(Half Time: 0-0)
Reading Scorers: Newman (48 mins), Butler (52 mins)
York City Scorers: McNiven (56 mins), Mathie (73 mins)
Date: 9 December 2000
Attendance: 2,926

Reading: Whitehead, Newman, Viveash, Mackie, Robinson, Igoe (Gurney), Jones, Parkinson, Cureton (Rougier), Butler, Hodges. Subs not used: Hunter, Smith, Howie.

York City: Fettis, Edmondson, Sertori, Bower, Alcide, Potter, Agnew, Hulme, McNiven, Iwelumo (Bullock), Mathie. Subs not used: Howarth, Patterson, Tarrant.

Bookings:  Reading: Whitehead; York: Hulme (sent off), Bower, Edmondson.
Referee: P Walton

Reading lost a two goal lead at York to draw 2-2 when it looked like we were on our way into the third round. York will now have to travel to the Madejski Stadium on Tuesday 19th December for the replay for a game that will see Reading as hot favourites for victory. The Bootham Cresent pitch passed a pitch inspection at 9am in the morning to allow the game to take place, and with a pitch like a marsh in places it wasn't the best display of football with plenty of long balls hoofed into the air during the first forty-five minutes. After a goalless first half the second half was much improved with four goals and a sending off, however Reading will be disappointed to only come away with a draw after going 2-0 up ten minutes into the second half.

Overall York probably just about had upper hand during the first half, but Reading could still have gone in ahead. Reading started the strongest with the most of the ball but York always looked dangerous coming forward, and eventually got more and more into the game through the half. Plenty of long balls were being pumped forward and it didn't create a massive number of clear chances for either side really, however both keepers have had to make a couple of saves. Whitehead got down well to save a strike flying in through a crowd of players midway through the half. Viveash almost scored after getting a header on target - but it was well saved by the York keeper, and just before the break Cureton nearly managed to chip the keeper, but he saved well to keep it at 0-0 at the break.

Reading got off to the best possible start in the second half. A few minutes after the break Butler was bought down on the edge of the box, in true Caskey free-kick area. After Gurney's strike last week Ricky Newman fancied a go, and after the usual mucking about, with players around the ball to put off the opposition, Newman drove home a superb free kick right into the top right corner of the net. 1-0 to the Royals! About five minutes later Reading made it 2-0 when a cross from Robinson was cleared but came back out to him. The ball was put straight back into the box, Butler was first to it in the middle of the box and drove it straight into the back of the net.

Reading's two goal lead was short-lived when a couple of minutes later York pulled a goal back. Mackie was beaten on the right, after nearly bringing the player down as he cut in, and the ball was crossed into the box where York's McNiven had plenty of time to stick it in the back of the net and make it 1-2. With Reading failing to really impress up front Rougier came on for Cureton. However, with York back in the game they continued to put Reading under a fair bit of pressure and with 15 minutes to go they pulled level. Mathie picked the ball up for York well outside the area and hit a left foot drive that gave Whitehead no chance. The ball flew against the base of the crossbar and into the back of the net. 2-2. With the home side level they then threatened to take the lead for the first time in the match as they enjoyed most of the play. With Whithead seemingly held back, Viveash cleared the ball off the line to keep the scores level with 15 minutes left to play.

With just less than ten minutes to go Kevin Hulme was sent off for York after a disgusting challenge on Viveash. Viveash stayed down quite a long time with an ankle injury, but thankfully it doesn't seem too serious. A deserved red card for the York player - but it could have been a chance for Reading to make the extra man count and finish off this game before it went to a replay. However Reading failed to get back into the game and had to settle for a disappointing 2-2 draw.

Full report by Neil Cole:

The longest journey of the season was made just about worthwhile with an entertaining second half of F.A. Cup football. After storming into a two goal lead early in the second half, Reading should really have gone on to secure their place in the draw for the third round. However, a great comeback from the 3rd division side saw them score two superb goals and earn a replay date at Madejski Stadium a week on Tuesday.

Captain Darren Caskey was left out of the side for the second week running, with Sammy Igoe continuing on the right of midfield. It appears Alan Pardew has decided Caskey should be played in the centre of midfield, but with Jones and Parkinson the preferred partnership in the middle, he is unable to win his place back in the starting eleven. The only change from the side that comfortably beat Cambridge 3-0 was at right back, where Ricky Newman returned from suspension at the expense of Andy Gurney. Although Gurney had a great game last week, it is hard to argue against the inclusion of Newman, who is one of the players of the season so far.

Around 200 Reading fans made the long trip to Yorkshire, as part of a very low crowd of under 3000. This is another indication that the F.A. Cup is starting to lose its appeal, with such low turnouts for both Cup games so far this season. The ground was very quiet, especially in the first half which rates as one of the worst halves of football seen this season. The York keeper was forced into a couple of saves, notably from an Adi Viveash header. However, in an unattractive half of football, there were few real chances.

