A look back at the Royals' history in the FA Cup quarter-finalsOn Friday, Brian McDermott’s men face an FA Cup quarter-final match for the second time in as many years, with Crystal Palace the visitors at Madejski Stadium.
Looking back through the history books, a Reading side has battled its way to the same stage of the competition on just five preview occasions from 129 attempts.
Ahead of our FA Cup quarter-final fixture with Alan Pardew’s Palace on Friday, we turn the clocks back to take a look at those past five quarter-final matches…
Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 Reading
27th March 1901
Having seen a draw played out at Elm Park in the first match against their old Southern League rivals, a replay was set-up to settle the score between Reading and Spurs, to see which of the two clubs would progress into the semi-final of the FA Cup and face West Bromwich Albion at Villa Park. Having held their own at home, the gulf between the two sides became too much, and Spurs’ talent shone through in the replay as the White Hart Lane side secured their place in the semi-finals with a 3-0 win over the Biscuit Boys.
Tom smith crossed for David Copeland to score Spurs’ first, then Sandy Brown opened his account with the second just before half time, putting the Lilywhites to within touching distance of the next round. Brown then scored his second of the match to give Spurs a 3-0 lead, and come the full-time whistle it was Reading’s opponents who progressed further in the competition, and subsequently went on to win in the final, becoming the only non-league club to do so since the formation of the Football League in 1888.
Swansea Town 1-3 Reading
5th March 1927
After defeating Brentford 1-0 in the FA Cup fifth round, a Reading side managed by Angus Wylie travelled to South Wales, bringing 250 fans behind them to Swansea (when it was still a Town), as they faced a Swans side which stood in their way from a first FA Cup semi-final in the club’s history. Many more would have made the journey if it weren't for the steep stand prices, so countless fans resided at Elm Park where live score updates were phoned through during a reserve match.
The game was played out on a rather muddy pitch and it was Swansea who opened the scoring first, but a Reading side roared on by the occasion levelled five minutes later through William Johnstone. From the moment of the equaliser there was only ever going to be one winner, and Johnstone bagged a brace and Murdoch McDonald also got his name on the scoresheet as the Biscuit Boys ended the game 3-1 victors, securing a place in the FA Cup semi-final against Cardiff at Molineux.
Reading 2-4 Aston Villa
7th March 2010
We’ve all heard the saying, ‘it was a game of two halves’. Well in this case, that couldn’t have been more true. After beating West Brom in extra-time in a replay at The Hawthorns, Brian McDermott’s men faced yet more Premier League opponents, as Aston Villa were the opposing team at Madejski Stadium in the quarter-final.
After Shane Long’s header was turned goalbound with 27 minutes gone on the clock, many a Royal would have deemed that a perfect start. It was made even more so when the Republic of Ireland international bagged his second of the game three minutes before half-time, turning home on the back of Jimmy Kebe’s cut back from the right. It was the second-half that would go on to haunt Reading as a goal from Ashley Young, and a John Carew hat-trick sealed victory for Martin O’Neill’s Villa, and sent a deflated Reading side crashing out of that year's FA Cup.
Man City 1-0 Reading
13th March 2011
A second quarter-final for Brian McDermott’s side in as many years, Reading faced an away trip to the Etihad, spurred on by the fact that they had already beaten Premier League opposition in Everton at Goodison Park the previous round.
City looked dangerous in attack, and Academy graduate stopper Alex McCarthy had to make a rally of saves early on to deny Manchester City a foothold in the game. The second-half proved a much sterner test, and Jay Tabb had to be alert on the line to clear Vincent Kompany’s near post header from turning into a certain goal. The Royals did have their chances through Long and Hunt, but a City side fielding the likes of Carlos Tevez, Yaya Toure and David Silva did eventually break the deadlock – defender Micah Richards turning home a bullet header from a left sided corner, ensuring Roberto Mancini’s men a spot in the semi-finals of the competition, and ultimately the trophy itself with victory over Stoke in the final at Wembley.
Reading 3-0 Bradford
16th March 2015
Having battled it out in a goalless draw on an extremely muddy pitch up north at Valley Parade, Bradford made the trip down south to Madejski Stadium where a replay would settle who would face Arsenal in the semi-final of the FA Cup on the hallowed turf of Wembley.
In front of a 22,908-strong crowd, the Royals opened the scoring first in the sixth minute when Hal Robson-Kanu turned Garath McCleary’s left sided corner home at the near post, the perfect start to ensuring it was the Royals who would make the trip to London on April 18th. Three minutes later, the provider turned goalscorer when McCleary cut inside from the right to see his ambitious effort deflect off the knee of Halliday and loop into the back of the net. Bradford had a man sent-off shorty after half-time, and the score was subsequently made 3-0 when Jamie Mackie thundered his shot past Ben Williams to put the icing on the cake and take the Royals to Wembley to face Arsenal in the club’s first FA Cup semi-final since Cardiff City way back in 1927.