The Royals will spend another season in the lower division after failing to secure a much-needed home win on Sunday despite the disciplined input of their Nigeria-eligible youngsters
The active involvement of young midfielders Michael Olise and Ovie Ejaria plus the impressive Sone Aluko failed to inspire Reading to victory as the Royals only managed a 2-2 draw against Swansea at the Madejski Stadium.
Ejaria was involved from kick-off while Olise and Aluko were second-half substitutes on a day that started well for the home side with Yakou Meite’s opener after half an hour of football.
But Jamal Lowe equalised for Swansea in the 67th minute before Ghana’s Andre Ayew scored what appeared to be a late winner to extinguish any lingering hopes Reading had of making the playoffs.
Aluko, however, created Tomas Esteves stoppage-time equaliser to earn a point for Veljko Paunovic’s men, but it still was not enough to revive their fading promotion dreams.
Reading at one point during the campaign looked a surefire bet for the playoffs, with the Royals sitting pretty in the top six even till game week 34.
Nigeria Football Federation target Olise, who was named in the Super Eagles standby list for March’s Afcon qualifiers, contributed six goals and ten assists during those heady days. Super Eagles hopeful Ejaria, 23, also chipped with three goals and five assists.
But a terrible drop in form, which saw them picked only one win in their last ten matches, has robbed Reading the chance of fighting for a spot in the English top-flight.
19-year-old Olise is a lad in hot demand, though, and he could still fulfill his dreams of playing in the Premier League should any of the elite clubs prise him away from the Madejski Stadium this summer.
Super Eagles vice-captain William Troost-Ekong and Watford have already secured their seat in the Premier League next season following a 1-0 defeat of Milwall at the Vicarage Road on Saturday.