No points up for grabs and no historic personal milestones; just a chance to travel to either Carlisle or Sheffield Wednesday in the Fourth Round. That’s the bottom line here, folks. The FA Cup isn’t always glamorous, nor is it always romantic. But we’re still in it, and that is more than you can say for holders Arsenal. Into the fiery pits of Berkshire we venture, then, and our first trip to Reading for six years. It has been proven that your standard 90 minutes wasn’t enough to separate us. So, we’ll have (at least) 90 minutes more if you don’t mind.
Speaking exclusively for ourselves to an assorted gaggle of journos, we’d fancy our chances a little more if this replay taking place at the Lamex. And we’re still ever-so-slightly wincing that we didn’t quite do enough to get over the line first time around either. Of course, we could play like dog dirt at the Madejski and blag a scrawny 1-0 win for all we care. It’s not always about how you do it; more that you just, er, do it. With very little at stake in the grand scheme of things, we can’t see any reason why we wouldn’t be able to enjoy this outing.
Reading v Stevenage: The Lowdown
Here’s to you Timmy Robinson; Boro’ could love you more than you will know. Woah-oh-oh… though not with our record as things stand. Tezza Shezza was gaffer last time we had the pleasure of his services in the middle
P6 W1 D2 L3 F8 A8; last result: Dagenham & Redbridge 1-1 Stevenage, 29/08/2015
P3 W1 D1 L1 F2 A2; last result: Stevenage 0-0 Reading, 06/01/2017
You spend six years without exchanging so much as a nod and a wink and an “‘Ow’s the family” between youse, and then suddenly your time is almost exclusively spent in each other’s company. To ignore the cliched London buses analogy, the number of meetings between Reading and ourselves has LITERALLY DOUBLED in 2018. We ended Reading’s 100 per cent winning record at our gaff in the original tie; can we keep our unspoiled record going at their place? Even one-from-one is 100 per cent. It’s just a hugely unreliable indicator of anything.
Well, our away record over the past eight is still comfortably the worst in League Two. A point at Morecambe, however, means we’ve now fared better on the road over the past four than four other teams in our division. Funny how things can change like that. Or can look a whole lot different based on where you choose to draw your line. For Reading, not much has changed since they left the Lamex. A goalless draw at Hull is their latest effort, and that means the Royals are now without a win in their last seven outings.
Reading fans will no doubt tell you things ain’t right. And Boro’ can find some encouragement in their home form too. The Royals have let in at least one goal in a whopping 85% of their matches at the Madejski; it’s two or more in each of their last three home games. As much as Reading like a second half goal (73% scored after the interval), their opposition tend to favour a late goal. Four out of 10 goals conceded by Jaap Stam’s outfit this season have been in the last quarter of an hour. Which, as we now know, is Frasertime.
• BoroGuide’s Reading club profile – you can’t hide; it’s gonna find you and take it slowly…