A round-up of our loan players in FA Cup actionWith the advent of the first round proper of the FA Cup last weekend, the competition hasn’t disappointed with its typical bout of upsets and underdog-stories.
We don’t enter the competition until the third round in the new year, but a number of Royals players have already been involved for their loan clubs.
Here is a round-up of how the Royals loanees have fared in the competition so far…
Rob Dickie – Cheltenham Town
The Robins entered in the final qualifying round – and despite Rob Dickie making a goal-line clearance and Cheltenham holding a two-goal advantage going into the final 15 minutes, hosts Havant & Waterlooville pulled back to force a replay with a 3-3 draw. In the replay, three days later, Dickie claimed an assist as his slide-rule pass found goalscorer Danny Wright, and at the other end of the field helped his side to a clean-sheet as they earned passage with a 1-0 win.
In the first round proper, however, Dickie played the full 90 as hosts Hartlepool booked their place in the second round. The only goal of the game came on the stroke of half-time, as a fortuitous Kudus Oyenuga goal saw Pools through at the Robins’ expense.
George Legg – Chesham United
Young goalie George Legg may not have played in the first round for Chesham – but he played a part in getting the club there. After the Generals overcame Aylesbury (after a replay) in the first round qualifying, Legg kept clean sheets for his side in 2-0 wins against both Paulton Rovers and North Leigh in the next two qualifying rounds.
He missed the 2-1 win against Enfield Town in the fourth and final qualifying round through injury – and that also meant missed a first round proper trip to Bristol Rovers. However, all’s well that ends well – he could still appear in the second round against either Aldershot or Bradford, as Chesham caused one of the upsets of the round with a 1-0 win at Memorial Stadium, courtesy of Ryan Blake.
Sean Long – Luton Town
Luton Town will also feature in the second round, and Sean Long could be part of the team that travel to Peterborough in hope of getting the Hatters’ name in the, er, hat for the all-important third round draw when the clubs from the top two tiers enter.
Long, who played 90 minutes for Reading in pre-season away at Crawley Town, also made his debut for the Hatters at Broadhall Way when the Sussex team were 2-1 winners in League 2 a little over a month ago. He found himself back in the visitors’ dressing room there for the third time in just three and a half months at the weekend – and this time it was Luton that were on the right side of a 2-1 scoreline. Long wasn’t quite able to turn away Matt Harrold’s effort for the hosts, but Josh McQuoid netted twice for the Hatters to set up a trip to London Road.
Craig Tanner – Plymouth Argyle
Midfielder Craig Tanner has been enjoying life with the Janners since joining the Devon club on loan – a regular feature of the first team, he has helped the club climb to the summit of League 2, where they hold a five-point lead over nearest rivals Oxford. He also has four goals to his name to date – including two in cup competition. His first goal for the Pilgrims, against Gillingham in the Capital One Cup, eventually proved fruitless as the Kent club turned it round to win 2-1, but a mazy solo run and finish against local rivals Exeter helped the side to a 2-0 triumph in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
However his FA Cup adventure came to an early end with the Pilgrims this year. Carlisle United came away with a place in the second round from a near-800-mile round-trip to Home Park – Tanner played 86 minutes but goals by Antony Sweeney and Hallam Hope saw the Cumbrians to a 2-0 triumph and sent Argyle crashing out.