Attendance: 1,109
Scorers: Caskey, Scott Date: 18 January 2000
Team: Howie, Gurney, Primus, Hunter, Bernal, Evers (Murty), Smith (Sarr), Parkinson, Caskey, Nicholls (Forster), Scott.

Audio: Supplied by Classic Gold radio.
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Match Hero:

Reading at last provided some excitement for the fans tonight with a golden goal victory at Barnet in the second round of the Auto Windscreens shield - just a shame there was so few there to witness it. Shockingly Reading progress to round three - but only just after leaving it until the 94th minute to win the match. Even more shockingly is the fact that Reading's last win prior to tonight was in the same competition - beating Orient in Round One all the way back on the 8th of December last millennium. But a win is a win, and we can only hope it's a building block to a much needed win in the league away at Luton this Saturday. Since we've bothered to get to round three it's probably also worth taking the trouble to beat Bristol Rovers when Reading travel there next Tuesday night for the third round tie of this competition.

This was a half decent Reading performance and in the end a deserved victory. Reading looked improved from the off, and were rewarded for making use of the wings and actually crossing the ball low into the box after 24 minutes - when they did exactly that. On-loan Nicholls had failed to impress during the last two home matches but did well to twist past his man and cross back into the area to Darren Caskey on the edge of the six yard box. Caskey fired home inside the post to give Reading the lead. With Reading looking stong at the back it was Reading well in control at half time.

Barnet came out looking more determined after the break, and after a period of pressure took the lead on 53 minutes - but only just. Howie just failed to keep the ball out as it was side-footed to his side. Despite a scramble it bobbled just over the line. Things started going the usual direction after that with Barnet looking like they might take the lead, before the game evened out with Reading getting back into it. On came Murty and Forster, and Forster almost restored Reading's lead with around five minutes left. Twice Forster shot, and twice the keeper saved. Smith went off injured to be replaced by Sarr to give us a bit more strength going forward. However, down at the other end, with the game about to enter injury time it seemed like it might be the usual Reading finish - the late goal to conceede the game. Hunter and Gurney both made mistakes at the back, but thankfully Howie made a save and the other mistake saw the ball blasted over the Reading bar to safety.

After two minutes stoppage time the game entered golden goal extra time. Reading looked most likely from the off taking the ball right down the other end. Sarr was inches away from winning the game for Reading after a Caskey corner. After another corner Barnet took it town the Reading end to cause a scare... and then four minutes into extra time Gurney broke the offside trap and ran free down the right wing. Gurney provided the perfect cross, and Keith Scott volleyed home from inside the box. The ball steamed into the top right corner of the net and it was all over, a 2-1 victory for the Royals. You RRRRRsssss!

Post Match Opinions

It's quite sad when a second round Auto Windcreens match at Barnet provides one of the highlights of the season, but that's the situation we're in at the moment. I've travelled to most of our matches home and away for the last 7-8 years, but now for the first time in that period I actually dread our home games.
The Madejski is devoid of any atmosphere, is expensive to visit, and the football has been of a terrible standard ever since it was built. For this reason the only enjoyment I get from following the Royals at the moment is games like these, when a handful of real fans travel to a fairly pointless match, but have a really enjoyable night out. Free from the pressure of a relegation fight, cup games such as these give the fans a chance to actually enjoy the football - can you really see that happening at the MadStad in the near future?
I put this Barnet match second in my most enjoyed matches of the season, behind Halifax away in the Cup, when less than a hundred of us travelled for 6 hours to stand in the rain on the terraces of a 3rd division club. Hopefully Bristol Rovers next week will be as enjoyable, and you never know, 3 more great awayday victories and the Royals are on their way to Wembley!

-- Neil Cole

Maybe we need to put a slope on the Mad House pitch. First half we were good, Caskey showed his class again, and we deserved the 1-0 at half time. Second half Barnet really improved and were unlucky not to win it in 90 minutes. Evers was nowhere second half and should be sold........quickly.
Come on you RRRRR's next week.
We can win the AWS and need the confidence a run will provide.

-- Big E

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