Reading are first to go up

Last updated : 19 April 2012 By Tony Scholes

 All season it has been about those two clubs with Southampton having the edge for much of it. I don't think even a few weeks ago that anyone would have suggested any other likely candidates for the automatic promotion spot but I don't think anyone could have ever envisaged the sort of Reading have been on.

Reading have beaten us twice this season, both by the same 1-0 scoreline. Ahead of our home game against them in October we were above them on goal difference in the bottom half of the league and when we made our way to the Madejski in February they'd already started this amazing run and had climbed to 6th with four points more than us.

Watching both games I never, ever got the impression that I was watching a promotion team but how on earth can you argue with their current run which has seen them come from nowhere.

They've won 15 of their last 17 games with the only defeat a 3-1 reverse at Peterborough in March. They also conceded two goals in a 4-2 win at West Ham but only five more goals have been conceded in the other 15 games.

On the subject of goals conceded; it is not that long since we couldn't buy a clean sheet, but since the 3-2 win at Hull we've gone on to play 26 league games in which we've conceded just 24 goals and only Reading and Hull can better that.

With Reading preparing their promotion party it is now down to Southampton and West Ham to fight for the remaining automatic place and you wouldn't bet against the Saints. Their win at Peterborough, as West Ham faltered at  Bristol City, has left them five points clear with two games to go.

The losers in that battle will go into the play offs and with Middlesbrough unable to beat Doncaster at the Riverside those places are looking secure for Birmingham, Blackpool and Cardiff. Who'd bet against Birmingham reaching the play off final? Steven Caldwell leading out a side that includes Wade Elliott. You never know, it might just work at Wembley.

The top two are close to being sorted and so are the next four and things are similar down at the bottom.

Doncaster have said their daft experiment of bringing players in on short term deals are over. Chairman John Ryan suggested it wouldn't work in League One. Maybe someone should have told him it wouldn't work in the Championship either. I suspect they'll be parting company with Dean Saunders soon.

Who is going with them? It's still looking like Portsmouth and Coventry despite Pompey winning again, this time without the help of hapless referee Mick Russell who virtually handed them three points on Saturday.

Even so, either Portsmouth or Coventry will need to win their two remaining games to survive and then hope Bristol City don't pick up two points. Bristol City are at home to Barnsley on Saturday. There are no certainties in football but I suspect it might have been one of the fixtures they'd have chosen give a choice.

It's quite possible, even likely, that when the last day of the season is upon us in nine days time there could be nothing to play for in the Championship.

Congratulations to Reading. Any team going on a run like that deserves promotion. I won't miss my trips to the Madejski go, certainly not in the actual league season.

The results and stats from the midweek games are below along with the league's leading goalscorers, each club's red and yellow card count, the highest and lowest attendances and the penultimate fixtures of the season.

The Results
Tuesday 17th April
Blackpool 1 Leeds United 0 Ipswich Town 1 Birmingham City 1
Brighton & Hove Albion 2 Watford 2 Leicester City 0 Burnley 0
Bristol City 1 West Ham United 1 Middlesbrough 0 Doncaster Rovers 0
Cardiff City 2 Derby County 0 Peterborough United 1 Southampton 3
Coventry City 0 Millwall 1 Portsmouth 2 Crystal Palace 1
Hull City 3 Barnsley 1 Reading 1 Nottingham Forest 0


The Stats
Biggest Win Cardiff City 2-0 v Derby County (home)
Hull City 3-1 v Barnsley (home)
Southampton 3-1 v Peterborough United (away)
Total Goals Scored 24 (14 home - 10 away)
Player Scoring Most Goals 3 - Matty Fryatt (Hull City)
Highest Attendance 22,899 - Reading v Nottingham Forest
Lowest Attendance 9,478 - Peterborough United v Southampton
Total Yellow Cards 29
Total Red Cards 1
Most Cards in a Game Bristol City v West Ham United (6Y) Ref: Craig Pawson
Coventry City v Millwall (6Y) Ref: James Linington


Leading Goalscorers (League Only)
27 Rickie Lambert (Southampton) - includes 9 penalties
20 Ricardo Vaz Te (West Ham United) - includes 1 penalty - (10 with Barnsley)
18 Ross McCormack (Leeds United)
17 Billy Sharp (Southampton) - includes 1 penalty (10 with Doncaster Rovers)
16 Charlie Austin (Burnley) - includes 1 penalty
Matty Fryatt (Hull City) - includes 1 penalty
Marlon King (Birmingham City) - includes 2 penalties
15 Darius Henderson (Millwall) - includes 2 penalties
David Nugent (Leicester City)
Kevin Phillips (Blackpool)
Jay Rodriguez (Burnley) - includes 3 penalties
14 Michael Chopra (Ipswich Town)
13 Marvin Emnes (Middlesbrough)
Robert Snodgrass (Leeds United) - includes 2 penalties
12 Chris Burke (Birmingham City)
Carlton Cole (West Ham United)
Kevin Nolan (West Ham United)
Chris Wood (Bristol City) - includes 1 penalty - (9 with Birmingham City)
11 Craig Davies (Barnsley) - includes 1 penalty
Lukas Jutkiewicz (Middlesbrough) - includes 1 penalty - (9 with Coventry City)
Adam Le Fondre (Reading)
Paul Taylor (Peterborough United)
Pete Whittingham (Cardiff City) - includes 3 penalties
Nikola Zigic (Birmingham City)


