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Kick off 12:00 (UK)

1-0
09 January 2021 Venue Kenilworth Road Attendance

Kick off 12:00 (UK)

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English FA Cup

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Match Previews

🔜 Ahead of the game | FA Cup campaign begins with Luton test

Our preview of Saturday’s short trip to Kenilworth Road

8 January 2021

The Royals will look to continue their unbeaten start to 2021 as we begin our Emirates FA Cup campaign with a third-round trip to Luton Town this weekend.

It has been a matter of weeks since the sides last met, and Veljko Paunović’s men will look to get the better of the Hatters once more, having beaten them on Boxing Day when Nathan Jones’ side visited the Madejski.

Pauno will be eager to see his side book their place in the fourth round of the competition come Saturday evening, but a tough test lies in store at Kenilworth Road.

How to watch

The fixture at Kenilworth Road has been selected for live broadcasting on BT Sport Extra 6, meaning this is the only place supporters can access a video stream of Saturday’s match.

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However, supporters will also be able to tune in to audio commentary, available during the game via iFollow. The kick-off time has also been moved forward to 12pm.

The opposition

The Hatters have proved a much stronger outfit in their second successive campaign at this level and find themselves sitting 14th in the Sky Bet Championship table, heading into this one.

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Luton’s previous fixture was postponed due to positive Covid-19 tests within the camp, but they come into the game on the back of a 2-1 win over Bristol City which saw them end the year on a high. During December, Jones’s side also pulled off an impressive victory over league leaders, Norwich City.

That said, the hosts have won just two of their previous seven league matches and will be eager to set the record straight against the Royals in their third meeting since September.

One to watch: Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall

The 22-year-old Leicester City loanee has received his fair share of plaudits for his performances during his short time with Luton and capped a successful first half of the season with his first goal for the club during their 2-1 win over Bristol City.

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A left-footed player operating in defensive-midfield, Dewsbury-Hall has registered 15 appearances for Town this season, and recently signed a new four-year deal with Foxes, securing his long-term future at the King Power Stadium.

Pre-match chat

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Head-to-Head

Reading have won four of their last five meetings against Luton, dating back to a 5-1 thumping during a League Cup meeting in 2008.  Of the 55 meetings between the two clubs in all competitions, the Royals have won 26 of those, drawing an additional eight.

Most recently, goals from Tom McIntyre and Alfa Semedo saw Reading edge past the Hatters with a 2-1 win on home soil at the tail end of 2020.

The Royals will hope to continue their impressive record in the FA Cup, and progress into round four as they have done in three of their previous five attempts.

Ref watch

Darren Bond will be the man in the middle for our trip to Bedfordshire, for what will be his fourth Royals match of the season. Bond had previously officiated our opening day win over Derby County, followed by our away trips to both Middlesbrough and Bournemouth.

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In his 15 games to date, Bond has issued 53 yellow cards, and a further two red cards.

Lee Vanamore and Bhupinder Gill will assist Bond on the day, while Declan Bourne will act as the fourth official.

Reminder

A polite reminder to our supporters that no unauthorised access will be permitted to this game, so supporters must not travel to Kenilworth Road.

We can’t wait to see you all again soon – but for now it’s important that when we play, please stay away.

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Match Reports

🏆 Match report | Valiant display ends in cup exit for young Royals

Superb second half performance counts for nothing as young Royals si bow out

9 January 2021

A much-changed Royals side that saw three Academy graduates make their first team debuts at Kenilworth Road ended their Third Round clash with slender defeat and cup exit - but a superb second half display promised so much more as Reading found themselves hugely unfortunate to bow out.

Twice the Royals hit the crossbar and the Luton stopper saved the Hatters side on countless occasions, but an equaliser never came.

The hosts enjoyed the early possession and a good early defensive header from Dorsett and two timely defensive interventions from Pendlebury earned the young players a chance to get into the game.

Ryan Tunnnicliffe was posing a threat to the Reading defence, slicing a first time volley over the crossbar from 15 yards out. And Bristow did well to see off a counter attack led by Nombe down the right.

At the other end a nice move involving Esteves and Auko alolowed Pendlebury to deliver a low cross into the near post but the Luton defender got to it before Baldock to get a toe to the ball.

Bristow then got into some space down the left but his cross was cleared before it could land at Aluko's feet.

