Insight into tonight's gameReading U18s vs Fulham U18s
FA Youth Cup Semi-Final First leg
Tuesday 1st April, 7pm
As per FA regulations there will be a small charge for entry to this fixture. Tickets can be purchased in advance by calling 0844 249 1871, visiting Reading FC Direct or coming to the ticket office in person. Seats can also be purchased on the night for no extra charge. Gates open at 6pm - with turnstiles entry at the East Stand gates 7 and 8.
- Though the game is not being shown live on TV, the Royals are unable to stream the game live on YouTube because of TV rights. The second leg at Craven Cottage on Monday 7th April, 7.45pm, is shown on ITV4.
- As it is the first leg of two, tonight's game will not go to extra time or penalties.
- There is no away goals rule over the course of the semi-finals and the final.
All parking is completely FREE of charge to all supporters.
There will be a special F1 Bus Service from Garrard Street Bus Station, the first journey is 5.45pm from the Bus Station to the Stadium. The last bus will leave the stadium 40 minutes after the final whistle, please note that there will be no extra time or penalties as this is the first of two legs.
The GreenWave bus service will operate prior to the match from Station Road, but not after the match other than from Costco in Green Park.
Check out the Reading Buses Smartphone App – just search MyBusReading.
Haven't we met before?
May 2013 - Fulham 3-0 Reading: A match winning performance from Moussa Dembele secured Fulham the Barclays U18 Premier League title as his hat-trick harshly condemned the Royals Academy to defeat at Craven Cottage.
August 2013 - Fulham 4-3 Reading: Royals under-18s were narrowly defeated by reigning Premier League Academy Champions Fulham in a seven goal thriller at the Cottagers’ Motspur Park Training Ground.
January 2014 - Reading 1-2 Fulham: Germaine Ofori scored for Reading as an inexperienced Royals side were beaten in the last minute thanks to a fortunate late goal at Hogwood Park.
Before you watch the stars of tomorrow, come and meet the stars of today as Adam Le Fondre, Alex Pearce, Hal Robson-Kanu, Jake Taylor and Michael Hector are all set to be in the Megastore on the night.
The players are due to be inside the Royals store between approximately 5.45pm - 6.30pm, so come down for photos and autographs ahead of the 7pm kick off at Madejski Stadium. Click here for more.
How we got there
THIRD ROUND: The Royals kicked off their 2013/14 Cup campaign in superb fashion, as they cruised past a talented Leeds United side to book a fourth round place.
Harry Cardwell gave the Academy the lead after 16 minutes, finishing coolly after a well worked team move involving Sammi Fridjonsson and Liam Kelly. United grabbed an equaliser as the impressive Eoghan Stokes drove to the edge of the box before sending an unstoppable daisy cutter past Lewis Ward. Leeds did come out of the blocks quickly after the interval, but found themselves behind again, as Reading's latest Icelander Fridjonsson unleashed his secret weapon!
The technically gifted midfielder hurled a huge, Rory Delap-esque throw into the centre of the box which the home side couldn't deal with, allowing Fosu top bundle home. Kelly made it three by capitalising on some uncertainty from the Leeds backline, and the Royals never looked likely to relinquish their lead - as Cardwell fired wide, before Fosu also missed out on a brace as his long ranger pummelled the crossbar. 3-1 it finished – and certainly a performance to warm the cockles on a freezing cold Yorkshire evening.
FOURTH ROUND: Reading's youngsters came through a dramatic Fourth Round tie victorious, winning 4-2 on penalties after Crewe came from behind three times during an entertaining encounter at Madejski Stadium.
Nana Owusu scored a stunning opener, but Callum Saunders scrambled home to level just after the hour. Liam Kelly looked to have earned the under-18s a place in the Fifth Round when he hammered home another wonderful effort after great work from Jack Stacey on the right, but in the 89th minute Alexandra took it to extra time when Ward saved from Jones only for it to fall for Saunders who converted from close range.
Stacey put Reading into an extra time lead only a minute into the second 15 minute period, coolly sliding a third into the bottom left corner but Sammi Fridjonsson was shown a straight red card for an off the ball incident with five minutes remaining and Fraser Murdoch headed home in the dying embers of extra time to take the game to penalties.
But Reading didn't miss from the spot, scoring all four of their spotkicks to allow Lewis Ward the match-winning save, pushing Louis Johnson's low strike wide of the right post. The Royals will now host either Accrington Stanley or Bristol City in the next round of the FA Youth Cup after an enthralling night at Madejski Stadium.
FIFTH ROUND: Our under-18s breezed into the quarter-finals of the FA Youth Cup, comprehensively beating Accrington Stanley to set up a mouth-watering last eight tie with Liverpool.
The Royals were dominant from start to finish and Jack Stacey handed the home side a deserved lead on the stroke of half-time when he swept home after a deep Aaron Kuhl cross had caused confusion in the Stanley box.
Nana Owusu doubled the hosts' advantage midway through the second half, drilling a thundering right-footed effort towards the bottom right corner from 25 yards out and goalkeeper Kieran Wolland unable to keep it out.
Harry Cardwell added a third when he glanced Stacey's cross inside the left upright with his chest - and it could have been more. Liam Kelly and Aaron Kuhl struck the crossbar, Cardwell forced a fine first half save from Wolland, Stacey saw a shot cleared off the line and Fosu had a number of penalty appeals waved away.
In front of the watching Nigel Adkins, Andy Crosby, Sal Bibbo and Dean Wilkins, our under-18s were in total command and with that win have equalled the club's best ever run in the FA Youth Cup to date.
QUARTER-FINALS: Reading reached the FA Youth Cup semi-finals for the first time in our history after an absolutely incredible game against Liverpool.
We won 5-4 on spot kicks, but that doesn't tell anything like the full story of an amazing match.
Reading led 2-0 thanks to Harry Cardwell's brace but were pegged back on 88 minutes, and then trailed 4-2 only to score twice in the final three minutes of extra time - left back George McLennan coming off the bench to level at the death.
We then scored all five of our penalties, with another substitute De'Jaune Taylor-Crossdale - who scored our third in extra time - stroking home the decisive spot kick to send our players, staff and supporters wild on a great evening.
It really was an incredible night, with drama, quality, sheers guts and determination, and first and foremost our youngsters are through to the last four for the first time ever - a quite remarkable achievement.
The opposition - Fulham
Under-18s manager: Steve Wigley
was a thorn in the side as the Cottagers defeated Reading in the Premier League final in May 2013, and is enjoying another successful season in front of goal. The Frenchman has earned himself a promotion to the under-21s side, and also made his first start for the senior team on Sunday, as Felix Magath's side were beaten at home to Everton. Moussa Dembele One to watch: Striker
Quarter-Finals: 2-1 vs Huddersfield Town (H)
Fifth Round: 3-1 vs Man City (A)
Fourth Round: 3-2 vs Tottenham (A)
Third Round: 4-1 vs QPR (A)
Fulham's journey to the semi-finals Category One
Manchester United can claim to be the tournament’s most successful club, having lifted the trophy on ten occasions. Names to have graced the final include George Best, John Barnes, Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Frank Lampard, Michael Owen, Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney, and Gareth Bale. The current holders are Norwich City, who defeated Chelsea 4-2 in last year’s two legged final. The Royals thrashed Brentford 5-1 away from home to progress to the fourth round, only to succumb in somewhat unfortunate fashion to a 2-0 home defeat to Bolton at the next stage.