Sports Mole's live text commentary of today's massive relegation clash between Reading and Queens Park Rangers that ends in a goalless draw.
By Barney Corkhill, Assistant Editor Filed: Sunday, April 28, 2013 at 12:30 UK
Last Updated: Sunday, April 28, 2013 at 21:26 UK
Reading and Queens Park Rangers have both been relegated from the Premier League following a 0-0 draw at the Madejski Stadium this afternoon.
Esteban Granero skimmed the crossbar with a first half free kick while Reading also had a shot cleared off the line by Jose Bosingwa.
However, neither side could find a breakthrough to save their Premier League status for at least another 24 hours as they confirmed relegation with a drab 0-0 draw.
You can read how a fateful 90 minutes of football unfolded with Sports Mole's live play-by-play coverage below.
12.30pmGood afternoon! Thank you for joining Sports Mole for what is a massive day for both clubs as Reading face Queens Park Rangers in a potential relegation decider.
12.32pmQuite simply, this is a must-win match for both sides. They don't come much more important than this afternoon's game as the losers will be consigned to relegation and will be playing Championship football next season. Even a draw won't be good enough for these two as that would leave them needing maximum points from their last three games while also relying on Aston Villa losing the rest of their games.
12.34pmHowever, a win for either side could really provide a much-needed bit of impetus in their fight for survival. Both Reading and QPR have been favourites to go down for a while now, but a win today would reduce the gap to seven points with three matches left. It would still have to be a pretty spectacular escape, and it would by no means be in their hands, but it would at least let them live to fight another day.
12.36pmThe form of both sides won't fill their fans with much confidence, however. We'll start by looking at Reading, who have hit a terrible spell at the worst possible time. The Royals have not won in 10 games and, even more worryingly for manager Nigel Adkins, they have picked up just one point in that time, losing the remaining nine.
12.38pmThat form is even more disappointing for Reading as it came off the back of a great spell. At the start of this year the Royals went six matches without defeat in all competitions, winning five of those.
12.40pmHowever, there is no doubt that they deserve to be where they are looking at recent form. They currently sit rock bottom of the table, only below today's opponents on goal difference. You simply can't pick up one point from a potential 27 in league games and expect to be anywhere other than in the relegation zone.
12.42pmQPR's recent form isn't too much better, although their winless streak doesn't stretch back as far. They have picked up just one point in their last five games since their back-to-back wins over Southampton and Sunderland in March.
12.44pmThose two wins doubled QPR's win tally for the season, which now sits at a paltry four games. Despite having a number of high-quality players in their squad and a good manager, QPR just have not been able to win matches this season and that has been their main problem.
12.46pmA win for the visitors today would move them five points behind 18th-placed Wigan but they would remain seven behind Aston Villa, who currently occupy the cherished spot just above the dotted line.
12.48pmTEAM NEWS: The team news is in for both sides and QPR boss Harry Redknapp has decided to ring the changes for this one. He brings in five new faces to his side, while Reading remain unchanged from their 2-1 loss against Norwich last week. Full team news coming right up...
12.52pmQPR SUBS: Cesar, Derry, Park, Mackie, Fabio, Ben Haim, Hoilett
12.54pmSo, what can we make of those two teams? Well, Nigel Adkins's decision to name an unchanged lineup is a brave one considering their recent form. Sometimes changes are needed to get a team out of a rut, but Adkins has opted for a different approach for this one. He will be looking to Pavel Pogrebnyak to provide his main goal threat, but the striker has been nowhere near his best for large parts of this season and that has been a big reason behind Reading's current position in the table.
12.56pmBehind Pogrebnyak, McCleary and McAnuff can cause serious problems down the wings and, considering how frail QPR have been at the back at times this season, I wouldn't be surprised to see those two players enjoying a lot of the ball today.
12.58pmReading also have a couple of players on the bench who are capable of changing a game. I'm a little surprised that Hal Robson-Kanu and Noel Hunt aren't playing as they both offer good attacking options which, in a must-win game such as this one, could be imperative. Adam Le Fondre is also on the bench and he has forged himself a reputation as something of a super-sub this season. If he can score off the bench again today, he could keep Reading's season alive.
1pmAs for QPR, Redknapp has decided to shake things up a bit by bringing in five new faces. The likes of Chris Samba and Junior Hoillet have been left out, which suggests that Redknapp is trying to send a strong message. It may be too little too late, but giving some of the fringe players a chance today could be exactly what is needed.
