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English Championship Play-off semi-final second leg
Tuesday 16th May 7.45pm kick off
Reading v Fulham
The first leg ended 1-1 with Reading down to ten men and Paul McShane who was sent off will be a big miss for The Royals in this and the final should they get there. Fulham had the better of a game that really never got going and both sides were extremely cagey with nerves seemingly getting the better of them. Reading played five at the back as Stam set out to neutralise the attacking prowess of Fulham but expect that to change in the second leg as they are at home.
There really is very little between these two and it may come down to a moment of brilliance from someone to unlock this tie. In the domestic season, Reading won 16 drew 5 and lost only 2 at home, scoring in 19 of 23 and keeping 10 clean sheets. Fulham away, won 12, drew 6 and lost 5 scoring in 19 of 23 and keeping 7 clean sheets. Things couldn’t get much tighter! There have been four recent head to heads at Reading which ended 1-0, 2-2, 3-0 and 3-3. In the six most recent play-off semi-finals that ended level after the first leg, in the second legs, three were won by the home side, two the away side and one ended level and went to extra-time. Those stats give us no clue as to how this may unfold.
So who wins?
I don’t like to sit on the fence but this could easily end all square and 1-1 is again a distinct possibility. However I am going to make a prediction and go with Fulham. The reason for this is goals, Fulham scored for fun in the league and three players, Martin, Cairney and Johansen all scored goal totals in double figures whilst only Kermorgant managed that for Reading. That gives Fulham more “outs” and add to the mix the 16 year old Ryan Sessegnon (5 goals)who can come on from the bench then that firepower should get them to Wembley. At the prices on offer I think Fulham are a touch short to bet them in the match odds market so try other options. One possibility is a tight first half so HT/FT you could try Draw/Fulham at 5/1 (6.00) but I’m going to reduce stakes and try three correct scores for trading. Fulham to win 2-1 at 10/1 (11.00), Fulham to win 3-1 at 20/1 (21.00) and throw in Fulham to win 3-2 at 30/1 (31.00) for small stakes.
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