MATCH REPORT: 2004/2005 Season

29 January 2005: FA CUP ROUND FOUR
Reading: Forster (10 mins).
Leicester City:
Williams (32 mins), Scowcroft (90 mins).
Half Time: 1-1
Attendance: 14,825

Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Shorey, Sonko, Ingimarsson, Little, Harper, Newman (sent off 76), Hughes, Ferdinand (Owusu 69), Forster. Subs Not Used: Young, Convey, Brooker, Morgan.
Leicester City: Walker, Maybury, Stewart, Dabizas, Heath, Gillespie (Dublin 89), Gudjonsson (Nalis 85), Williams, Tiatto, Scowcroft, Connolly (de Vries 79). Subs Not Used: Hirschfeld, Makin.
Reading: Newman (sent off for two bookings)
Leicester City:
Gudjonsson, Heath.
Referee: A D'Urso (Essex).

Reading's poor recent showings in the FA Cup continued this weekend as we made an exit in the fourth round at home to Leicester City. Leicester eventually won through with a late goal in stoppage time at the end of the game. However, the visitors deserved their win and were the better side for most of the fixture with Reading struggling - particularly in the second half. Despite the end result and Leicester's superiority, it was Reading that looked the more likely team for the first twenty minutes. Had Ferdinand put home the simplest of chances with Reading already a goal up then we might have had a very different result. Ferdinand was gifted an easy chance to tap home into an empty net as the ball came across the face of the goal from the right but somehow managed to put the ball wide.

Earlier on, after just ten minutes, Nicky Forster had put Reading ahead after the best passing move of the game from either side. A number of Reading players were involved as we worked the ball forward at speed with Murty eventually steaming through down the right and supplying the ball to Forster who took it in his stride and drove it home from the right side of the area. It was an excellent goal, which Reading followed up with some further good football that should have seen us go two goals up from Ferdinand chance. The game continued on a very lively basis but Leicester gradually took the upper hand after they pulled level with over ten minutes of the half remaining. The game was very evenly balanced at half time both in the score and the control of the game, but the second half saw Leicester look better and better as Reading faded away.

Reading's hopes of winning the game ended when Ricky Newman picked up his second yellow card of the game, for a second crunching tackle, to leave Reading with ten men for the last fifteen minutes. Initially Reading dug deep and launched a couple of meaningful attacks, winning a couple of corners and seeing Forster getting in a shot needing a good save. Down the other end Hahnemann was having another fine game producing a couple of solid saves to keep Reading in it. With normal time out, Reading looked to have earnt another replay until the ball was crossed from the Leicester left and headed firmly past Marcus to put City in Round Five.

Following report by John Wells:
A late goal from James Scowcroft ended Reading's interest in the F A Cup this season. It has to be said, apart from a strong opening spell from the Royals when they threatened to overwhelm their opponents, City deserved to go through. The most disappointing aspect of this game apart from the result was the way Leicester outplayed Reading in every department for long periods of the second half. There was a glimmer of a response after Newnman was sent off for a desperate lunge for the ball as he lost possession in midfield, but Leicester stood firm. They are a physical team with a sprinkling of good players with Premiership experience. A combination which proved too much for the Royals today.

Forster looked to have given Reading the platform for a victory when a determined run from Murty provided him with a pass on the edge of the box. Fozzy showing he may have finally recaptured his form smartly tucked the ball away after a good first touch. Later in the half he must have thought he had set up a crucial second. He slid in a perfect low cross which split the defence finding an unmarked Ferdinand at the far post who somehow managed avoid scoring in a unguarded net from two yards! That was the turning point in the game. Soon after City were back in the game when Scowcroft set up Williams who scored from the rebound after Hahnemann saved his first effort.

The second half belonged to Leicester. Reading seemed to lack the determination to keep the ball and found themselves constantly under pressure. Connolly was a handful with his ability to turn quickly. Both he and Scowcroft caused havoc in the Reading defence when they dropped off the back four to pick up the ball. Hahnemann was again in good form and needed to be to keep the Royals in the game. Some comfort can be drawn from the performances of LIttle and Forster. They both looked capable of opening up City's defence and I hope they can produce this form in the league. Apart from missing a sitter, Ferdinand showed his presence can unsettle defences. He won the ball well in the air, held the ball effectively and timed his passes well. There was however a lot of sloppy passing throughout the team today which made it difficult for the Royals to play their way out of their own half.

A league win is long overdue. There will not be many better opportunities to get a winning run started than Plymouth at home next week. Lets hope we take full advantage of a team going through a bad patch.


Such a disappointing result from a game where we started so well. this Having watched us stifle Leicester at their ground and then score two good goals, I expected something better. The first half hour saw us playing bright inventive football, but it only brought us one goal from Forster. He looked much better and had Ferdinand scored with the simplest of chances than we surely would have cruised through. From that point Leicester got better and better and emerged as deserved winners in a game where they had looked second best. Marcus had another excellent game but few of the others enhances their reputations. The defence looked uncertain with poor distribution (full backs included), Little tried hard, Hughes was his energetic self, but this was a game the we lost. Whether Newman was unlucky with his first yellow, I'm not sure, but he certainly deserved the second. What we must now do is get back to playing as a unit. In Ferdinand they have someone who shows better touch than we are used to and who is aware of what goes on around him. It's a must win on Saturday - again.
Ken C

Unfortunately this was a typical example of Reading failing to finish off the opposition when they were on top and then being punished. I don't reckon the sending off made an awful lot of difference to the outcome as Leicester were much the better side in the 2nd half regardless of the number of players on the pitch. There were positives;- apart from his astonishing miss, Ferdinand's all round contribution was good and Forster's performance had improved yet again (his goal was very well taken and he used his pace to good affect all afternoon). Now that the team have to 'concentrate on the league', as the old cliché goes, hopefully they can do just that with a win against Plymouth next Saturday.
Caversham Royal

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