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Fifth round’s the charm…

19 February 2016

Royals' past victories in the Fifth Round

In its 145 year history, Reading Football Club has mastered its way into the last eight of the FA Cup on just five occasions. However, our hooped outfit has only achieved victory in four FA Cup fifth round ties to date…

… the very first progression into the latter stages of the competitions came during the 1900/01 season, where a Reading side managed by Thomas Sefton progressed to what was then called the second round, with the winners of that stage progressing straight through to the quarter-finals.

As such, Reading have only won a ‘fifth round’ tie four times, and current Royals manager Brian McDermott has been at the helm for two of those momentous occasions. Ahead of our clash with West Brom tomorrow, we reminisce over those four fifth round victories…

Reading 1-0 Brentford, FA Cup fifth round, 19th February 1927

On the back of winning the Third Division South title the previous season, Reading manager Andrew Wylie was tasked with cementing Division Two football for the Biscuit Boys, and as an added bonus, the Scotsman lead his team to achieve a spot in the last eight of the FA Cup competition.

Coming up against a Brentford side at Elm Park in the fifth round, a single goal from forward Frank Richardson in the 35th minute was his ninth of the competition, and enough to seal victory in front of a 33,402 capacity crowd. The game would have finished 2-0, if it weren’t for a blatant handball on the goal line by Donnelly, not spotted by the stand-in referee. Having beaten the likes of Weymouth, Southend, Portsmouth, and Manchester United (after a second replay at Villa Park), Reading were on their way to a semi-final clash with Cardiff City, the club's first ever in its history.   

West Brom 2-3 Reading, FA Cup fifth round, 24th February 2010

After a 2-2 draw in the previous meeting at Madejski Stadium, this fifth round tie had to be settled with a replay back at the Hawthorns, the home of tomorrow’s opponents one West Bromwich Albion.

A late goal from Baggies’ Joe Mattock was enough to earn the replay, and it was Reading's opponents who opened proceeding when Robert Koren found the net six minutes into the match. Jimmy Kebe was on hand to slot home three minutes later off a save from Scott Carson, turning home from six yards to make the tie all square going into half time. Again it was Koren who was on target for the Baggies after the break – he fired past Federici from 18 yards wide right to give the hosts back the lead for the second time in the match. All was not lost however, as a 90th minute strike from Brian Howard found the top corner, but it was bettered when Gylfi Sigurdsson unleashed an effort that sailed into the top right to give Brian McDermott’s men victory after extra-time in this fiery encounter. 

Everton 0-1 Reading, FA Cup Fifth Round, 1st March 2011

David Moyes’ Everton welcomed Reading to Goodison Park, and Brian McDermott’s Reading were looking to make their way to a second FA Cup quarter-final stage in as many years.

Everton came close to opening the scoring when Seamus Coleman’s downward header at the far post looped over Alex McCarthy and onto the roof of the net. Then with 26 minutes on the clock, Royals captain Mathew Mills broke the deadlock – after Ian Harte’s in swinging corner, the ball broke to Mills in the area who smashed home through a crowd of bodies into the back of the net, giving Brian McDermott visions of yet another FA Cup quarter-final clash in the near future. The Toffee’s continued to apply pressure on the Reading back four, and would have found their breakthrough if it weren’t for some crucial saves from Royals’ Academy graduate Alex McCarthy. Both keepers had to work hard to keep their team in the tie, but come the full time whistle the damage had already been done at Goodison, as Mills’ goal secured Reading’s progression into the next round of the cup. 

Derby 1-2 Reading, FA Cup fifth round, 14th February 2015

Despite struggles in the league, Reading were leaping and bounding in the FA Cup, and Derby were all that stood in their way between them and a spot in the quarter-finals of the oldest knock-out competition in the world.

Adam Federici had to dive low to his left to stop Craig Bryson from opening the scoring early on, and the Australian international had to be on his toes again just minutes later when Richard Keogh came within touching distance of converting at the far post. With six minutes to go before half-time Stephen Warnock was given his marching orders for a late challenge on Royals’ Jamie Mackie, a decision that would ultimately come back to haunt Steve McClaren’s side. Robson-Kanu went on to break the deadlock, turning home from Simon Cox’s drag back. Then with eight minutes to go, transfer deadline day signing Yakubu raced clear of the defence to calmly place the ball beyond Kelle Roos to earn Reading a round six fixture with Bradford City, and eventually an historical FA Cup semi-final with Arsenal at Wembley.

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