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READING’S 2015/16 season fell apart when a freak 4-2 defeat by Fulham put a hand grenade under a highly-promising start to the campaign. Royals never recovered their form, confidence, or their lofty position in the table. Thirteen months on, third-placed Reading will be hoping that yet another freak disaster day at Craven Cottage does not lead to another untimely slide down the table. This one had repeat-fiasco written all over it from the 15th minute when Chris Gunter, under no pressure whatever, stooped to head a cross into his own net. Unlucky Gunts, who appeared as a pundit on Channel 5's Championship round-up later in the evening, explained that the ball came at him through a chink of bright sunlight in the corner of the stand. A few Royals chances came and went before the end of an even half - then it all went pear-shaped in the first nine minutes of the second half.

Last season Fulham won it from 2-0 down on the back of some absolute “worldy” goals - and they snaffled another one on 49 minutes when Chris Martin dredged up memories of his better days with a sizzler into the corner from the edge of the box. Then card-happy referee Oliver Langford showed a straight red to Danny Williams for a coming-together with Stefan Johansen - in a situation which was 50-50 at worst, one of those typical things where the original offender gets off while the injured party is sent off for having a return nibble. And having already booked Paul McShane and Jordan Obita, he added Joey van den Berg’s name to his one-sided collection. Not that it was his fault that day, but he was also in the middle for Reading's previous worst night of this season, the 4-1 crash at Brentford - so let's hope we don't see him again this season! Bizarrely, ten-man Royals briefly had their best patch of the game after going down to ten. Obita saw a goalbound shot deflected wide, and David Button made a smart save from George Evans' header.

Then the wheels came off spectacularly again. Sone Aluko, a half-decent player when he puts his mind to it, made a mazy run down the right and beat Ali Al-Habsi from an angle. Royals claimed heatedly that Martin, in an offside position, got the last touch. But after a long consultation with his linesman, who had flagged the offside, the ref gave the nod to Fulham. Before Royals could get over their anger it was 4-0, Johansen with a "training ground" joke goal, striding into a crowded box before curling one in through a forest of legs with the outside of his foot. And Fulham knew this was a freak day to put up alongside - and even beyond - last season’s result when Martin’s last-minute free-kick found the corner of the net past a poorly constructed wall. Reading’s task now is to ensure that there is no repeat of last season’s adverse reaction by bouncing back at home to Sheffield Wednesday next week. CAPTAIN'S COMMENTS.


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READING FC made it five wins on the spin in a predictably close affair at the Mad Stad. The slight downside was the first goal conceded in those five games, but City have one of the best attacking line-ups in the division, so this must go down as another fine performance by the Royals. Early goals by Garath McCleary - who slotted in the rebound after his penalty was saved - and Roy Beerens (right) with one of the best goals of the season, paved the way, and all was well until the 87th minute when Gary O’Neil scored to set up a tense finish. In the end Royals held out without too much sweat to stay in third place, but now with a seven-point cushion between them and seventh place.

It was all Reading in the opening minutes. Dom Samuel, relishing the chance to get successive games under his belt, almost got on the scoresheet again in the second minute but his fierce strike was deflected away for a corner. Another two corners quickly followed, then a flowing move ended with Frankie Fielding snatching the ball off the toes of Samuel. The young Royals spearhead was not to be denied for long, and when he surged into the area again he was clumsily tripped by Hordur Magnusson. McCleary’s penalty was not the greatest, and Fielding pushed it out, but McCleary kept cool and slotted in the rebound. City were stung into action and Aden Flint was allowed too much room to get in a shot which was only just wide. But while City were working out how they could equalise, they were suddenly 2-0 down. A superb move between McCleary and Chris Gunter down the right ended with a volleyed cross and Beerens volleying in from the edge of the area.

City were obviously a better side than they had looked in the first 20 minutes and midway through the half they piled on the pressure. Ali Al-Habsi made a brilliant point-blank save from Bobby Reid. Danger-man Tammy Abraham had the ball in the net, but from an offside position, then it was Al-Habsi again, keeping out Jamie Paterson’s angled fizzer. Royals did not need reminding that City have one of the most potent attacking forces in the division, and right on half-time Al-Habsi was in action again, parrying Reid’s effort. Reading had played well, but there was no doubt a third goal would have been a handy insurance policy.

City came storming forward and then the ever-dangerous Abraham, surely the luckiest loan find of the season, set up Gary O’Neil for a shot which had Al-Habsi scrambling to save. At the other end, McCleary had a thundering shot which Fielding did well to keep out, and Danny Williams, complete with natty new plaited hairstyle, missed the target from the edge of the area. Royals seemed to have steadied the ship, but Stam introduced some fresh legs for the final push, Yakou Meite replacing Samuel, and Callum Harriott getting a run down the right in place of McCleary. But City were still dangerous and the need for a third Reading goal came into sharp focus three minutes from the end when City pulled one back, O’Neil’s hit-and-hope from the edge of the box somehow threading through at least six players and past the unsighted Al-Habsi. Ironically it had followed a spell of Reading pressure when Meite, Obita and Williams all had chances. Royals traded Beerens for Liam Kelly as they tried, successfully, to close the game out. MANAGER'S COMMENTS. Attendance: 18,778 (3,529 away).


