|HALIFAX TOWN 0 READING 1||Attendance: 2,146|
|Scorers: Caskey||Date: 30 November 1999|
|Team: Howie, Murty, Bernal, Primus, Polston, Gurney, Parkinson, Caskey, Evers (Smith), McIntyre, Forster (Williams).|
By Classic Gold:
|Match Hero: Primus|
Reading's recent luck continued at the Shay last night to see Reading through to round three. We got lucky in the first tie against Halifax with a Caskey penalty, we got lucky last Saturday to grab a late point against Scunthorpe, and we were lucky again last night to go through by the single goal after tucking away a penalty that never was. What would be like without a small amount of luck? Out of the FA Cup and well within the relegation positions in Division Two. A victory is a victory, so this counts as a good result, but it could have easily have gone either way. In the end it took a last minute penalty save from Howie, the unlikely hero, to send the Royals through. So certainly not a corner turned, but progress in the FA Cup when it looked like we were out after only drawing 1-1 against Halifax a couple of weeks ago. The game was never a footballing spectacle, played in driving rain and near gale force winds so it was always going to be decided by a single goal.
Reading welcomed back Linvoy "the wall" Primus into the centre of defence with Hunter out of the starting line-up - and it clearly made a difference. With Lisbie unable to play for Reading in the FA Cup we had McIntyre and Forster (who was expected to miss the game through injury) up front. At half time Forster was replaced by Martin Williams - who caused enough problems up front to win a penalty and could have created more. In goal Reading saw the return of Scott Howie, out to make amends, in place of the injured Whitehead. Howie didn't have an amazing game but at the final whistle was the hero of the moment - something that might perhaps build a bit of confidence.
The first half wasn't up to much with neither team really taking an advantage and very few chances being created. Evers had a shot that sailed well over the bar and Halifax had a shot directly at Howie. And that was your lot. Up front Reading looked very weak with McIntyre and Forster not working together, not making chances, and never looking like scoring.
The second half looked to be going down a similar path until Reading won a controversial penalty twenty minutes into the half. Williams broke into the area, fell over with very little contact. With the Halifax team and supporters protesting their defender picked up a yellow card for the "foul" and up stepped Darren Caskey. It was a Caskey penalty that in moments was deep inside the Halifax net. 1-0 to the Royals.
With Reading a goal up and Halifax wondering how it had happened Reading started to look the better side. Halifax heads dropped and Reading looked likely to score a second. Williams broke through the defence and shot narrowly wide, and moments later he threaded the ball through to Grant (who had come on for the unimpressive Evers in midfield) who was unable to make it count.
As the game drew to a close it was the usual from Reading giving Halifax far too much of the ball - giving it away and allowing them to come forward looking for the late equaliser. And it looked like the home side would get it when, in the last minute, Polston pulled back his man inside the Reading box. Polston was shown the red card and it looked like Reading had thrown it all away again. Then Howie's moment of glory - diving to push the penalty away to safety. It was then hacked clear for the corner as Reading hung on.
And so it was Reading that made it three to Round Three - but it could have been either team. Reading scored their penalty, and Halifax didn't - and that was the difference. Add to that the fact that ours shouldn't have been a penalty and we were lucky - very lucky.
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