Brian McDermott savours Reading's promotion to the Premier League after play-off pain

Reading 1 Nottingham Forest 0

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The Independent Football

Brian McDermott may find it difficult to let his hair down. But after Mikele Leigertwood's late header sent his Reading side into the Premier League after a four-year exile, he had more than enough reason to celebrate.

It was the completion of a journey from agony to ecstasy, after losing the play-off final to Swansea last season. Also it was a moment he wants to savour as his best in football management – especially when juxtaposed with his memories of Wembley last May.

"My worst moment in football was on the pitch at Wembley in May," he said. "I didn't see any good come out of that at the time, it was a really difficult summer. Then to get to where we are now – and the resolve everyone has shown to get us there – makes it my best moment in football.

"We are in the Premier League now, we have been promoted and I can celebrate for the next couple of months. I had the worst summer after losing in the play-offs – I'll have the best summer now."

The fans responded at the final whistle by staging a mass pitch invasion, which was well-controlled and entirely good-natured. But for 82 minutes, it looked as if the party would have to wait until Crystal Palace on Saturday, as a dogged Nottingham Forest outfit, bent on securing the point that would have secured their own Championship status set out to frustrate their opponents.

Leigertwood, Noel Hunt and Adam Le Fondre found Lee Camp, the Forest keeper, in fine form, while Steve Cotterill's men had chances of their own. Chris Gunter's shot hit the crossbar for the visitors, while Dexter Blackstock had an injury-time shot cleared off the line by Ian Harte, who had provided the free-kick for Leigertwood's winner.

But Cotterill was left with his own cause to celebrate as results elsewhere meant his side were safe. "We have stayed up and our dressing room is a little bit despondent," he said. "But this is not our story, it is Reading's. Big congratulations to Brian, he deserves it."

Reading (4-4-2): Federici; Cummings, Harte, Gorkss, Pearce; Leigertwood, Mullins, Kebe, McAnuff; Hunt (Le Fondre, 58), Roberts. Substitutes not used McCarthy, Gunnarsson, Afobe, Church.

Nottingham Forest (4-4-1-1): Camp; Wootton (Reid, 84), Chambers, Lynch, Elokobi; Gunter, McGugan (Greening, 84), Guedioura, Anderson; Majewski (Tudgay,84); Blackstock. Substitutes not used Cunningham, Smith.

Referee G Ward (Kent).