Reading FC Match Report: 2012/2013 Season - FA Cup


Reading: N Hunt (6 mins), M Leigertwood (40 mins), N Hunt (50 mins), G McCleary (54 mins).
Sheff Utd: --

Even though Brian McDermott rested several key players for this fourth round cup tie, Reading were far too strong for League One Sheffield United. Apart from a spell in the first half when the visitors had two good chances to equalise, the Royals looked completely in control. Having taken an early lead the Reading looked far from convincing allowing United too much time on the ball and showing very little desire to attack. Against the run of play, Leigertwood doubled Reading’s just before half time with a stunning strike from outside the box. The result never looked in doubt but it was no wonder McDermott delivered an uncharacteristically aggressive half time team talk. Any doubt about the result had been removed within ten minutes of the re-start as Reading added two goals in quick succession.

Former Royal Dave Kitson was given a warm welcome by the home fans, and both sets of fans generously applauded Chris Armstrong in the third minute before the action began in earnest. In the fifth minute Le Fondre worked the ball out to Robson-Kanu who delivered a deep cross for Hunt to demonstrate his prowess in the air to give Reading the lead. It should have been the cue for a demolition of noticeably inferior opposition but it didn’t work out like that. Reading conceded possession carelessly and committed a staggering sixteen fouls in the first half. United, having been content to hoof the ball upfield and hope, began to play the ball around with purpose and created some good chances. Blackman’s pace took behind the Royals defence and his cross flew across the six yard box needing only a touch to divert into the net. Porter shaved the post with a header and Federici made a good save from Murphy when a goal looked a likely outcome. Hunt was winning more than his share of balls in the air and on thirty minutes produced a delightful piece of skill when he caught the ball on his instep and lifted it over his head and his marker only to be hauled down as he spun and accelerated away. It took a long time for Reading to shake off their sluggishness. Le Fondre tested ‘keeper Long when he spun and fired a shot which required a decent save. Play continued and Leigertwood took possession twenty yards out and carried the ball across the edge of the box before firing a vicious left foot strike into the net. Long had every right to be furious with his defence.

Fired up by some sharp words from their manager it took Reading about ten minutes of the second half to put the result beyond doubt. Five minutes in to the half McCleary crossed for Hunt who deceived Long with a miscued shot and the ball looped in to the net. Four minutes later McCleary wriggled into the box and arrowed a shot inside the far post. United did muster a couple of openings which caused panic in the Royals defence and Flynn missed an absolute sitter when it was too late to matter. Reading dominated possession in the second half and United looked well beaten side by the end.

Another cup run is an exciting prospect but Premier League survival remains the priority. Thankfully this game did not take too much out of the players before the bigger game against the European Champions in Wednesday. A stronger team and a better performance will be required if the Royals are to take anything from that game.
John Wells

This FA Cup game took place 2924 days ago in the 2012/2013 season.