A reminder of some impressive games on December 26thSince our first ever competitive Boxing Day fixture – a 4-3 defeat in Portsmouth way back in our 1907/08 Southern League season – we’ve had our share of results on December 26th.
Heading down to the football is one of those great traditions for the festive period; this year it’s Norwich who will be at Madejski Stadium as we hit the halfway-mark of the season.
So here we reflect on five noteworthy results that we’ve earned on Boxing Day in the 21st century – four wins and a commendable draw…
2004: Reading 3-0 Watford
Even with leading scorer Dave Kitson unavailable, there was little stopping a rampant Royals side as they hosted the Hornets back in 2004… indeed, parity lasted less than 3 minutes, before Ibrahima Sonko headed in Nicky Shorey’s free-kick past stopper Paul Jones – his first in Royals colours.
Steve Sidwell added an overdue second with quarter of an hour left to play – sweeping in Nicky Forster’s cross – and Lloyd Owusu rounded off the scoring with two minutes to go as he met Paul Brooker’s cross with a powerful header to register a third successive win, and put us third in the Championship.
2005: Wolves 0-2 Reading
There was little surprise about this result – with eight consecutive league wins in the can for Reading going into the game, this festive fixture was just another formality in that groundbreaking 2005/06 campaign.
Goals either side of the break did it for Reading – Dave Kitson headed in Glen Little’s inviting delivery midway through the first period, before American attack Bobby Convey placed in from the edge of the area completed the scoring shortly after the hour-mark, stretching the Royals’ lead at the summit of the Championship to nine points.
2006: Chelsea 2-2 Reading
Royals supporters that headed to West London were given a late Christmas present in the form of an unlikely point at reigning champions Chelsea in our first ever top-tier season. That looked unlikely as Didier Drogba twice headed the Blues into the lead.
But the Royals responded each time. Leroy Lita pegged back first as he guided in Glen Little’s cross from the right, and then with just five minutes left to play, it was a gift from our Stamford Bridge hosts as Kevin Doyle’s cross was cleared by Ashley Cole into the body of teammate Michael Essien and past goalkeeper Hilario for a point-earning own-goal.
2010: Reading 4-1 Bristol City
Opposition striker Jon Stead threatened to spoil our festivities when he headed in from close range, after Steven Caulker had lobbed against the crossbar. But the visitors’ lead was overturned before the interval.
Jobi McAnuff hit the woodwork but followed in on the rebound, before Noel Hunt turned in a cross from compatriot Shane Long. And Long grabbed two for himself after the break to make it comfortable Christmas for the Royals.
2011: Reading 3-0 Brighton & Hove Albion
A couple of goals before the break by Jobi McAnuff helped the Royals overcome their south-coast visitors – and in doing so, lifted themselves into the play-off places for the first time since August, en route to eventual promotion.
The Jamaican swept home a cross after a blistering Jimmy Kebe run, and then netted his and Reading’s second when he cut inside and struck low and hard into the corner. Adam El-Abd handed the Royals a third goal and sealed all three points when his bodged attempt at clearing Kebe’s cross ended up nestling in his own net.
Hoping to be part of the crowd on Boxing Day? Here’s a reminder of a few important points…
It’s set to be our biggest home crowd of the season, so there will be a lot of traffic on the roads leading to Madejski Stadium – so give yourself plenty of time to get in.
And the Ticket Office will be a lot busier than usual – there’ll be a lot more collections than usual (because of the limited Christmas post). So to avoid any long queues, we would strongly advise to arrive for 1.30pm.
There are now very few tickets remaining – availability is very limited in all areas of the ground. Most available spaces are now just single seats. So make sure you book yours at the earliest opportunity to avoid disappointment.
Plan your journey!
Don’t forget, there are no trains running on Boxing Day. Football buses are in operation and other routes are operating a Sunday service, while there is extra parking availability thanks to Costco, who are donating their proceeds to BBC Children in Need.
For more information about travel to this fixture, click here.