Reading 2 Coventry City 0: Williams convinced Reading will slay Wembley ghosts by going up

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The Independent Football

Adrian Williams, the Reading-born Coventry defender, knows more than most why there is an air of subdued expectation, anxiety and excitement at the Madejski Stadium.

Williams did his best to try and stop the Championship leaders in their tracks but two goals from Dave Kitson was sufficient to make it 28 games unbeaten for the Royals and increase their lead over Sheffield United in second place to nine points.

The defender spent 11 years in two spells as a professional with Reading and family members still hold season tickets. He can also remember vividly the last season the Royals came so close to reaching the Premiership.

Eleven years ago, the Berkshire club finished second in the old First Division when only the champions were automatically promoted. The agony did not stop there.

The fates turned against Williams, the club captain, after his goal helped Reading take a 2-0 lead in the Wembley play-off final against Bolton. Stuart Lovell missed a penalty, Bolton fought back to make it 2-2 and went on to win 4-3 in extra-time.

Williams said: "Obviously those connected with the club won't be blowing their own trumpets because of what has happened in the past but they are definitely going to go up and I am delighted for the players, the gaffer [Steve Coppell] and everybody connected with Reading.

"At the moment I would think every player in the Championship would want to play for them," he added. "A few of our boys said afterwards how impressed they were because of how organised, fit and strong they are.

"It's difficult to judge how they will do in the Premiership, that may depend on the players they buy. They could hold their own because you have only got to look at Wigan and West Ham to realise you can achieve things even if you are the underdogs."

Coventry had reason to feel a little aggrieved by this defeat. Stern John, Don Hutchison and James Scowcroft all brought the best out of Marcus Hahnemann, Reading's formidable American goalkeeper, and Marcus Hall hit the bar.

However, as Kitson, who chipped in his first goal a minute after the interval and then flicked home substitute Stephen Hunt's cross to make it 17 goals for the season, confessed: "I have forgotten what being beaten is like."

"Every time we go out there we feel like we can score," he added. "We nearly got caught out by a Coventry team who wanted to take a point home but we have got a fine goalkeeper and four defenders who are Premier League standard so it makes it a little easier."

Goals: Kitson (46) 1-0; Kitson (78) 2-0.

Reading (4-4-2): Hahnemann; Murty, Sonko, Ingimarsson, Shorey; Little, Gunnarsson, Harper, Convey (Hunt, 71); Doyle (Lita, 87), Kitson. Substitutes not used: Stack (gk), Oster, Makin.

Coventry City (5-4-1): Fulop; Whing (Hutchison, 59), Shaw, Williams, Hall, Duffy (Impey, 81); Doyle, Scowcroft, Jorgensen (Adebola, 74), McSheffrey; John.

Substitutes not used: Ince (gk), Morrell.

Referee: A Bates.

Booked: Reading Murty; Coventry Williams, Shaw.

Man of the match: Hahnemann.

Attendance: 22,813.

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