The second half was a welcome contrast to the first, with both sides putting some entertaining moves together and causing real problems for both defences. Reading got off to a flier after the break, and the difference in class became apparent as the Royals moved into a two goal lead.

Just three minutes after the re-start, Reading won a free-kick in typically Caskey territory outside the box. With Caskey still on the bench though, responsibility fell to Ricky Newman, who fired the free kick into the top corner of the net. The kick was inch perfect, and again shows that there is life after Caskey. The Royals captain has taken numerous free-kicks this season, yet has failed to score. Since he has been dropped, we’ve had two and scored them both. Last week Gurney showed his power with his effort against Cambridge, today Newman showed he has one of the most accurate shots in the Reading side.

Reading looked full of confidence, and doubled their lead with a superb move four minutes later. Parkinson laid the ball off to the overlapping Matt Robinson on the left, whose gentle cross was turned home from short range by Martin Butler. It was the fourteenth goal of the season for Butler, and should have been enough to wrap up the win for Reading.

However, York bounced back, and stunned Reading with a goal shortly after Butler’s effort. Again, it was a well worked move, as the Division 3 side showed they were no pushover. A series of quick passes resulted in the ball being fired in from the edge of the area. There had been three goals in just eleven minutes of the second half, as the game at last turned into an exciting cup tie.

The goal dented Reading’s confidence, and they failed to get back into the rhythm which had seen them score twice earlier. It wasn’t long before York got a deserved equaliser, and the goal of the game was scored by former Reading target Alex Mathie. The ex-Ipswich player picked the ball up around thirty yards out, and his powerful and accurate shot gave Phil Whitehead no chance. It was a spirited comeback from City, and for a while they threatened a winner. It never came though, and for the last fifteen minutes it looked as though both sides had settled for a draw.

York were reduced to ten men near the end of the game, as Kevin Hulme received a second booking following a clash with Adi Viveash. The York fans accused Viveash of over-acting to get Hulme dismissed, but from where we were standing the booking looked warranted.

It was disappointing to come away from the match with only a draw to show, but Reading should be strong enough to overcome York in the replay. City will be encouraged by the fact that we lost at home to Leyton Orient earlier in the season, but that now seems like a long time ago and Reading have improved dramatically since then.

Post Match Opinions

Twenty years ago Reading were much like York. A small town team in a humble stadium, permanently in the lower divisions and with no ambition but a good bank balance. Things have moved on for Reading but for 90 minutes on Saturday it was as if Mark McGhee and John Madjeski never happened. This was a time-warp of a match; a good old fashioned cup-tie in many respects. Bootham Crescent could’ve been Elm Park and, to be honest, and the gap between the sides was no bigger than it would have been had they been drawn together in a cup competition for the first time in 1980 rather than 2000.
If anything York deserved victory marginally more than Reading and, had the home side converted their chance in the first half, they would already be contemplating the trip to Leicester. Two clinical strikes from Reading and the period afterwards when they controlled the match for the first time showed their superior pedigree but York demonstrated great northern grit by levelling the contest by the close. Had York lost then “money bags” Reading would’ve become the least welcome visitors and most pillaging visitors to the city since the Vikings.
Reading’s poor performance apart, it was an entertaining match with upper hand regularly changing from one side to another. There were many chances and plenty of blood and thunder challenges, not unlike that which resulted in the sending off of York’s Hulme just before the end. But the highlight? That came six hours after the final whistle. I have made my debut on Match of the Day. The away crowd was so sparse I was clearly visible just behind the goal in my cagoule and beige jeans. A freeze-frame to covet. You never know: next time I see Reading play I may touch the ball for the first time. I can but dream.

-- Paul, Reading exile living in York

This was just one of those days. Our train was cancelled out of Kings Cross, the one we did catch took 4 and a half hours to get to York. So we arrived in York at 2.30pm! When we got to the ground I thought all would be forgiven and our patience and determination would be rewarded with the mighty Royals thumping some lower league opposition,Oh dear! The pitch was dreadful, you could see when the ball hit the turf it bounced like a bag of cement. The first half was as forgettable as the tepid cardboard and wallpaper paste object they were passing off for chicken pies. Second half we came out as if we wanted to win, with an excellent freekick from Newman and a typical Butler goal. I was ready to go at this point, but Reading had different ideas. We got lazy and started strolling, and were rightly punished as they pulled 2 goals back. I thought a draw was probably fair.
Then we just had to endure another 4 hours for the journey back to London.

-- Russ, Essex Royal.

I just want to make three observations:
1) Why did we spend the first half hoofing long balls, when passing it around would have put our authority on the game?
2) Whilst I think Robinson and Butler should get the 'men of the match' award for the Royals, I have to admit that Jones had his best game of all that I have seen him play for the Royals.
3) What a cracking goal by York City's Mathie!

-- Phil Nixon, a 'Northern Royal'.

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