1.02pmOnuoha, Traore, Granero, Jenas and Bothroyd are the five who come in for the Hoops and, on paper, that is a very strong set of players to be able to bring off the bench. However, Granero is a typical example of QPR's problems this season. He arrived at the club with plenty of expectation on his shoulders as a former Real Madrid player, but he has failed to live up to that.
1.04pmTheir two most important players today will be Adel Taarabt and Loic Remy. Taarabt is a truly gifted player on his day - one of the most skilful in the league - but he can be quite enigmatic on the field. QPR will need him on top form today, as they will Remy. Remy was another high-profile signing for QPR this season and he has proved to be one of the better ones. He won't regard his time at the club as a success due to their position in the table, but his individual contribution has been as good as anyone else since his arrival.
1.06pmSuch is the strange situation at QPR that Julio Cesar, who is still the number one for Brazil and was regarded as one of the best keepers in the world not long ago, sits on the bench for a side joint bottom of the table. The heavy investment bringing quality players to the club has simply not worked.
1.08pmSo, we could either see one side relegated this afternoon or both sides all-but relegated should the match end as a draw. However, looking at the situation from an optimistic point of view, a win for either side would hand them a lifeline so it is worth looking at their respective run-ins.
1.10pmAfter this match, Reading will have an away trip to Fulham followed by a home tie against Manchester City. Their last game of the season comes against West Ham United at Upton Park. QPR, meanwhile, have a very tough final three games as they face Arsenal, Newcastle and Liverpool.
1.12pmA draw today would leave both sides needing maximum points from the rest of their games which, having now looked at the run-in, isn't likely.
1.14pmWhen these two sides met earlier this season, the match ended 1-1. Djibril Cisse and Kaspar Gorkss got the goals, neither of whom have even made the squad for this afternoon's match.
1.16pmThey have also met in the League Cup already this season which provided an entertaining match that ended 3-2 to Reading. Cisse and Gorkss were on the scoresheet once again, although this time they were joined by David Hoilett, Nicky Shorey and Pogrebnyak.
1.18pmThese two sides have met 18 times in recent years, with QPR coming out on top in eight of those matches compared to Reading's four wins.
1.20pmPREDICTION: We're 10 minutes from kickoff which means that it is prediction time! This one really is a tough one to call as it could go either way. I don't foresee it ending as a draw, simply because both sides are in such desperate need of a win. I'm going to plump for a 2-1 win to...QPR.
1.22pmNeither side can boast particularly impressive records at home or away respectively this season. Reading's home record is the fourth worst in the league having amassed just 19 points from their 17 games at the Madejski, while only Wigan have conceded more goals in front of their own fans.
1.24pmQPR, meanwhile, have the fourth worst away record in the division this season, picking up just 10 points from their 17 games. They have only won twice on their travels, drawing four and losing the remaining 11.
1.26pmSo, relegation is not quite a foregone conclusion for both these sides but they will both know that it is the likely scenario, even with a win today. Hopefully both clubs will play with a little freedom today and we will see a good, open and attacking game of football.
1.28pmConceding goals has been Reading's biggest problem this season. No team in the division have let in more than the Royals.
1.30pmRight, the teams are lined up and there is a good atmosphere in the stadium. They may be pretty much consigned to Championship football next season, but the fans are determined to enjoy the Premier League while it lasts.
0 minKICKOFF: Here we go, Reading kick us off at the Madejski. It is simply a must-win game for both sides.
1 minReading make an early break and Pogrebnyak advances into the box, but Onuoha forces him out wide and on to his left foot before blocking the shot. Good defending.
3 minThe hosts have started this match very positively and QPR are really struggling to get hold of the ball for any length of time. They have already given it away carelessly on a number of occasions, which has been typical of their season.
5 minMcAnuff picks the ball up down the right and knocks it beyond Hill. He easily has the pace advantage over the QPR defender, but as he races past him just clips his heel accidentally and the linesman flags for a foul.
6 minOnuoha bravely wins a stooping header which Progrebnyak also goes for with his foot. It is a nasty-looking incident, the type of which we have seen an increasing number of red cards for this season, but Kevin Friend is right just to award the free kick. There was nothing malicious from Pogrebnyak and Onuoha, to his credit, did not make a fuss of it.
