On this day three years ago, Reading came from behind twice to scrape past Wigan Athletic and continue their rise up the table toward Championship survival.

Little-known Portuguese manager Jose Gomes took over from Paul Clement on December 23, after a two-game interim spell with Scott Marshall, and found the club teetering above the relegation zone on goal difference.

Over the next half a season, despite a slow start, Gomes dragged a spirited Reading side away from the drop zone, eventually finishing 20th and a comfortable seven points clear.

Aided by five terrific January loan additions, the side lost eight of the final 23 compared to 12 in the first half of the season and managed to grind out 10 draws compared with seven in the previous half of the season.

This character within the squad shone in two games in particular, back-to-back, at the beginning of March.

A 90th minute winner at bottom club Ipswich Town got the belief flowing; however, it still only saw the club above the drop zone on goal difference.

The following week Paul Cook’s Latic’s arrived at the then Madejski Stadium, just three points above the Royals.

The visitors took the lead on 20 minutes as Nick Powell diverts a cross past Emi Martinez, but John Swift managed to level the scores before the break with a stunning free-kick in first half stoppage time.

If Reading fans hoped that the break would be a chance to regroup, they were wrong as it is Wigan who start fast in the second half.

Martinez is forced into a string of saves before the deadlock is broken again when Joe Garner is found unmarked at the back post following poor defending.

It should have been 1-3 if not for Martinez, who makes a point-blank save as Powell dives in to get on the end of a low cross.

Confusion for the visitors stems when they feel that Reading should pass the ball back to the goalkeeper for an injury break, but they don’t as Mo Barrow makes no mistake when he lashes home an equaliser from outside the box in the 89th minute.

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Above: Yakou Meite returned from long term injury against Coventry (credit: JasonPIX)


At 2-2 many felt that the game was over and the points would be shared, not that it would have been much use to either side in their survival bids, however Yakou Meite read a different script.

Rising highest to head home from a corner in the 97th minute, pandemonium ensued as the ground jumped around in disbelief.

A crazed Gomes ran the length of the touchline to join the celebrations and after a difficult season, the club felt united again.

Safety would not be officially confirmed until the penultimate game, a defeat on Teeside to Middlesbrough, but at that moment we knew the side had the fight and passion to make a go of it.

Gomes rallied the fans and fed off of the passion, making the side and fans feel truly connected for the first real time since the Brian McDermott days, so much so that the final day of the season was dedicated to the manager with ‘Portugal Day’.