CLICK YOUR CHOSEN WEBSITE FOR THEIR CONTENT

Trinity Mirror-owned former Reading evening newspaper, the Post, has now been consigned to publishing history - T.M. decided the way forward is only via its getreading website.
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The oldest - now only - newspaper in the Reading, started life in the early 1800s as the Berkshire Chronicle - recently sold to the Newsquest group.
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First published in 1885 as the Henley Free Press, the locally-owned Henley Standard has been a front-runner in the electronic era with some consistently lively multi-media output.
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The Newbury Weekly News was first published in 1867 but was among the first locally to embrace the internet with extensive coverage under its Newbury Today brand.
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The Wokingham Times was that area's longest-established newspaper, but is no more. Website, getwokingham, styled like Reading stable-mate getreading is now the only outlet.
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The stable-mate of the Reading Chronicle and the Slough Observer has been serving south-east Berkshire for 50+ years and its website keeps up well with the news from its patch.
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First published in 1869 and once had an enviable circulation larger than the town's population - still thriving and proudly independent, with fifth generation of Baylis family, Jason, at helm.
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Founded in 1812, and apart from a brief spell, the Express remained a family independent. It is again, acquired in 2008 by family-owned Baylis Media Ltd of the Maidenhead Advertiser.
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Founded in 1878, the Basingstoke Gazette went through it's first 99 years family-owned. Today, owned by Newsquest - part of the multi-media American-based giant Gannett.
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BBC Radio Berkshire has the benefit of Government funding for its county-wide broadcast and multi-media coverage - website perhaps not the powerhouse it should be.
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After many name and image changes, the south's commercial TV operation has found stability. It has a good website - plus TV from Fred Dinenage and Reading's Sangeeta Bhabra.
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Reading's "community" radio station, previously part of Sir John Madejski's empire, has a lively site, with news, and features about its output. Now part of the zany Jack FM brand.
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Reading Borough Council has spruced up its PR and corporate multi-media in recent years and issues frequent media news releases on the key community subjects.
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The University of Reading, in its 111th year, is in the top one percent of uni's worldwide, and its frequent news releases reflect its highly-acclaimed research work.
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A hyperlocal news operation with focus on positive people-led stories that, publishers say "will encourage, inform and inspire." Now also publishing The Wokingham Paper after demise of the Times.
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There are several "Readings" in the USA - best-known is 88,000-population Reading city northwest of Philadelphia - it's local paper is the Eagle, backed up by its dot.com version.
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From another "Reading, USA", 16 miles north of Boston is The Advocate newspaper which feeds an excellent news service into its equally-excellent website, named Wicked Local.
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News aggregator which trawls the www for any story with the word "Reading", so can occasionally throw up book-reading topics - but it's a good source of interesting items.
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THE permanent memorial to Reading's only Victoria Cross holder, Trooper Fred Potts, unveiled in the Forbury last year, is proving a popular addition to the town’s architecture. Fred, who died in 1943 and until recent years, was virtually unknown in the town due - mainly to his own modesty. However, the people who did know of Fred’s heroics during the Great War believed the time was long overdue to recognise his bravery with a suitable memorial in a town centre location. The Trooper Potts Memorial Trust was set up to raise the necessary funds and, backed by BBC Radio Berkshire, former Reading Mayor Cllr Fred Pugh, former MP Martin Salter, Reading College, Haslams Estate Agents and Reading-born TV personality Chris Tarrant, they achieved their aim - the bronze statue, created by Liverpool sculptor Tom Murphy, was unveiled. As well as commemorating Fred Potts, it also recognises the sacrifices of the many men of the Berkshire Yeomanry who gave their lives, both in the battle for Scimitar Hill at Gallipoli, Turkey, and throughout World War One. Fred’s medal relates to an incident in August 1915, in which he saved the life of fellow-Reading soldier Arthur Andrews after both were injured by machine-gun fire as the Yeomanry charged on Scimitar Hill. For three days, during which they had virtually no food or drink, Fred ignored his own wounds to drag Arthur to safety, using a shovel as a makeshift stretcher. The amazing FULL STORY.

