We kept believing it could happen, right until the end. But the fact of the matter is that our 2-2 draw against Swansea City means we will miss out on the play-offs this season, and consigns us to the Championship for 2021-22.
Yakou Meite headed Reading into the lead, but Jamal Lowe steered in a rebound to level things up. Then Andre Ayew, architect of the Swans’ first goal, got on the scoresheet… Tomas Esteves tied it up for Reading deep into added time but the clock just ran out for the Royals.
Midfielder John Swift, who returned to the XI for the first time since early February, summed up the team’s disappointment at missing out – but also underlined the strides that have been taken to challenge at the top end over the past year.
“It was a tough one to take,” said Swift. “We started the game well, we got the goal, went in 1-0 up at half-time and spirits are high.
“Then it’s a bit of quality from them which kills us a bit. Then the second goal goes in, we were chasing the game. It’s a tough one to take – now we mathematically can’t get into the play-offs.
“It was going well, the gameplan was going well. It’s just a bit of quality which sees them breaking through. And then we have to win the game again, we can’t take a 1-1. So we were chasing again, leaving gaps at the back and then it’s a good finish from them.
“So it’s a tough day for us – the fans, players and staff… everyone has put everything into it. It’s a real tough day.
“All of the lads put everything into it, to get from where we were last season to where we are this season. It’s a massive jump. We can take a lot from it, and hopefully we can build on it.
“We aren’t going to be looking at the positives today. We’ll be thinking about what went wrong and where in the season we might have slipped up a bit, or could have built on what we did at the start of the season. It is a day where we will think about where could have nicked a 1-0 win here or there.
“It’s a horrible feeling right now; maybe 10 games ago when we were in the play-off spots and were playing well… but then results and performances didn’t go our way and now we find ourselves here. It’s something to look back on, but we have to look back to the start of the season, and where we were this time last year.
“We have definitely taken a big step in the right direction… but not the final step to the play-offs. But hopefully next season we can build on that.”