<< Season 1978-79 >>

Reading bounced back as Fourth Division champions, clinching the title with a run of 11 games without conceding a goal. Overall, keeper Steve Death went a league record of 1103 minutes without a goal against. Even when a goal eventually came in the first match of the next season it was an own goal while Deathie was suffering from concussion. Death's claim to be Reading's greatest ever keeper is emphasised by the fact that he was only 5 foot 7½ inches tall. His record was eventually surpassed by Edwin van der Sar of Manchester United (6 foot 5 inches) in 2008-09.

At the other end, the goals were fairly evenly spread, with no fewer than five players reaching double figures. The individual scoring performance of the season however came from John Alexander who hit all four in the victory over championship rivals Grimsby. Unfortunately, John's Reading career was effectively ended by a broken leg at Brentford the following season, but "Alexander's match" earned him his place in Reading's history.

Division 4 (Champions)

       Grimsby Town      A  W  2-1         Earles, Kearns
       Rochdale          H  W  2-0         Earles, Hetzke
       Wigan Athletic    H  W  2-0         Kearns (pen), Sanchez
       Huddersfield T    A  D  1-1         Sanchez
       Newport County    H  W  2-1         Kearns 2 (1 pen)
       Hereford Utd      A  D  0-0
       Doncaster Rov     H  W  3-0         Bowman, Kearns 2 (1 pen)
       Wimbledon         A  L  0-1
       Torquay Utd       H  W  1-0         Bowman (pen)
       Barnsley          A  L  1-3         Bowman (pen)
       Bradford City     H  W  3-0         Hetzke, Kearney, Sanchez
       Northampton T     A  D  2-2         Earles 2
       Darlington        A  W  2-1         Sanchez, Kearney
       York City         H  W  3-0         Lewis, Kearney, Hetzke
       Stockport Co      H  D  3-3         Bowman (pen), Earles, Hetzke
       Scunthorpe Utd    A  W  3-0         Peters, Earles, Czuczman (og)
       Huddersfield T    H  D  1-1         Hetzke
       Wigan Athletic    A  L  0-3
       Crewe Alexandra   H  W  3-0         Bowman 2 (1 pen), Kearney
       Halifax Town      A  D  0-0
       Portsmouth        A  L  0-4
       AFC Bournemouth   H  W  1-0         Kearney
       Newport County    A  L  2-3         Earles, Kearney
       Torquay Utd       A  D  1-1         Earles
       Aldershot         A  D  2-2         Lewis, Bowman (pen)
       Barnsley          H  W  1-0         Bennett
       Hereford Utd      H  W  3-0         Hetzke, Bowman, Earles
       Northampton T     H  W  5-1         Earles, Hetzke, Kearney, Bowman, Kearns
       Hartlepool Utd    H  W  3-1         Earles 2, Kearns
       York City         A  W  1-0         Earles
       Stockport Co      A  D  0-0
       Bradford City     A  W  3-2         Kearns, Kearney, Earles
       Scunthorpe Utd    H  L  0-1
       Doncaster Rov     A  D  2-2         Kearney, Lewis
       Rochdale          A  L  0-1
       Grimsby Town      H  W  4-0         Alexander 4
       Port Vale         H  D  0-0
       Crewe Alexandra   A  W  2-0         Kearney, Alexander
       Portsmouth        H  W  2-0         Lewis, Shipley
       AFC Bournemouth   A  D  0-0
       Aldershot         H  W  4-0         Kearns 2, Alexander, Hetzke
       Hartlepool Utd    A  D  0-0
       Darlington        H  W  1-0         Bowman
       Halifax Town      H  W  1-0         Hetzke
       Wimbledon         H  W  1-0         Alexander
       Port Vale         A  W  3-0         Hicks, Earles, Alexander

