Stam: Reading 'controlled' their nerves in playoff victory over Fulham

Stam: Reading 'controlled' their nerves in playoff victory over Fulham

Reading edged into the Championship playoff final with a narrow 1-0 home win against Fulham on Tuesday, moving through 2-1 on aggregate.

Defender Tomas Kalas was the guilty party for Fulham, with his handball enabling Kermorgant to score from the spot in the 49th minute, taking his tally for the campaign to 19 goals.

A 1-1 draw at Craven Cottage on Saturday was a result that probably/hopefully every Reading fan would have been happy with ahead of tonight's second leg in the play-off semi-final.

The decision of referee Martin Atkinson to point to the spot was disputed by the visitors who claimed Kermorgant had pushed Kalas' arm against the ball.

Fulham spurned a number of opportunities in the first leg which ended 1-1, and were made to pay for further missed opportunities at the Madejski Stadium where Ali Al-Habsi was the hero.

The Royals will play the victor of Sheffield Wednesday and Huddersfield Town, who face off at Hillsborough on Wednesday night.

"We were the best team, we played the best football, but we're not going to play the final".

And Kermorgant turned to hit a shot from 15 yards that keeper Marcus Bettinelli did superbly to tip round the post.

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Reading: Al Habsi, Ilori, Moore, van den Berg, Gunter, Evans, Williams, Blackett (McCleary, min. 66), Swift (Kelly, min. 75), Kermorgant (Mendes, min. 89), Grabban.

"We needed to defend, we needed to dig in and we got that win which is very important". "So he had to do it today", said Reading manager Stam, the former Manchester United, AC Milan and Netherlands centre-back.

Reading boss Jaap Stam felt the moment was one of the best of his illustrious footballing career. In the second half, we started well.

"It's great to come here to work at a club with a lot of potential - the players are prepared to work really hard". We created many chances but we weren't clinical enough.

"Ali has been great throughout the whole season", Stam added.

"Macca has been fantastic since he came to Reading as skipper, he has the respect of the players and the fans".

The team that finished sixth in the Championship has won promotion via the play-offs just once in the last 11 seasons - Blackpool in 2009/10.

The Cottagers have never scored more than one goal in a play-off match.

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