Hat Tricks
 Date Player & Game
20/08/11 3: Lee Tomlin - PETERBOROUGH UNITED v Ipswich Town
10/09/11 3: Rickie Lambert - SOUTHAMPTON v Nottingham Forest
11/09/11 3: Chris Wood - BIRMINGHAM CITY v Millwall
12/10/11 3: Darius Henderson - Leicester City v MILLWALL
02/11/11 3: Jonjo Shelvey - Leeds United v BLACKPOOL
19/11/11 3: Rickie Lambert - SOUTHAMPTON v Brighton & Hove Albion
26/12/11 3: Matthew Phillips - Barnsley v BLACKPOOL
31/12/11 3: Ricardo Vaz Te - BARNSLEY v Leeds United
21/01/12 3: Darius Henderson - Barnsley v MILLWALL
31/01/12 4: Nikola Zigic - Leeds United v BIRMINGHAM CITY
26/02/12 3: Rickie Lambert - Watford v SOUTHAMPTON
17/03/12 3: Rickie Lambert - Millwall v SOUTHAMPTON
20/03/12 4: Garath McCleary - Leeds United v NOTTINGHAM FOREST
31/03/12 3: Radi Majewski - Crystal Palace v NOTTINGHAM FOREST
31/03/12 3: Charlie Austin - Portsmouth v BURNLEY
14/04/12 3: Ricardo Vaz Te - WEST HAM UNITED v Brighton & Hove Albion
17/04/12 3: Matty Fryatt - HULL CITY v Barnsley


Disciplinary Record (League and Cup)
Club Y R Y R Club Y R Y R
  League   Total   League  Total 
Barnsley 58 2 61 2 Ipswich Town 55 5 56 5
Birmingham City 60 3 65 3 Leeds United 72 9 78 9
Blackpool 52 2 55 3 Leicester City 60 9 68 9
Brighton and Hove Albion 89 8 103 8 Middlesbrough 72 7 75 7
Bristol City 80 7 82 7 Millwall 77 2 84 2
Burnley 68 2 76 2 Nottingham Forest 59 5 64 5
Cardiff City 56 0 72 0 Peterborough United 51 2 54 2
Coventry City 55 2 57 2 Portsmouth 72 4 79 4
Crystal Palace 55 2 59 3 Reading 57 0 60 0
Derby County 57 1 57 1 Southampton 51 4 54 4
Doncaster Rovers 70 3 72 3 Watford 66 3 68 3
Hull City 67 1 72 1 West Ham United 65 6 67 7


Highest and Lowest Attendances
Highest Lowest
Att Fixture Att Fixture
34,936 West Ham United v Coventry City (02/01) 6,351 Peterborough United v Cardiff City (18/10)
34,900 West Ham United v Crystal Palace (25/02) 6,392 Peterborough United v Millwall (06/03)
34,749 West Ham United v Barnsley (17/12) 6,717 Peterborough United v Reading (20/03)
34,650 West Ham United v Doncaster Rovers (10/03) 7,004 Peterborough United v Bristol City (18/02)
33,465 West Ham United v Portsmouth (10/09) 7,540 Peterborough United v Blackpool (10/03)
33,366 Leeds United v West Ham United (17/03) 7,555 Peterborough United v Portsmouth (28/01)
33,350 West Ham United v Reading (31/03) 7,572 Doncaster Rovers v Millwall (20/03)
33,010 Derby County v Southampton (15/10) 7,650 Doncaster Rovers v Watford (26/11)
33,010 Derby County v Leeds United (26/12) 7,778 Doncaster Rovers v Bristol City (27/08)
33,010 Derby County v Nottingham Forest (17/03) 7,901 Peterborough United v Burnley (17/09)


The Next Fixtures
Saturday 21st April
Blackpool v Burnley Ipswich Town v Millwall
Brighton & Hove Albion v Birmingham City Middlesbrough v Southampton (17:20)
Bristol City v Barnsley Peterborough United v Watford
Cardiff City v Leeds United (12:30) Portsmouth v Derby County
Coventry City v Doncaster Rovers Reading v Crystal Palace
Hull City v Nottingham Forest  
Monday 23rd April
Leicester City v West Ham United