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The youngsters were showing glimpses of their talent and Onen won a free kick on the very edge of the penalty area down the left when he was barged over as he looked to deliver a cross into the box. Olise's set piece was headed clear.

A host of Reading bodies raced out to charge down a Moncur effort that was heading goalwards - the ball arriving at the midfielder's feet after Luton had earned the space to carve out a dangerous cross from the right.

But the deadlock was broken when a hopeful up and under cross from the right dropped to the unnoticed Moncur in the box and he placed a volley wide of Luke Southwood's sprawling dive and inside the right post.

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Reading looked to respond and good work from Onen down the left earned Aluko a shooting opportunity. Twisting and turning he pulled the trigger with his right foot but his effort from distance bobbled just wide of the bottom left corner.

Moments later Sluga had to parry a well-struck Pendlebury effort to preserve the home side's lead. And then Aluko wormed his way along the byline only for the ball to just go out of play before he could find a shot or a cut back.

Olise twice looked to take aim as we entered the final couple of minutes of the half, but on both occasions a Luton body arrived to do enough to put him off his balance and prevent Sluga from being tested.

Half-time: Luton Town 1-0 Reading

The visitors came out of the blocks fast, looking for an equaliser and Aluko saw a shot charged down in the opening minutes. Then Pendlebury crossed into a good position from the right only for it to sail between blue and white bodies and to a Luton head which cleared.

Town very nearly added a second though when a deep cross was headed back into the six yard box by Tunnicliffe and Hylton was looking to turn it home from a yard or two out but Southwood smothered it and clutched onto the ball on his goalline.

Moments later, Reading nearly had their leveller - Sluga parried a fierce Semedo strike and it took two last gast tackles from Osho to prevent Baldock from pouncing on the loose ball and testing Sluga himself.

A quick throw nearly unlocked the Luton defence, Bristow feeding Baldock who found Aluko in behind his man. He wriggled to the byline and cut a ball back that was just beyond the boot of Baldock and which Onen could only strike late into the orange-socked leg of a Luton player.

And the woodwork saved the hosts just after the hour. Esteves was found on the overlap down the right and his low ball wasn't cleared, allowing Aluko to pounce. Six yards out he raced to the loose ball and got to it first but smashed the ball against the crossbar when ti seemed a deserved equaliser was on the cards.

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Esteves brilliantly weaved his way forward and skipped through a number of challenges before taking aim and it took a good low save from Sluga to push the ball wide. 

Baldock was next to direct the ball on target, getting his head to Onen's cross but not able to generate the power to trouble the Luton keeper.

Then Olise took aim and Sluga was down well again, tipping the ball wide of the left post with a fingertip save. 

Southwood had been largely a spectator in the second half but he was alert to a Tunnicliffe cross shot that threatened to sneak inside the near post.

Again Reading could gave found their goal when Baldock scampered towards the edge of the box and forced a good low save from Sluga with a low drilled effort. Onen latched onto the rebound but Sluga again parried his stabbed effort.

Two more debutants entered the field for the visitors - Conor Lawless and Mamadi Camara both introduced for the final ten minutes along with Nahum Melvin-Lambert.

Reading had nine of their eleven players, Academy graduates - the other two being 19-year-old Jayden Onen and 18-year-old Tomas Esteves. And they continued to press for a goal that might force extra time.

But the 90 ticked away and four minutes of injury time elapsed - only after Reading had a glorious late chance to level. Tetek found Melvin-Lambert and he dinked a shot over the onrishing Sluga but against the crossbar. Onen followed it in but could only place his right-foored rebound over from 12 yards out.

It was an agonising end to what was a very brave display from a young Royals side. But it finished in our FA Cup exit.

Full-time: Luton Town 1-0 Reading

Luton Town: Sluga, Potts (c), Tunnicliffe, Hylton, Lee (Berry 73), Moncur, Galloway (Norrington-Davies 74), Bree (Clark 59), Nombe (LuaLua 81), Morrell, Osho.
Unused subs: Cornick, Lockyer, Rea, Mpanzu, Isted.
Goals: Moncur 30

Reading: Southwood, Esteves, Bristow, Dorsett, McIntyre, Pendlebury, Semedo (Lawless 78), Olise (Camara 78), Onen, Aluko (Tetek 72), Baldock (c) (Melvin-Lambert 78).
Unused subs: Boyce-Clarke, Samuels, Richards, Holmes.

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