8 minSHOT! Taarabt tries to find space to shoot on the edge of the box but it just doesn't sit up for him. Instead he slips a pass through that is intercepted and cleared only as far as Jenas, who lets fly from around 25 yards out only to send his effort high over the bar.
10 minA swift QPR counter-attack sees Taarabt pick up the ball again on the edge of the box. He shows good feet to slip it through the legs of Karacan, who brings the QPR man down and the visitors have a free kick in a very good position.
11 minOFF THE BAR! Granero steps up to take the free kick and it is a fine effort. It curls over the wall, who make no attempt to jump, but just skims off the top of the crossbar on its way out with McCarthy beaten.
13 minSHOT! QPR are easing their way into this match now. Taarabt gives the ball away but then gets it back via a similarly careless pass. He cuts inside and tries to whip a curling shot towards the top right corner, but he doesn't get his foot around it and it flies a long way wide. Not one of his best shots.
15 minThere has been some very sloppy passing from both sides in the opening 15 minutes. Most of it, it must be said, has come from QPR, but Reading are starting to misplace a few of their own and it isn't hard to see why both teams have struggled so much this season.
16 minMcAnuff shows brilliant desite to hound Granero all the way back into his own half. The Spaniard tried his hardest to turn away from the Reading man, but he would not let up and his heavy pressure earns the appreciation of the home support.
18 minBosingwa makes his way down the right but chooses to cut the ball back to Mbia instead of crossing it himself. Mbia's ball is decent, but no-one is attacking the back post and it drifts out for a goal kick.
20 minCHANCE! QPR come so close to taking the lead. Kelly is caught underneath a long ball forward, which allows Bothroyd in on goal. McCarthy comes out to meet the striker, he lifts the ball over the keeper with a first time effort, but his effort bounces just wide. That was very close!
21 minGranero has just conceded a free kick right on the edge of the box and he gets a talking to by the ref. That one was tough to see in real time whether it was actually in the box or not, but the replays show that the ref made the right decision. Reading have a good chance from the free kick here though...
22 min...Guthrie can't make the most of it, however, as his effort hits the wall and is cleared away.
24 minA reminder of what is on the line for both of these sides. Relegation from the Premier League could result in a loss of up to £50m in revenue. Needless to say, that will have a huge impact on both of these clubs.
26 minReading come forward this time but McCleary's cros sis cut out by Granero inside the box. It is another good attacking platform wasted by Reading.
28 minOnuoha sprays a fine pass out to Loic Remy, who latches on to it down the left flank. He makes his way to the byline before trying to feed a low corss into Taarabt, but it is cleared away.
29 minGuthrie whips a good ball into the box and Morrison gets on the end of it at the back post, but Hill just leans into the Reading man to make the header hard for him and he can only nod it over.
31 minCHANCE! That is a chance for a player of Taarabt's standards. A long ball forward is contested by Bothroyd and it falls kindly at the feet of Taarabt, who has far too much space on the edge of the box. He opts to try the shot with the inside of his boot inside of putting his paces through it, and his cushioned effort curls wide of the goal.
33 minRemy tries to dance his way through the heart of the Reading defence, but he is stopped in his tracks. There is no way through on goal for either side at the moment.
34 minHaving said that, Traore almost finds one. The left-back is released down the flank having been left by Blackman and his powerful drive looks goalbound until it is well blocked and put behind for a corner.
36 minThe home fans are not happy as the ref stops the game to allow Mbia treatment. The hosts were in a promising position there and Mbia is back up soon enough, which results in more boos directed at the QPR man.
38 minOFF THE LINE! How has that not gone in?! QPR go to sleep from a quick free kick and Reading almost take full advantage. Guthrie's cross is nodded back inside to Pogrebnyak, who steers a messy effort goalwards from about six yards out. Rob Green makes himself big and also gets something on it, but from the resulting scramble Bosingwa is forced to clear it off the line. That would have been a messy way to take the lead, but Reading would not have cared!
40 minBlackman shows good feet on the edge of the box to get away from Hill, but he just overruns his next touch and is tackled. He goes down in a heap inside the box and some fans want a penalty, but I think the ref has made the correct decision to allow play to continue.
42 minPENALTY SHOUT! Reading have another penalty shout, and this one is a bit more vociferous. Kelly gets the wrong side of Bosingwa inside the box and then goes down under a bundling challenge from the Chelsea man. Again, though, I think that Kevin Friend has made the right decision in waving away the penalty claims.