CLICK CHOSEN CLUB LOGO TO LINK TO THEIR LATEST INFO

Keep up to date with all things Royal - info about the club, the team, tickets, souvenirs and more, including interviews and subscription video.
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Unofficial Reading FC website with plenty of well-written comment, positive and negative - but always constructive. Named after the old "Home End" at Elm Park.
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More than 200 former Reading players and managers are in the Association - the website has interesting info about great names of Royals' and Biscuitmen's past.
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Reading's adopted top-flight Rugby Union team, survived two recent relegation scares - and finally went down at the end of last season. But now they're on the up again. .
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Reading's most consistently-successful sports club runs 11 men’s and seven ladies’ teams. Elite squads at the top of the domestic game and many international stars.
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Reading Cricket Club operates in tandem with the adjacent Reading Hockey Club, providing a two-pronged elite sports operation at the extensive Sonning Lane site.
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The club performs solidly in the National South West Division One (East) alongside Newbury. Founded in 1898 as Berkshire Wanderers, they still field a Wanderers XV.
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Originally for youngsters from non-rugby-playing schools, Abbey went senior in 1956, acquired a 22-acre site at Emmer Green and are now successful - including a top Ladies’ XV.
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Founded 1926, now nicknamed The Rams, Redingensians was originally for former pupils of Reading School. Teams in all age groups - currently in National League 2 South.
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Has promoted cycling in Berkshire since 1974. With over 200 members, it is dedicated to giving cyclists the opportunity to race, ride and enjoy two-wheel life.
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The club has a long and proud history with past Olympic stars such as Ann Packer, Bev Callender and Britain's most successful-ever female sprinter, Kathy Smallwood.
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Provides after school clubs, school holiday courses, birthday parties and much, much more for boys and girls from the age of 5-14, in and around Reading.
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A friendly community rowing club located on one of the best stretches of the upper Thames, with access to 6km of river from Caversham Bridge to Mapledurham.
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Founded as recently as 1997, Rockets had spectacular lift-off and now run age-group, ladies and seniors teams. Currently consistently at the top end of the NBL Division 1 standings.
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The legendary (and still going strong at 81) Reg Fearman brought Speedway to Reading in 1968. Smallmead closed in 2008 but Racers faithful still have a website.

AND OTHER SENIOR SPORTS CLUBS AND VENUES NEARBY…

The Magpies have an extremely proud, and unique football boast - their York Road ground is the world's oldest football ground used continuously by the same club.
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Basingstoke have long been an ambitious and progressive club but they are currently trying to battle back from relegation to the Evo-Stik Southern Premier. Mascot Stokie walks tall, however, even taller than a certain Kingsley Royal!
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Few sporting venues match the history or rich heritage of Ascot. Queen Anne, staying at Windsor Castle in 1711 who first saw the potential for a racecourse.
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Newbury Racecourse is more than 100 years old, combining heritage with a modern sports/events venue. Constructed in 1904/05 - at a cost of £57,240!
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Although the local area has racing links to dating back to Henry VIII, the first race meeting here was not until 1866. The only figure-of-eight flat course in the country.
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Basingstoke Bison play in the English Premier Ice Hockey League. Founded in 1988 as the Beavers, the club has sustained the sport in the town successfully since. 2015/16 champions.
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The Hawks are one of the leading clubs in the Thames Valley, among the top 50 in the country - 2014/15 champions of National League 2 South but now back in that division.
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Bracknell RFC has an illustrious pedigree, founded in 1955 by Welsh and Cornish men new to the New Town area. Now in National League 3 South West.
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The Blues, a focal point for the West Berkshire rugby community, are always competitive, and often siccessful in South West Division One (East).
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News from The Reading Guide
29/12/2012 BREAKING NEWS: LINKS TO THE TOP LOCAL SOURCES - AND READING USA
WITH traditional newspapers under increasing pressure from "new media", both of the local newspapers, the Post and the Chronicle have made dramatic changes in recent years. The end of 2014 brought the "last Post" - after nearly 50 years, the old Evening Post adjusted to a twice-weekly, Wednesday and Friday offering, and now is only a website. more...
12/01/2010 YOUR CHANCE TO CATCH UP WITH TV PROGRAMMES YOU MAY HAVE MISSED - THE FULL SET

Reader Poll
2016 is likely to be the year plans are fully approved for a huge development around the Madejski Stadium. Is that a good idea?
Poll started 18/03/2016. Vote to see the results.
      YES - It's a really imaginative scheme which will add to matchday experience.
      NO - Let's just stick to football and forget all the peripheral stuff!

What's On - 04th DEC 2016
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ON TRACK - READING'S RAILWAYS, PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE - EXHIBITION

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AT HOME WITH ART - TREASURES OF THE FORD COLLECTION

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NEWBURY ART GROUP SALE OF WORK

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CINDERALLA - THE SOUTH HILL PARK BRACKNELL PANTOMIME

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THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

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CHRISTMAS WITH THE KING

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BRILLIANT BRAIN SHOW AT THE LOOKOUT DISCOVERY CENTRE

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Local Information,
THAMES VALLEY FARMERS' MARKET (NEWBURY)

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PROSPECT PARK MODEL RAILWAY OPEN DAY

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ROYAL BERKSHIRE MEDICAL HERITAGE CENTRE

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RISING SUN CHRISTMAS ART MARKET


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