Southampton sat on top of the table above Reading on goal difference at the beginning of the evening. By the end, their positions had been reversed. In a game that Southampton dominated in possession and shots on target, Reading won by converting the few chances they had. 3-1 was flattering to Reading but their clinical finishing proves why they are the form team in the Championship.
Saints were superb in the early stages but were thwarted by the inspired Reading keeper Federici. He stood firm against Lallana and Lambert who tested the Aussie.
In the 19th minute Fox’s misplaced pass gave Reading’s right winger Kebe space and he provided a superb cross for Jason Roberts who showed his class by pulling off his marker and burying the header into the back in the net.
Just before half time Lambert headed over the bar. However, Saints top-scorer redeemed himself by scoring 3 minutes into the second half by slotting a half volley past the excellent Federici.
Southampton wasted more chances and Reading took advantage through substitute Le Fondre who hit home from a pass from Kebe.
Steve De Ridder could have equalised for Saints but shot straight at the keeper. Le Fondre finished the game by scoring in the last minute by going round Davis. The Royal party began as Reading fans went into delirium.
This result leaves Reading almost certain to get promoted, probably as champions. Southampton are still in a good position but with two away games to follow, Saints fans will be biting their nails. It all depends on how West Ham finishes the season. Southampton looked at their best tonight and yet Reading did what champions do. They took their chances and had an exceptional keeper. Most importantly, this match was played in good spirit and in front of great fans on both sides. Football in the South is back on the rise and the Premiership would be better off with both these teams gracing it with their presence.