Reading 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1

Last updated : 15 May 2003 By Footymad Previewer

Sub Alex Rae secured Wolves' place in the first division play-off final with a late goal to break Reading hearts at the Madejski Stadium.

Rae had only been on the pitch six minutes when he latched on to a Colin Cameron pass to end Reading's play-off chance with a neat finish.

The strike sealed a 3-1 aggregate win for Wolves after the Royals had dominated the game only to fail in front of goal.

A goal down from Saturday's clash, Reading needed a breakthrough at home but had to search for it without top scorer Nicky Forster, who was injured in the first leg.

But the home side, with midfielder Andy Hughes in attack, were on the front foot from the start.

Inside the first 60 seconds, Glen Little saw a shot fumbled by keeper Matt Murray, who was grateful to see Joleon Lescott scramble clear.

Forster's ankle injury gave a chance to Jamie Cureton, who had spent much of the season kicking his heels on the Royals sidelines.

The striker looked hungry and saw a long-range effort fly over after Steven Sidwell had knocked down a long ball from Adrian Williams, before sending another long-range effort into the arms of Murray.

But Reading's best chance of breaking the deadlock came five minutes before half time when Darius Henderson thumped a header goalwards, only for Lee Naylor to hack his effort off the line.

Wolves remained patient, hoping to strike on the break with a goal that would have killed the tie off, and Shaun Newton's pass nearly released Cameron only for former Wolves defender Williams to make a good tackle.

But Reading remained on top and they nearly broke through on the hour when Little fed Henderson whose shot was tipped away by the alert Murray.

The home side's frustration reached boiling point midway through the second half when Cureton's cute pass gave Little a glorious chance only for the on-loan Burnley winger to spoon his shot over the bar.

And Reading's failure to find a way through cost them dear as Wolves snatched a goal nine minutes from time.

Cameron slipped in a pass to Rae in the penalty area and the Scottish midfielder beat Marcus Hahnemann with a clinical low drive into the far corner of the net.