Ah, the world of make-believe. You know, it can be a great leveller if the delicate balance is interrupted by one side being clearly better than the other. Or should that be supposedly? Ignore the weather, forget the state of the pitch and shake off any potential twinge; the control pad is in hand and Judge FIFA 18 (For it is he. Ed.) is in position to preside over the case of Stevenage versus Reading. So, who will be in the hat for the FA Cup Fourth Round come the end of the first Saturday of 2018? Will it be us, them or both of us pending a second hurrah.
The FIFA 18 Verdict
It will be them, apparently. Not for the want of trying, you understand. On the big scale of Boro’ performances, this was right up there. Taking the game to the Royals, we clocked up 11 shots (six on target) to Reading’s four (two). And we had 51% possession. Any Spurs fan can tell you possession is nine-tenths of the law in football – despite the obvious importance attached to, y’know, goals. Two things went against Boro’, though. First, it was losing Danny Newton and Matt Godden to injury. Second, another helping from the dodgy defending diner.
Stevenage 0-1 Reading (Kermorgant 38)
Fryer; Henry, King, Fraser, Martin; Pett, Smith, McKee (70), Kenners; Newton (Samuel 22), Godden (64)
Day, Wilko, Whelps, Samuel (Newton 22), Gorman, Conlon (70), Gray (64)
• Back in the real world, read our full Stevenage v Reading preview