Reading learnt from experience says Shane Long

Shane Long
Long has scored 46% of his total career goals for Reading this season

Reading striker Shane Long says the experience gained this year helped the club beat Cardiff and secure a place in the Championship play-off final.

The Royals beat Cardiff 3-0 and face ex-manager Brendan Rodgers' Swansea at Wembley as they look to end a three-year absence from the Premier League.

Long told BBC Berkshire: "We learnt from experience, we've been ahead in games this season and then drawn games.

"It's a case of seeing the game out and we did it. It was an amazing night."

The 24-year-old Republic of Ireland international scored twice at Cardiff to take his goal tally to 25 for the Royals in all competitions this season, but he was quick to praise his team-mates for their efforts.

"Fair play to our defence and goalkeeper to keep the clean sheet for so long and for Jobi [McAnuff] to come in with a wonder goal to finish it off," said Long.

"We all thought the pressure was on Cardiff, it was their home ground and we came here as underdogs and put in a performance.

"It's a long way to Wembley but we want to make it count by winning there."

Long's strike partner Noel Hunt was equally impressed with the team performance.

"What can you say it was one of those games where it was all about hard work and we proved we worked harder than them," he said.

"We totally dominated the game, once the first goal went in we really kicked on and when we got the second it was important we didn't get ahead of ourselves and chase the third.

"Cardiff's heads were done but instead of saying 'we've got this,' I shouted 'this isn't over by a long shot,' and we needed to step it up a gear and so it was a psychological battle, but it was good."

Reading have never won promotion via the play-offs and were last in a play-off final in 2001, when they were beaten 3-2 by Walsall in the Division Two decider.external-link