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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
14:04 7th March 2015

Brave battling Royals earn replay!


  • Pogrebnyak denied by the post
  • Inswinging cross glances off Royals upright
  • Hanson and Davies come close for hosts
  • Madejski Stadium will host a replay
The Royals fought their way to a Madejski Stadium replay, earning a 0-0 draw in the cauldron of Valley Parade to ensure their place in the draw for the semi-finals of the FA Cup for the first time since 1927.

In a real scrap, Pavel Pogrebnyak was denied by the woodwork after good work from Mackie, but Bradford also found the woodwork with a drifting cross that glanced off the far post before the break.

The home side came close with a Peter Hanson flick and Andrew Davies' header in the second half, but a goalmouth scramble almost saw the Royals find the breakthrough as the battle only intensified.

And Reading soaked up the late pressure from the Bantams to restrict Adam Federici's afternoon's work considerably and 4,306 travelling fans were delighted to see their side stand up and be counted in earning a replay back at Madejski Stadium.



Bradford: Williams, Darby, McArdle, Davies, Meredith, Liddle, Morais (Halliday 76), Knott (Yeates 83), Clarke (Zoko 83), Hanson, Stead.
Substitutes: Pickford, Sheehan, MacKenzie, Routis.
Yellow: McArdle

Reading: Federici, Kelly, Obita, Pearce (c), Hector, Chalobah (Akpan 83), Williams, Norwood, Robson-Kanu (McCleary 66), Mackie (Yakubu 79), Pogrebnyak.
Substitutes: Andersen, Gunter, Cooper, Cox.


Att: 24,321 (4,336 away)



First Half

In an incredible atmosphere, the Royals kicked the game off and won an early free kick when Jamie Mackie was scythed down on the right side. Norwood's delivery was headed clear by a Bantams head with ease.

Robson-Kanu nodded down for Mackie inside the Bradford box but the midfielder was tackled before he could make any inroads. Then Stead tried a backheel in the Royals area only for Federici to easily mop up the loose ball.

James Hanson headed a good cross from the left towards the target but it bounced harmlessly into the arms of Federici. Norwood almost lofted the ball over the back line for Robson-Kanu to run onto, but a stretched header saw off the danger for the hosts.

Midway through the half, Williams played a nice one two with Kelly on the right and turned inside, beating two men but his cross from the byline was plucked from the air by Ben Williams at his near post.

On the half hour, Reading hit the woodwork. Suprb work from Mackie out on the right saw him pull the ball back to the feet of Pogrebnyak who controlled it and powered a low shot towards goal, past Williams and flush against the base of the left post.

Mackie then whipped a cross into the box from the right but Williams got to the ball before Pogrebnyak and the Bradford keeper clung on to the ball.

A crunching tackle between Obita and Stephen Darby epitomised the battling scrap that the first 35 minutes had been.

And Bradford nearly broke the deadlock when a dangerous cross from the left swung in, evaded everyone but drifted past Federici and against the far post. Both teams had been saved by the woodwork.

Williams tried his luck from 35 yards but his effort sailed over, while Hector did well to clear from the feet of Stead on the edge of the six yard box.

Two minutes of injury time elapsed and the two teams headed down the tunnel with the game goalless.

Second half

Bradford caused panic in the Royals box within a minute of the restart when Hanson crossed from the left and Morais arrived late at the far post only for Obita and Federici to combine in blocking and clearing the ball.

At the other end, a couple of corners preceded a long Kelly throw that was cleared out to Chalobah, but the midfielder's left-footed effort bobbled harmlessly wide of the bottom right corner.

Bradford piled on some early pressure with early corners and a free kick that was conceded by Chalobah but also bravely headed clear at the near post. Pearce then blocked a low Stead strike that looked like it might trouble Federici.

The Bantams continued to dominate the early stages of the second half. Clarke saw a shot charged down by Pearce, then Knott's low cross was cut out by the Royals skipper on the edge of the six yard box.

And with little more than an hour played, Stead bundled his way onto a long ball forward, got past both centre-backs only for Kelly to step in and stab the ball behind for a corner before Stead could get a shot away.

The tie was on a knife edge. Steve Clarke introduced Garath McCleary for Robson-Kanu and he was in the middle when Chalobah's cross swung dangerously into the box. The ball was headed high up into the air and Williams could claim it.

Bradford came within a whisker of scoring the opening goal with 18 minutes left on the clock. Stead raced onto a long ball down the right and cut a low cross into the near post where Hanson flicked it inches wide with an outstretched leg.

And they weren't much further away moments later when a free kick was swept into the Royals box and Andrew Davies headed just over the crossbar.

Yakubu entered the fray with 11 minutes left on the clock and then Akpan came off the bench to replace the injured Chalobah, while Phil Parkinson made two changes of his own, bringing on Zoko and Yeates.

An almighty scramble in the Bradford box almost saw Reading find a way through, Norwood's inswinging free kick was eventually scrapped clear of a crowded box after a number of blocked efforts stabbed towards the goal.

Four minutes of injury time began but a long delay interrupted the drama as Alex Pearce received lengthy treatment for a bloodied head after yet another aerial challenge.

Reading had to play a few minutes with ten men while Pearce continued to be treated on the sidelines, but McCleary nearly caught Bradford on the break only be tugged back by Davies and then penalised for a foul.

The final whistle sounded and Reading will have a place in the draw for the semi-finals of the FA Cup on Monday night - for the first time since 1927. A replay at Madejski Stadium will decide who makes it to Wembley.