(Half Time: 2-1)
Reading Scorers: Henderson (15 mins)
Barnet Scorers: Strevens (14, 78 mins), Arber (29 mins), Berkley (90 mins).
Date: 4 December 2001
Attendance: 1,171

Reading: Ashdown, Igoe, Williams, Viveash, Shorey (Mackie 71), Salako, Gamble (Parkinson 46), Harper, Rougier (Tyson 82), Henderson, Forster. Subs not used: Malessa, Hughes.

Barnet: Naisbitt, Gledhill, Flynn, Toms (Berkley 82), Heald (Sawyers 75), Arber, Doolan, Bell, Midgley, Strevens, Purser. Subs not used: Niven, Taylor, Harrison.

Bookings: Henderson (sent off), Gledhill (Barnet).
Referee: Bill Jordan (Tring)

Reading were well beaten tonight by an impressive non-league side in the shape of Barnet. Just a few seasons ago Reading and Barnet were playing league football in the same Division. Barnet have been relegated twice since into the Football Conference, but tonight the teams looked as close as ever in terms of quality. The Royals lined up with a strong side that wasn't too far off a first team selection. Igoe was called back into the team with Hughes on the bench. Meanwhile Gamble, Harper and Rougier were all given starts, with Cureton rested and Watson having returned to Rotherham at the end of his loan spell at the club. Parkinson made a second half return for the Royals, coming off the bench, and Tyson made a rare appearance in a Reading shirt. Despite the changes this remained a strong Reading side on paper.

The exit from the LDV trophy doesn't really seem a bad thing. Barnet fans will be delighted with such a big victory that moves them into the area semi-finals. Reading fans will be pleased we've managed to get out of what is considered such a pointless trophy. So we might not mind the defeat in some ways, but you don't go out and lose 1-4 deliberately. After Saturday's home defeat against Chesterfield it would have been nice to have bounced back - instead we've been stuffed by a team two Divisions below us. Reading's performance in the first half showed a desire to win as well - it's just that we were being outplayed.

Barnet took an early lead after just fourteen minutes when Reading were robbed of possession in midfield as they looked to move forwards. Gamble lost the ball and Barnet broke at pace to launch an attack on the Reading goal. A few passes later and the ball was in the back of the Reading net. Reading hit back almost immediately with Nicky Forster getting a shot in on the Barnet goal and the ball came flying off the post allowing Henderson to stick home his tenth of the season to level the scores at 1-1. Moments later a Forster cross went flying across the face of goal needing someone to stick their leg on it to put Reading ahead. The chance went begging though and Barnet began to build again.

After half an hour the home side regained their lead. Reading conceeded a free-kick in a dangerous position on the left. The ball was played to the far post where it was volleyed in with some style. Again Reading hit back looking for a equaliser with Ashdown supplying Igoe who took the ball forward delivering to Forster. Forster got a good shot in on target but it was saved and pushed wide for the corner. In a lively first half it was Barnet that retained the edge as they nearly extended their lead when the ball was cut back into the box with a couple of spare players. Luckily for Reading it was judged off-side. Barnet's edge on the game was extended a couple of minutes before half time when Reading were reduced to ten men with the sending off of Darius Henderson. Henderson will have no complaints after flying in to hack down a Barnet player.

Barnet had the advantage in terms of goals and men in the second half - and that was never likely to change. The introduction of Tyson with ten minutes to go could make no difference as Reading had already conceeded the third after the ball was struck home in style after a high ball dropped deep into the Reading half. Rougier had one of the best chances of the second half but wasted it after a Forster shot came back to him - Rougier's poor shot was wide of the target when it shouldn't have been. There was no doubt about the result, but Barnet sewed it up anyway right at full time with a fourth - Viveash was beaten on the right and the ball crossed into the middle for a simple enough goal. 1-4 to Barnet.

Ashdown will be disappointed to have let in four goals in his third start of the season - however, he didn't have the defensive cover to keep the score down. Ashdown didn't have a bad game with some good kicking and claiming of the ball, and could do little against such a strong attack. Reading were well beaten tonight.

Post Match Opinions

Just as it suggests in the report, we can all breathe a sigh of relief to be out of such a meaningless trophy. Trouble is, I think we actually went out there to win! So Darius will pick up a needless suspension, confidence will sink back through the floor, and the LDV will be consigned to history for another season. A night to remember? I hope not. Our first team, with only a few minor changes made, were played off the park by a non league outfit. To be brutally honest, although those who know me might be surprised, I am totally speechless. Goodnight.
-- Kevin, Worthing Royal.

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