Reading brush aside Bradford City to reach semi-finals

Monday 16 Mar 2015
Reading celebrate their second goal against Bradford City
Reading booked their place in The FA Cup Semi-Final for the first time since 1927, courtesy of a comprehensive 3-0 win over Bradford City.

Steve Clarke's side will head to Wembley to face Arsenal next month, after two quick-fire goals from Hal Robson-Kanu and Garath McCleary set them on their way and brought Bradford’s fantastic Cup run to a painful end.

Reading 3-0 Bradford City

The FA Cup
Sixth Round Replay
Madejski Stadium
Monday 16 March 2015

A third goal after the break from Jamie Mackie put extra gloss on the scoreline, as the Bantams' unforgettable adventure came to a halt.

Phil Parkinson’s side have hit the headlines this season for all the right reasons, knocking out higher-ranked opponents on three occasions.

Millwall were despatched after a replay in the Third Round, and who could forget Premier League leaders Chelsea being dumped out at Stamford Bridge after a remarkable performance saw Bradford win 4-2?

Sunderland were the next to fall at Valley Parade in the Fifth Round, but on the day Black Cats boss Gus Poyet was fired by the north-east club, his previous conquerors were also left reflecting on what could have been.

Hal Robson-Kanu puts Reading ahead

Backed by an impressive and vocal following from West Yorkshire, the Bantams were simply caught out on this occasion by a team who paid them the respect they deserved.

Reading’s high-tempo start caught Bradford cold twice in the first ten minutes, with the visitors barely having had time to take in their surroundings before they were behind.

Mackie was the first to force City onto the back-foot with a direct sprint down the left to win a corner. 

The ball was swung over by McCleary, with Robson-Kanu losing his marker for just long enough to find the space and glance a header past Ben Williams.

Reading did not allow the pace of the game to recede and three minutes later they doubled their advantage to leave City stunned. 

Garath McCleary celebrates his stunning strike

Garath McCleary celebrates his deflected strike

This time, it came from the right as McCleary teased James Meredith before cutting inside onto his left foot. His shot took a deflection off Rory McArdle before looping up and over the helpless Williams to help erupt a sold-out Madejski Stadium.

City were finally allowed a chance to find their feet in the game, with the presence of James Hanson and Jon Stead always causing Reading a cause for concern in their own area.

But with creative players Filipe Morais and Billy Knott well-stifled by their hosts, a more direct approach had to be employed, which was dealt with just as effectively by Clarke’s team.

Reading could even have gone in with a third at half time, as McCleary almost repeated his first goal, this time beating Andy Halliday with the same trick before firing well over the bar.

Bradford did show signs of their threat seconds before the break, when Federici had to make a smart, low save to stop Knott’s angled shot after he had been cleverly picked out by Halliday and Hanson had earlier forced the Australian into a similar stop. 

Pavel Pogrebnyak and Gary Liddle

Pavel Pogrebnyak and Gary Liddle

Having fought back from the same half-time deficit in their famous win at Chelsea, there was still hope among the visiting ranks as they came back out for the restart.

And their approach remained similar to that of the first half, by making Reading battle for every ball and no doubt end the game nursing a few bumps and bruises.

But Bradford’s challenge was made even harder just after the hour-mark, when Morais was shown a straight red card following a high challenge on Nathaniel Chalobah.

On-loan Chelsea star Chalobah soon had his revenge in the best way possible, by dusting himself down after some lengthy treatment and slipping a pass into Mackie at the other end. 

Reading forward Jamie Mackie celebrates his side's third goal

The tireless striker made no mistake and blasted low and hard past Williams to seal Reading’s trip to Wembley.

It was a cruel way for Bradford’s own FA Cup adventure to come to an end, but in the process, creates a new one for Championship club Reading who will now be looking to add to their own Cup history.

Reading (4-4-2): 1 Adam Federici; 2 Chris Gunter, 5 Alex Pearce (c), 15 Michael Hector, 3 11 Jordan Obita; 12 Garath McCleary, 14 Nathaniel Chalobah, 23 Danny Williams, 9 Hal Robson-Kanu; 19 Jamie Mackie, 7 Pavel Pogrebnyak.

Substitutes: 22 Nick Blackman for Robson-Kanu 82, 6 Oliver Norwood for McCleary 86, 20 Yakubu for Pogrebnyak 89.

Subs not used: 31 Mikkel Anderson, 35 Jake Cooper, 21 Jem Karacan, 10 Simon Cox.

Goals: Robson-Kanu 6, McCleary 9, Mackie 69. 

Cautions: Williams 30.

Bradford City (4-4-2): 12 Ben Williams; 2 Stephen Darby (c), 23 Rory McArdle, 6 Alan Sheehan, 3 James Meredith; 20 Filipe Morais, 8 Gary Liddle, 25 Andy Halliday, 11 Billy Knott; 9 James Hanson, 16 Jon Stead. 

Substitutes: 10 Billy Clarke for Stead 59, 14 Mark Yeates for Halliday 59. 

Subs not used: 22 Matt Urwin, 4 Matthew Dolan, 13 Francois Zoko, 15 Gary MacKenzie, 18 Christopher Routis.

Cautions: Knott 29, Sheehan 32, Meredith 53.

Red card: Filipe Morais 63

Referee: Michael Jones

Attendance: 22,908.

Watch the highlights from the Sixth Round replay at the Madejski Stadium


By Nicholas Veevers Content Manager - FA Owned Channels At Madejski Stadium