45 minThere will be a minimum of one minute of added time at the Madejski. Can either side find a late goal?
45 minSAVE! McAnuff tries to do exactly that, cutting in on to his right foot before sending a curling effort goalwards. The ball dips just in front of Green, who opts to palm it away instead of catching it.
2.19pmSo the referee brings an end to a lively half. There may have been a distinct lack of quality at times, but Jay Bothroyd and Granero have both come close for the visitors, while Reading have had a couple of penalty shouts turned down by Kevin Friend.
2.21pmAs things stand, though, a draw is no good for either side. They will both be relegated if everything stays the same, and a 0-0 bore draw would be the worst way for both sides to go down. I expect an entertaining second half - both sides simply have no choice to to go for a win.
2.23pmReading started the match quite brightly but QPR soon began to control the match. They have come closest through Granero, who skimmed the crossbar with a free kick, and Bothroyd narrowly missed with a lob shortly afterwards.
2.25pmThe hosts did start to come back into the match in the last 10 minutes of the half, though, and had an effort cleared off the line as well as two decent penalty shouts turned down.
2.27pmI can't see this one ending goalless today. Both sides have very shaky defences and, as the emphasis moves more on to attack the longer it stays level, more chances will present themselves.
2.29pmThe players are on their way back out now, and a huge 45 minutes awaits both teams. It could be the 45 minutes that sees one of these sides relegated from the Premier League.
45 minKICKOFF: Here we go again. QPR get us back underway in a second half that one of these sides simply must win.
46 minQPR have an early corner and Granero drops it right onto the edge of the six yard box where Loic Remy is waiting. He does well to get a header away under heavy pressure, but he can't keep his effort down.
48 minHarry Redknapp is having a laugh and a joke with a couple of the subs as Remy hammers another effort high over the bar. The looks remarkably relaxed for a manager who could be less than 45 minutes away from seeing his side relegated!
50 minBosingwa whips a good ball into the box and Jenas gets his head to it behind Bothroyd, but the linesman flag is up. That spares Jenas's blushes a bit as it was a good chance and he made nowhere near the most of it.
52 minCHANCE! Big chance for QPR to take the lead! Some nice link up play between Remy and Taarabt sees the latter get the ball in the area, but he scuffs his first time shot and it bounces into the arms of McCarthy. That was really good play between the two to set up the chance but Taarabt really should have done better.
54 minCHANCE! Taarabt has another chance, but again he scuffs his shot. None of his opening have been the easiest of chances but he is good enough to have scored at least one of them. This time the ball pops up to him on the edge of the box, but he puts a cushioned volley quite a way wide of the goal.
56 minREADING SUB: The first change of the day comes from Nigel Adkins as Hal Robson-Kanu replaces Blackman. He can be a real handful on his day and is certianly capable of making the most of the space that will surely start to appear as this match progresses.
58 minThis match has become a bit of a midfield battle in the last few minutes as both sides look to gain control of the last half an hour or so.
60 minCHANCE! That is a big chance for Pogrebnyak to give Reading the lead! He takes a fine first touch to bring the ball inside, past Bosingwa and onto his right foot before trying to curl an effort into the top right corner. His strike his good, but drifts just wide of the post. That was very close.
62 minSHOT! Guthrie has acres of space about 25 yards from goal as neither Granero or Mbia close him down. He takes a touch to take it past Mbia and then goes for goal, but it isn't the best of efforts and Green makes a comfortable save.
64 minREADING SUB: On comes the super-sub Adam Le Fondre, and what a time this would be to live up to that tag. He replaces Gareth McCleary.
66 minCHANCE! The chances are starting to flow now as this game opens up. Reading break free this time as Le Fondre releases Gunter down the right. The full-back puts a good cross in towards Pogrebnyak, who heads it down, but the ball bounces back up and over the bar.
67 minQPR SUB: I'm not too sure about this sub, I must say. Adel Taarabt is the man who makes way but he is the type of player who could come up with the something special needed to win this game so, unless he is injured, I question the wisdom in bringing him off. He is replaced by Junior Hoilett, who can also be a game-changer on his day.
69 minBoth sides now have a little over 20 minutes to fight for their place in the Premier League this season. Surely this match can't end 0-0?!
