Reading FC Match Report: 2014/2015 Season - FA Cup


Reading: H Robson-Kanu (6), G McCleary (9), J Mackie (68).
Bradford: --

Reading cruised into the semi-final of the FA Cup for the first time since 1927 with a convincing three nil win over League One Bradford. City had reached this stage of the competition beating Chelsea and Sunderland but never looked a match for a Reading side playing to their full potential for the first time this season. In an astonishing opening ten minutes Robson-Kanu and McCleary had given the home side a two goal lead which they never looked like surrendering. The dismissal of Morais for a clumsy high lunge at Chalobah in the second half, and yet another blistering finish from Mackie on sixty-eight minutes put the result beyond doubt making the final twenty minutes a formality.

With the incentive of a Wembley appearance in the semi-final of the FA Cup against Arsenal provided a highly charged atmosphere inside a packed Madjeski Stadium, and the game could not have started better for the Royals. Having sensibly rested his starting eleven on Saturday Steve Clarke’s preparation paid off immediately when a glancing header by Robson-Kanu from a McCleary corner gave Reading the lead after only three minutes. Before City could clear their heads they found themselves two goals down as McCleary cut inside and unleashed a strike form the edge of the box which was deflected up and over City ‘keeper Williams.

Reading were completely in control of the game and Danny Williams almost made it three nil with a well struck effort from outside the box which his namesake managed to parry but could not hold. For a spell in the Reading seemed content to allow City to occupy their half and simply contain the visitors and clear the ball upfield for Mackie and Pogrebnyak to scrap for. City were unable to trouble Federici apart from a tame header by Hanson from a Stead cross, and the lead looked secure at half time.

There is always an element of doubt about the security of a two nil lead but on this occasion Reading fans need not have worried. Steve Parkinson tried to revive his flagging side with a double substitution on sixty minutes but three minutes later the referee somewhat surprisingly sent Morias off for a foul on Chalobah. It is unlikely this would have altered the course of the game but when Chalobah, who had an outstanding game in midfield, slipped a pass to Mackie on sixty-eight minutes, it really was game over. Mackie needs no encouragement to go for goal when presented with an opening. With typical directness he raced into the box and hammered the ball into the bottom left corner for the third and crucial goal. The last twenty minutes was merely passing practice for Reading as ten man City chased the ball around.

Bradford’s fans to their credit supported their team to the end. It was pity a few Reading fans let the club down with their antics on the pitch at the final whistle. It was almost beyond belief that the police and stewards formed a human barrier in front of the South Stand leaving only a couple of stewards to contain the fans in the South East corner where the potential for a section of the crowd to spark a pitch invasion was clear for all to see. It was disappointing for everyone that the team were unable to celebrate their achievement with the fans with a lap of the pitch. Nothing could however detract from a fine performance and the achievement of reaching the last four of the Cup for only the second time in the club’s history.
John Wells

This FA Cup game took place 3381 days ago in the 2014/2015 season.