News and Views

Brentford Take All Three Points

20 January 2018
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading came off second best against an impressive Brentford side to slide closer to the wrong end of the table. Brentford had the look of team destined for a play-off spot and Reading had to raise their game to keep them at bay. It was an entertaining and open game with both teams having plenty of opportunities score the crucial opening goal. The Brentford winner came late in the game ironically immediately after they had presented Reading with a golden opportunity to take the lead which made defeat an even more difficult pill to swallow for Royals fans. Morale is now an issue and Reading will need to show character and resilience to pull out of the current slump. Staying positive is essential - and that includes the fans. When a team is fighting for points to stave off relegation they are not helped by the booing of their own 'supporters'.

A Win At Last: Royals Through To Round Four

16 January 2018
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading eased their way into the Fourth Round of the FA Cup courtesy of a Jon Dadi Bodvarsson hat-trick to end the sequence of eight games without a win. Having a survived a jittery opening spell in which Stevenage might easily have scored a couple of goals, Reading finally settled down to play some good football; and having taken the lead with a Bodvarsson volley, never really looked in danger of losing their grip on the game. Stevenage managed to create sufficient chances to get back into the game but their finishing lacked the quality required to breach the Royals defence.

Replay Winners Travel To Carlisle Or Sheffield

08 January 2018
By Hob Nob Anyone?

The winners of Reading and Stevenage's FA Cup third round replay will travel to either Carlisle or Sheffield Wednesday in the fourth round of the competition. Like the Royals, Carlisle and Sheffield Wednesday also need to decide their fixture with a replay next week after a goalless match at the weekend in Carlisle. The other half of the fixture has a similar feel to Readings - Carlisle are also midtable in League Two - sitting three places above Stevenage.

The Royals drew 0-0 with Stevenage in a dull game on Saturday in which Reading were second best to the League Two side. Stevenage created the better chances and Jaakkola was forced into a couple of impressive saves to earn Reading a clean sheet. At the other end Reading rarely threatened during what turned out to be a very quiet afternoon for the home goalkeeper. The draw means The Boro will now need to travel to the Madejski Stadium on Tuesday 16th January for the replay. Tickets are already on sale for the replay with a very low crowd expected despite reasonable ticket prices. Children are just a pound in advance, adults are ten pounds and other concession prices are five pounds.

Stam Hopes FA Cup Provides Some Respite

05 January 2018
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading take a welcome break from a hugely disappointing Championship campaign so far with a Saturday afternoon trip to Stevenage in the third round of the FA Cup. 45 league places seperate Reading from their League Two opposition. Some might think this game is ripe for an afternoon of 'giant killing'. Although Stevenage have hardly set League Two alight this season either, and currently sit midtable in 15th place, they have impressive recent home form in both league and cup.

With home advantage and the "magic of the cup" Stevenage will certinaly fancy their chances of progressing to round four after home wins against Nantwich in round one and Swindon Town in round two. Stevenage put five goals past both of those sides in earlier rounds, and their last two home games in the league have also seen big wins - 5-1 over Chesterfield and 4-1 over Cheltenham. With Reading's inability to keep clean sheets you would certainly expect The Boro to find the back of the net at some point. That means Reading are likely to need at least a couple of goals - and that could pose a problem on recent form.

This does seem set to be a difficult fixture for a Reading side hugely low in confidence. Confidence in the Reading manager is also at an all time low with things swinging against Jaap Stam, and the majority of fans now calling for a change in management. It may only be the FA Cup, and Stam is likely to field a changed and potentially weakened side, but another defeat against lower league opposition could be the hammering in of one of the final nails. Stam needs a victory. Any victory will do as Stam looks to the FA Cup to save the season and his tattered managerial reputation.

Recent form and weaker opposition on paper, will see Stam rest players who have featured in recent defeats. Hopefully some of the younger players will get a chance to be involved and see if they can turn the fortunes of the club around. Dramatic changes to the starting eleven would only be a good thing, and hopefully Stam can accept he may need to try different tactics against Stevenage.

The 0-2 home defeat against bottom side Birmingham on Tuesday was actually comparable to Reading's last match against Stevenage. That game, six years ago at the Madejski Stadium also in the FA Cup third round, was also a hugely disappointing performance from the Royals. Reading were dumped out of the FA Cup 0-1 by a superior Stevenage side on the day. They'll be hoping to repeat that success this weekend.


Recent Meetings With Stevenage

07 January 2012 FA Cup Stevenage (HOME) L: 0-1 Read report...
29 January 2011 FA Cup Stevenage (Away) W: 2-1 Read report...