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Reading 2-2 Swansea City: Swans clinch play-off spot as Royals miss out

By Gareth VincentBBC Sport Wales
Jamal Lowe steered in Swansea's equaliser
Jamal Lowe steered in Swansea's equaliser

Swansea City secured a play-off place courtesy of a 2-2 draw at Reading that ended the Royals' top-six hopes.

Yakou Meite's header offered Reading hope of claiming the win they needed to keep their season alive but Jamal Lowe tapped in the equaliser.

Andre Ayew put Swansea ahead late on only for Tomas Esteves to guide home to earn Reading a point in stoppage time.

Steve Cooper's Swansea will face either Brentford, Bournemouth or Barnsley in the play-offs.

The draw sees Swansea climb a place to fifth while Reading, who topped the table in the early stages of the season, stay seventh.

Swansea had been in top-two contention for much of the campaign, but their recent poor form means a second successive crack at the play-offs.

They sealed their top-six spot on this ground last season, when a memorable 4-1 victory saw them overhaul Nottingham Forest in the closing minutes of the campaign.

Swansea almost made the perfect start on their return to the Madesjki Stadium as Ben Cabango headed wide of the far post inside the first minute before Wayne Routledge's drive ricocheted over the bar.

But Reading grew into the contest and took the lead with their first clear sight of goal.

The breakthrough came from a throw-in, with Omar Richards and Lucas Joao involved before John Swift marked his first start since early February with an assist.

Yakou Meite rises at the far post to head home his 11th goal of the season
Yakou Meite rises at the far post to head home his 11th goal of the season

His inviting cross was met by Meite, who rose above Jake Bidwell and powered a header into the net via the foot of the post.

Conor Hourihane's loose pass then presented Joao with a golden chance to double Reading's advantage before half-time, but Freddie Woodman got down sharply to save Swansea.

The visitors might have levelled early in the second period only for Liam Cullen to head Lowe's drilled cross wide of the target.

Reading's Andy Rinomhota volleyed into the side netting at the other end before substitute Ayew inspired the Swansea leveller.

The Ghana captain took three Reading players out of the game as he flicked a backheel through Liam Moore's legs, allowing Jay Fulton to surge into the Reading box.

When Fulton's low drive was parried by Rafael, Lowe was on hand to sweep home his fifth goal in as many games.

Reading saw a penalty appeal turned down as Fulton grappled with Joao before a sweet Swansea passing move ended with Bidwell rolling the ball across goal for Ayew to score his 16th goal of the season from point-blank range.

Swansea might have added a third goal in stoppage time but Lowe's drive cannoned to safety off the post, then Reading replied as Esteves steered home his first senior goal from the edge of the penalty area.

But there was to be no dramatic climax as Swansea held on for the point they needed.

Reading manager Veljko Paunovic:

"It's a very disappointing outcome. It is hard to accept that our season is over after how hard we have fought.

"Everyone has worked so hard to overcome setbacks and injuries and so many people have worked so hard to come back and help the team.

"But although it's hard to take, we have to look at the positives. This season there has been a huge improvement in our character and our identity and we have an excellent mix of young and experienced players for next season."

Swansea head coach Steve Cooper:

"I thought there was nothing much between the teams in the first half. They got the lead and we threatened a few times as well without having enough attempts on goal.

"The message at half-time was to keep going but just be a bit more positive with our positional play and our passing.

"We did that and we scored two good goals. Then it was always going to be crazy because they had to win.

"You just want to get that point. Okay we want to win and there's a slight disappointment that we didn't, but if there's ever a game to accept the draw then maybe this would be the one."

