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Cutting down the Tricky Trees

4 April 2016

Four wins over Forest

Reading host Championship rivals Nottingham Forest on Tuesday evening as Brian McDermott’s side look to maintain their unbeaten run at home in the league in 2016.

Ahead of the evening fixture at Madejski Stadium, we take a trip down memory lane and look back at our four most recent home victories over Forest…

Reading 1-0 Nottingham Forest
Sky Bet Championship, 17th April 2012

Back in 2012 it was Mikele Leigertwood who was the hero for the Royals, as his late goal secured Reading's promotion back to the Premier League.  Heading into the game it was a tense affair, and after a scrappy start, it was Brian McDermott’s men that had the opening chance of the game.  They did, in fact, have the ball in the net after 19 minutes, only for Jason Roberts' tap-in to be ruled out after Noel Hunt was penalised for a foul on the Forest goalkeeper.

Forest twice went close through Adlene Guedioura and Dexter Blackstock, forcing two impressive saves from Adam Federici, before Royals' substitute Adam Le Fondre saw his chip drift just wide of the post.  Reading had to wait until the 81st minute for the breakthrough; the winner came when Leigertwood buried from close range after an Ian Harte free-kick wasn’t cleared properly by the Forest defence.  The final whistle saw emotional scenes as thousands of fans poured on to the Madejski Stadium pitch to celebrate a return to the top flight after four years away.

Reading 1-0 Nottingham Forest
Coca-Cola Championship, 16th April 2005

You have to look all the way back to April 2005 for Reading’s previous home victory over Forest, as Steve Coppell’s men fought for a play-off place with West Ham United.  Reading struggled to break down visiting Forest in a closely fought encounter at Madejski Stadium – but the game turned on its head 20 minutes from time, however, as the Royals’ persistence paid off.

The game changed when Forest keeper Paul Gerrard was shown a second yellow card for handling the ball outside his area from Andy Melville’s back pass.  And from the resulting free-kick, the ball ricocheted to Royals midfielder James Harper, who made no mistake by rifling his finish past substitute keeper Colin Doyle from seven yards.  Harper’s goal was enough to seal a win, much to the delight of the Royals faithful.  That battling display moved Reading four points clear of the seventh-placed Hammers and put them in a commanding position heading into the closing stages of the season.

Reading 3-0 Nottingham Forest
Nationwide Division One, 16th August 2003

At the beginning of the 2003/04 season, things looked promising for the Royals when Alan Pardew’s side swept Nottingham Forest aside with three second half goals on home turf.  Reading dominated the first half, with Nicky Forster the outstanding performer for the Royals, and they looked to have been gifted the opening goal after 29 minutes when Forest goalkeeper Darren Ward clattered into Steve Sidwell inside the box, leaving the referee pointing to the spot.  Nicky Shorey stepped up to try and convert but was thwarted by Ward who made up for his previous error by pulling off an impressive save.

However, the relentless pressure from Reading finally told after half-time when clinical finishes from Steve Sidwell, Scott Murray and Shaun Goater killed off Forest in style.  Sidwell opened the scoring on the 49th minute when Kevin Watson swung a dangerous ball into the box; the midfielder pounced to rattle a low shot past Ward and into the net.  With just under an hour gone Watson produced another excellent cross which Murray hammered home from six yards to settle an enthralling clash – then Goater put the icing on an impressive performance from the Royals with a simple tap-in 11 minutes from time, handing Reading maximum points in a classy display in front of the home supporters.

Reading 1-0 Nottingham Forest
Nationwide Division One, 18th April 2003

This meeting between Reading a Forest in mid-April 2003 was a battle of two sides in the play-off positions.  Forest sat fifth in the league table, only a point behind the fourth-placed Royals, with both sides looking to put space between themselves and the chasing pack. And it was Forest that started the better and enjoyed the majority of the chances in the first half, forcing Marcus Hahnemann into some terrific saves.  The American first denied Eoin Jess whose sweeping effort was well saved after Marlon Harewood had opened up the Reading defence.  The Royals stopper then made an even better save when Harewood's ball picked out Darren Huckerby who controlled well before unleashing a fierce shot that Hahnemann palmed away.

Reading regrouped after the interval, with substitute Ricky Newman producing Reading’s first real chance of the game when his shot forced a scrambling save from Darren Ward in the Forest goal.  With 16 minutes to play Graeme Murty surged down the right wing and swung over a superb cross to pick out Andy Hughes in the centre.  Hughes rose brilliantly to meet the ball and power his header home to score what would turn out to be the winning goal.  The win moved Reading four points clear of fifth-placed Forest, in a hugely important victory for the Royals.

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