Attendance: 8,733
Scorers: - Date: 15 February 2000
Team: Howie, Bernal, A.Williams, Hunter, Robinson, Grant (Hodges), Parkinson, Caskey, McIntyre (Scott), Butler, Forster.

Match Hero:


Reading were soundly beaten at Bristol City with two goals from the home side in each half to kill the Wembley dream. Reading saw the return of Adrian Williams in a hooped shirt with his second debut for the club after signing on a month's loan earlier in the day. With Gurney and Primus both out, Andy Bernal joined a four man defence that was set to make a couple of fatal mistakes. City took the lead with ten minutes of the first half remaining when a long clearance by the City keeper found a lone City player to break the off-side trap to run clear into the Reading half. Howie was rounded and the ball slid into the empty net. Five minutes later it was 2-0 when Hunter was easily beaten leaving the chance to shoot inside the box. The Royals made two changes at half time with Hodges and Scott coming off the bench - and almost managed to grab a goal back when the ball was headed back, blocked on the line, and then almost stuck home by Williams. However despite a bit of pressure from Reading it wasn't enough and City made it 3-0 mid-way through the second half when a corner from the left was headed home.

City then grabbed a fourth moments afterwards when they broke into the area, past Robinson, and drove the ball low into the corner of the net to seal the victory - and move on to the Auto Windscreens area final. A disappointing result for Reading after their recent form, but now time to concentrate on moving up the league table continuing with victory at Scunthorpe in front of a huge away following.

Post Match Opinions

Oh dear. Back down to earth with a big bump. Still, it's better to lose in this competition than lose three valuable points, so most of us felt that despite a good pasting by a very mobile City side it was no bad thing, because we were poor. Very poor in the second half.
For the first half hour we looked in control, City struggled to make much impact. Once they scored however, things changed rapidly. Suddenly we'd lost a gear or two. Things weren't really helped by major disruption at the back. Despite Adie being back (looking lean and mean!) and Bernal at right back, defensively we looked as if it was just thrown together. This will improve and it's better to experiment in an AWS game than the important league games.
However, the dunces hat must go to Pards who threw on Scott and Hodges at half time and changed the formation to 4-3-3 from 4-4-2. This was our death knell in no uncertain terms. It gave City so much more space that we played into their hands rather than give us an advantage. Caskey went back into Central Midfield and was swamped. Scott did bugger all up front and Hodges' contribution was non-existant. It was like we had a man sent-off as the ball never really got to the front men quickly enough. However, credit must be given to City who look to have some very useful players. Murray down the right was a handful all night and scored a lovely goal. They were by far the better team on the night. Good luck to them in the final.
Still, it proves we've still got a long way to go, we're by no means the finished article and there is still a definite problem when Caskey plays in the middle of the park, he's just not physical enough to get us out of the mire. Pardew and Mad Dog will have plenty of words to say today, that's for sure.

-- Neill Rees

I was at this match, cold, wet and wondering why I had bothered! Reading lacked any midfield desire. Parky was sliding all over the place, lucky not to get booked, and basically City were faster in all areas, and wanted to win. Worst of all was that Tony Thorpe (who did nothing whilst at Reading on loan) scored two of the goals. First goal City scored was as a result of a long clearance by the City keeper, which completely deceived the Reading defence, and was far too easy. Second goal was a shot that Howie should have saved, at least from where I was sitting it seemed that he could have closed the angle better.
Second half - more of the same. Once it was 3-0, there was no hope.
-- Adrian

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