Line-ups

Reading

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 33Cabral Barbosa
  • 17YiadomSubstituted forPontes Estevesat 81'minutes
  • 29HolmesBooked at 19mins
  • 6Moore
  • 3RichardsSubstituted forAlukoat 87'minutes
  • 8Rinomhota
  • 28Laurent
  • 11MeiteSubstituted forSemedoat 65'minutes
  • 10SwiftSubstituted forOliseat 65'minutes
  • 14EjariaSubstituted forPuscasat 81'minutes
  • 18Lucas João

Substitutes

  • 2Pontes Esteves
  • 7Olise
  • 9Baldock
  • 15Gibson
  • 22Southwood
  • 24Aluko
  • 30Semedo
  • 34Tetek
  • 47Puscas

Swansea

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Woodman
  • 26NaughtonSubstituted forRobertsat 64'minutes
  • 44Cabango
  • 5GuehiBooked at 17mins
  • 24Bidwell
  • 8Grimes
  • 6FultonBooked at 69mins
  • 14HourihaneSubstituted forSmithat 87'minutes
  • 15RoutledgeSubstituted forWhittakerat 64'minutes
  • 20CullenSubstituted forA Ayewat 64'minutes
  • 9Lowe

Substitutes

  • 2Bennett
  • 7Smith
  • 10A Ayew
  • 17Whittaker
  • 18Hamer
  • 21Dhanda
  • 22Latibeaudiere
  • 23Roberts
  • 31Cooper
Referee:
John Brooks

Match Stats

Home TeamReadingAway TeamSwansea
Possession
Home52%
Away48%
Shots
Home14
Away15
Shots on Target
Home4
Away4
Corners
Home7
Away4
Fouls
Home13
Away15

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Reading 2, Swansea City 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Reading 2, Swansea City 2.

  3. Goal!

    Goal! Reading 2, Swansea City 2. Tomás Esteves (Reading) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Andy Rinomhota.

  4. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Sone Aluko (Reading) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Tomás Esteves with a cross.

  5. Post update

    Offside, Swansea City. Marc Guehi tries a through ball, but Jamal Lowe is caught offside.

  6. Post update

    Attempt missed. Morgan Whittaker (Swansea City) left footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the right following a fast break.

  7. Post update

    Jamal Lowe (Swansea City) hits the left post with a right footed shot from the right side of the box. Assisted by Connor Roberts following a fast break.

  8. Post update

    Marc Guehi (Swansea City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  9. Post update

    Foul by George Puscas (Reading).

  10. Post update

    Attempt missed. Michael Olise (Reading) left footed shot from outside the box is too high.

  11. Substitution

    Substitution, Reading. Sone Aluko replaces Omar Richards.

  12. Substitution

    Substitution, Swansea City. Korey Smith replaces Conor Hourihane.

  13. Goal!

    Goal! Reading 1, Swansea City 2. André Ayew (Swansea City) left footed shot from very close range to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Jake Bidwell.

  14. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Morgan Whittaker (Swansea City) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Jake Bidwell.

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, Reading. Tomás Esteves replaces Andy Yiadom.

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Reading. George Puscas replaces Ovie Ejaria.

  17. Post update

    Ben Cabango (Swansea City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Alfa Semedo (Reading).

  19. Post update

    Attempt missed. Jamal Lowe (Swansea City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Morgan Whittaker.

  20. Post update

    Corner, Reading. Conceded by Jay Fulton.

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As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Norwich44289769333693
2Watford442610861283388
3Brentford432115773413278
4Bournemouth4422111173433077
5Swansea4422111154361877
6Barnsley442381356461077
7Reading4419121359481169
8Cardiff4417131461481364
9Middlesbrough44189175449563
10QPR441711165254-262
11Luton43179173948-960
12Millwall441417134245-359
13Stoke441415154850-257
14Preston44167214555-1055
15Blackburn441411195951853
16Birmingham441313183552-1752
17Nottm Forest441215173643-751
18Bristol City44156234461-1751
19Coventry441312194259-1751
20Huddersfield441211214768-2147
21Derby441110233253-2143
22Rotherham42116254257-1539
23Sheff Wed44129233758-2139
24Wycombe44910253569-3437
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