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Match Reports

Royals remain in the hat after goalless Third Round battle

Stevenage secure a replay at Madejski Stadium with goalless draw

6 January 2018

Apologies, this video is unvailable.

Reading and Stevenage battled out a goalless affair at the Lamex Stadium this afternoon to take this Third Round tie to a replay in RG

  • Jaakkola saves from Kennedy with his legs while Edwards is denied by a reaction save from King in a goalless first half.
  • Kelly and Barrow come close in the second half, as Reading dominated but failed to create clear cut chances.
  • Jaakkola makes flying save to deny Steveange a spectacular volleyed winner.
  • Royals remain in the hat for the Fourth Round as a replay is needed at Madejski Stadium.

Jaap Stam made seven changes to the starting eleven for the Emirates FA Cup clash at Stevenage, startring with Omar Richards, Tiago Ilori, Garath McCleary, George Evans, Liam Kelly, Dave Edwards and Anssi Jaakkola.

It became apparent in the first five minutes that passing the ball on a pitch that was cutting up was going to be difficult and Reading's first half opening came from a long ball from the back from McShane that Mo Barrow failed to bring into his stride and take into the Stevenage box.

At the other end, Ben Kennedy glanced a near post header goalwards but off the contesting head of Ilori and over the crossbar. The resultant corner from the left was also won by a home head and directed just over.

Kelly and Bacuna twice looked like they might open the Stevenage defence up down the right, then Barrow was flagged offside as he looked to race in behind the back line after ten minutes.

It took Anssi Jaakkola to come off his line to collect a dinked ball over the top that Danny Newton was looking to scurry onto. And the Finnish keeper had to be sure a looping header didn't drop under his crossbar on the half hour mark, tipping it behind for another corner.

At the other end Barrow got an opportunity to show his pace when he won the ball back in midfield and darted down the right. But a foul on a backtracking defender off the ball halted the winger in his tracks.

But the home side were up for the battle and Kennedy beat Ilori down the left to force a save from the feet of Jaakkola with eight minutes of the first half remaining.

A couple of bursts of pace from Richards set Reading back on the front foot and, winning a corner, Kelly's inswinger was headed goalwards by Edwards - but somehow Tom King saved from point blank range.

Barrow got away down the right moments later, but his centre was too heavy for McCleary who recycled it back to Evans who tested the keeper's handling with a shot cross that King calmly dealt with. 

McCleary beat his man but arrowed over from range as the first half drew nearer to its goalless conclusion.

Half time | Stevenage 0-0 Reading

Newton arrowed the first shot at goal in the second half wide of the left upright from distance after Van den Berg's pass forward from the back had been charged down.

But at the other end, Barrow scampered inside from the right to angle a reverse pass into the run of Kelly, but a covering Stevenage defender came across to slide in and intercept before Kelly could pull the trigger.

Jaakkola came across to comfortably push an arcing set piece around his left post. And he was forced into more urgent action to fly high to his left to save a wonderful Jack King volley that looked like it was destined for the top right corner on the hour mark.

With a quarter of an hour remaining, Richards raced down the left and provided an early cross into the near post where Kermorgant connected but flicked it high over the crossbar from a difficult angle.

And as the final ten minutes approached, Bacuna's dinked ball over the top almost allowed Barrow a shot on goal, bringing the ball down with his chest but crowded out of a clean shot by a last ditch Stevenage tackle.

Five minutes left to play and a low Barrow cross from the right was only half cleared, but Kelly had to snatch at his shot and could only slice a bouncing ball over the bar.

Barrow and Kelly combined well once more down the right, but Kelly arrowed his right-footed shot wide of the target in the last minute of the ninety at the Lamex Stadium.

McShane's head blocked an injury time Tom Pett strike from 22 yards out and Bacuna slid in to concede a corner and clear the danger of a low cross from the right that was fizzed into the six yard box. And Barrow connected with a ball into the box late on but couldn't direct it towards goal.

And a scrappty tie ended goalless in Stevenage, forcing a replay at Madejski Stadium.

Full time | Stevenage 0-0 Reading

Stevenage: T King, Smith, Martin, J King, Kennedy (Samuel 73), Pett, Newton, Godden, Henry (c), McKee, Wilmot (Franks 88).
Subs: Fryer, Franks, Wilkinson, Whelpdale, Gorman, Gray.
Yellow: Newton, Pett

Reading: Jaakkola, Bacuna (Gunter 90), McShane (c), Ilori, Richards, Van den Berg, Edwards (Swift 80), Kelly, Evans, McCleary (Kermorgant 65), Barrow.
Subs: Mannone, Gunter, Aluko, Clement, Blackett.
Yellow: Richards, Bacuna

Referee: Mr B Toner
Att: 3,877 (1,393 away)

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