Sunday, December 29, 2013

29 December 2007 - It's A Distinction They Could Do Without

On 29 December 2007, Reading played in the second of the Premier League's two highest-scoring games, losing both.

The first was a 7-4 defeat to Portsmouth on 29 September that beat the previous record of nine goals set by Southampton's 4-5 win over Norwich in April 1994. The loss dropped the Royals into seventeenth place in the Premier League table, but they fought their way back into twelfth before traveling to White Hart Lane to face Tottenham two months later.

There, they conceded an early goal to Spurs striker Dimitar Berbatov (pictured) in the seventh minute, but equalized nine minutes later through midfielder Kalifa Cissé. In the second half, Reading pulled ahead with a 53rd-minute goal from Ívar Ingimarsson, but Berbatov scored again ten minutes later to make it 2-2.

Berbatov scored a third (73') in between a brace from Reading's Dave Kitson (69', 74') and Reading led 3-4. But a late onslaught from Spurs saw goals from Steed Malbranque (76'), Jermain Defoe (79'), and a fourth from Berbatov (83') as the hosts won 6-4 to hit the second-highest scoring mark since the creation of the Premier League in 1992. The overall English record, however, was set at 17 when Tranmere Rovers beat Oldham Athletic 13-4 in the Third Division South in 1935.

Although Reading dropped only one spot in the table after the loss to Spurs, it was the first of eight consecutive league losses, a run that pushed them down to 18th by the end of February, which is where they ended up in the final table. Although level on points with Fulham, Reading were the ones relegated, separated from safety by a goal differential of -25 to Fulham's -22.

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