is a dog`s name!”
Luckless Carl Asaba continued to spurn his opportunities and ultimately it would be the hosts downfall as Rangers took the game by storm to score two quick goals.
Steve Swales was the man to thank as Rangers were back into the fixture. Firstly he was beaten down the right, with the subsequent cross finding the head of John Spencer who dispatched with aplomb. Then Swales decided to put through his own net after a purposeful cross proved too much for the Reading back-line.
With that the R`s had the game in somewhat fortuitous circumstances, but nevertheless an important result as Rangers looked to move away from the danger zone.
The Royal finished bottom of Division One with 42 points, with Rangers finishing fourth bottom but nevertheless well clear of the chasing pack. Nottingham Forest, Middlesbrough and Charlton Athletic were promoted with Reading, Stoke City and Manchester City biting the bullet to drop to Division Two.
Final Score: Reading 1-2 Queens Park Rangers
Reading: Mautone, Booty, Swales, Robins, McPherson, Primus, Bernal, Hodges, Asaba (Roach 76), Meaker, Lambert.
Rangers: Harper, Rose, Brevett, Quashie, Maddix, Morrow, Spencer, Peacock, Murray, Sheron, Sinclair.
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