Division 4 Table

                        PL  HW HD HL  HF  HA  AW AD AL  AF  AA  PTS
 1. READING             46  19  3  1  49   8   7 10  6  27  27   65
 2. Grimsby Town        46  15  5  3  51  23  11  4  8  31  26   61
 3. Wimbledon           46  18  3  2  50  20   7  8  8  28  26   61
 4. Barnsley            46  15  5  3  47  23   9  8  6  26  19   61
 5. Aldershot           46  16  5  2  38  14   4 12  7  25  33   57
 6. Wigan Athletic      46  14  5  4  40  24   7  8  8  23  24   55
 7. Portsmouth          46  13  7  3  35  12   7  5 11  27  36   52
 8. Newport County      46  12  5  6  39  28   9  5  9  27  27   52
 9. Huddersfield T      46  13  8  2  32  15   5  3 15  25  38   47
10. York City           46  11  6  6  33  24   7  5 11  18  31   47
11. Torquay Utd         46  14  4  5  38  24   5  4 14  20  41   46
12. Scunthorpe Utd      46  12  3  8  33  30   5  8 10  21  30   45
13. Hartlepool Utd      46   7 12  4  35  28   6  6 11  22  38   44
14. Hereford Utd        46  12  8  3  35  18   3  5 15  18  35   43
15. Bradford City       46  11  5  7  38  26   6  4 13  24  42   43
16. Port Vale           46   8 10  5  29  28   6  4 13  28  42   42
17. Stockport Co        46  11  5  7  33  21   3  7 13  25  39   40
18. AFC Bournemouth     46  11  6  6  34  19   3  5 15  13  29   39
19. Northampton T       46  12  4  7  40  30   3  5 15  24  46   39
20. Rochdale            46  11  4  8  25  26   4  5 14  22  38   39
21. Darlington          46   8  8  7  25  21   3  7 13  24  45   37
22. Doncaster Rov       46   8  8  7  25  22   5  3 15  25  51   37
23. Halifax Town        46   7  5 11  24  32   2  3 18  15  40   26
24. Crewe Alexandra     46   3  7 13  24  41   3  7 13  19  49   26

FA Cup

R1     Gillingham3       H  D  0-0
R1(R)  Gillingham3       A  W  2-1 *       Lewis, Kearney
R2     Portsmouth4       A  W  1-0         Alexander
R3     Notts County2     A  L  2-4         Kearney 2

       * after extra time
League Cup
R1(1)  Gillingham3       H  W  3-1         Hetzke, Overton (og), Kearns
R1(2)  Gillingham3       A  W  2-1 [5-2]   Lewis, Earles
R2     Wolverhampton W1  H  W  1-0         Earles
R3     Rotherham Utd3    A  D  2-2         Earles 2
R3(R)  Rotherham Utd3    H  W  1-0         Hetzke
R4     Southampton1      H  D  0-0
R4(R)  Southampton1      A  L  0-2

Top Scorers

                        LG  FA  LC  MC  ALL  PEN  HAT    RATE
 1. Pat Earles          15   0   4   0   19    0    0   0.396
 2. Mike Kearney        10   3   0   0   13    0    0   0.317
 3. Ollie Kearns        11   0   1   0   12    3    0   0.353
 4. Steve Hetzke         9   0   2   0   11    0    0   0.211
 5. Richie Bowman       10   0   0   0   10    5    0   0.222
 6. John Alexander       8   1   0   0    9    0    1   0.450
 7. Alan Lewis           4   1   1   0    6    0    0   0.118
 8. Lawrie Sanchez       4   0   0   0    4    0    0   0.080
 9. Paul Bennett         1   0   0   0    1    0    0   0.018
    Martin Hicks         1   0   0   0    1    0    0   0.018
    Gary Peters          1   0   0   0    1    0    0   0.018
    George Shipley       1   0   0   0    1    0    0   0.083
13. Own goals            1   0   1   0    2    0    0   0.035
    Line
    Totals              76   5   9   0   90    8    1   1.579

Most Appearances

                        LG    FA    LC    MC    ALL     SUM
 1. Steve Death         46     4     7     0     57      57
    Martin Hicks        46     4     7     0     57      57
    Mark White          46     4     7     0     57      57
 4. Paul Bennett        45     4     7     0     56      56
    Gary Peters         45     4     7     0     56      56
 6. Steve Hetzke        42     0+3   7     0     49+3    52
 7. Alan Lewis          40     4     7     0     51      51
 8. Lawrie Sanchez      34+5   4     6+1   0     44+6    50
 9. Pat Earles          37+2   2     7     0     46+2    48
10. Richie Bowman       34     4     7     0     45      45
11. Mike Kearney        31+2   4     4     0     39+2    41
12. Ollie Kearns        20+7   2     4+1   0     26+8    34
13. John Alexander      15+1   4     0     0     19+1    20
14. Wayne Wanklyn       13     0     0     0     13      13
15. George Shipley      11+1   0     0     0     11+1    12
16. Jerry Williams       1     0     0     0      1       1
17. Martyn Britten       0+1   0     0     0      0+1     1
    Line
    Totals              46     4     7     0     57      57