71 minTraore makes a brilliant surging run straight through the middle of the park but his attempted pass to Remy is stopped by a fine interception from Marriappa.
72 minYELLOW CARD! We have our first caution of the game with just under 20 minutes remaining. It is Granero who picks it up after a late tackle as Reading threatened to break clear.
73 minQPR SUB: Bosingwa hasn't had the best of games this afternoon and he is the man who makes way now. On comes Fabio, whose twin brother Rafael recently celebrated winning the Premier League with Manchester United.
75 minSHOT! Jenas wouldn't have struck many balls better than that one! A corner is cleared to the edge of the box and the midfielder takes it on the first time volley. He makes a sweet connection but it is never troubling the goal and ends up high in the stand behind the goal.
76 minREADING SUB: Reading's final change of the day sees the experienced Ian Harte replace Stephen Kelly. Harte will provide good delivery from set pieces in the closing stages, which could prove vital.
77 minSHOT! Bothroyd takes the ball down the left flank and looks up to see his teammates vastly outnumbered inside the box. He chooses to pull it back to the edge of the box where Jenas is waiting, but he just opens his foot up too much and sends it wide.
79 minCHANCE! Le Fondre almost comes up with the good again! Guthrie floats a delightful ball towards the back post and Le Fondre has peeled off Onuoha. He leaps highest to reach it, but can't keep his header down. Good chance for the hosts.
81 minFabio sends a brilliant ball into the box but, despite being less than 10 minutes from being relegated as things stand, QPR only have one man in the box. Reading are forced to put it behind for a corner just in case, but that comes to nothing.
83 minReading are the side who look most likely to score at the moment, but this is increasingly looking like it will end goalless, which would be a hugely disappointing way to seal your relegation.
85 minFabio carelessly gives the ball away and then commits a foul. The passing from both sides in this match has been terrible at times this afternoon, there have been so many misplaced ones.
86 minSAVE! Reading come so clsoe to getting a late goal! A corner is whipped in to the head of Morrison, who rises highest to direct a fine header towards the top corner, but Green does well to get across and tip it over the bar.
88 minQPR SUB: Jamie Mackie will come on for the final few minutes. It is an attacking sub as he replaces Mbia, but it is surely too little too late.
89 minSAVE! Bothroyd isn't giving up just yet! He cuts inside onto his left foot and hammers a low shot towards the near post. McCarthy gets down low to save it and almost spills it into the path of Remy, but he collects it at the second attempt.
90 minThere will be three minutes of added time here. Can either side find a late goal to save their season?
90+2 minYELLOW CARD! Fabio puts a strong tackle in and his high studs have resulted in a yellow card being produced. He can have no complaints really.
90+3 minFULL TIME: Reading 0-0 Queens Park Rangers
3.20pmREADING AND QUEENS PARK RANGERS ARE RELEGATED FROM THE PREMIER LEAGUE
3.22pmBoth managers greet the final whistle with a wry smile and knowing nods. The reaction of the players and fans also hints at a sense of the inevitable about this conclusion to the season as both Reading and QPR are relegated from the Premier League.
3.24pmIn the end that is a pretty drab way to be relegated. A 0-0 draw perhaps doesn't do this game complete justice, but it was still a match of low quality for large periods and both sides looked very much like Championship outfits.
3.26pmIf you're wondering about the maths regarding the relegation, then the key factor to remember is that Wigan take on Aston Villa on the last day of the season, which means that despite being nine points from safety with three games left, there is no way that Reading and QPR can catch 17th place.
3.28pmSo it is a disappointing end to a disappointing season for both clubs, but who is in the best position to bounce straight back? Well, you'd have to assume that QPR will have to ship a lot of players out due to their high wages, while Reading won't have to do too much rebuilding themselves. If both sides can keep the same squads together then you'd have to back QPR, but the likelihood of that is very slim. Both clubs will be devastated at relegation, but it will surely hurt QPR more than Reading considering how much money they splashed out.
3.30pmRight, that's just about it from me today! Thank you for joining Sports Mole on a fateful day in the Premier League as both Reading and QPR are relegated after a 0-0 draw. I will leave you with Sian Cowper's match report and be sure to stick around for reaction and analysis, which will be on site soon. If you still haven't had your fill of live coverage, you can follow Arsenal vs. Manchester United with my good friend Pascal Lemesre here. From me, though, it is goodbye!