FA Cup Round 3 Replay
Approx: 200 away
Scorers: - Date: 21 December 1999
Team: Howie, Casper, Primus, Polston, Murty, Smith (sent off), Parkinson, Caskey, Gurney, Scott (Brayson), Williams.
Audio: Nope.
Match Hero: Primus

Reading's recent miserable form continued as they dropped out of the FA Cup in the third round replay tonight at Third Division Plymouth Argyle. However, perhaps the Royals got as close as they could to going through after the first half departure of Smith for his second bookable offence. It was the same old story though as Reading clung onto 0-0 until two minutes before the end when the home side eventually got the inevitable winner from close range. With us being out of the two cups that matter, we're left only with a battle against relegation to look forward to for the rest of the season as the potential money spinning FA Cup run end before it really got started. Although Reading may have displayed some battling qualities during the second half, and will consider themselves unlucky to have let in the late goal to get booted out of the cup, Plymouth were always more likely to win it.

Parkinson and Polston were both back for the Royals after their recent suspension, and the team had a more usual look about it with Primus and Polston in the middle of defence, and Parkinson, Smith and Caskey in midfield. With Scott recovered from injury he started alongside Williams with Brayson left again in wait on the Reading bench. Reading had a reasonable opening first half hour despite never really looking like scoring. But it all went wrong before the first half had ended. Smith picked up two yellow cards in the space of two minutes - with just five minutes of the half remaining. The second was more than stupid. After flying in with a late challenge he legged it after the bloke and shoved him to the ground. The referee had no choice.

Reading clung on to the end of the half despite a couple of Plymouth attacks, and the home side winning a couple of corners. Plymouth had had the best, and only real attempt, of the first half. Having broken down the left they cut inside Polston and shot, Howie blocked it, and as it came out the header was narrowly high and wide. The second half, with Reading down to ten men away from home was going to be a struggle. Plymouth were sure to come at Reading and make their advantage count - thankfully we had Primus in the middle to win everything pumped forward and so delay the inevitable.

Reading might have actually snatched it after Scott hit the bar in the second half but Scott looked knackered and we rarely looked like putting one in. With ten men it was a case of trying to keep Plymouth out - going forward only gave the home side the greater chance to grab one on the break. Brayson came on for Scott with about ten minutes to go and didn't get a chance to create anything. Instead, with two minutes on the clock, it was Plymouth who grabbed the winner after creating a couple of decent chances to take the lead. They won a free-kick just outside the Reading box. The free-kick wasn't properly cleared and was driven home from six yards out. Plymouth 1 Reading 0, and it was all over.

On paper it's another unacceptable result. A defeat when we thought we should win it before kick-off. And a defeat against a lower division side. To make matters worse we should have won this game at home without taking it to a replay. Still not good enough. However it was hardly a suprise result given recent events. Plymouth were the better side on the night. The rest of the season is not going to be pretty.

Post Match Opinions

We are without doubt in need of a striker in the bill of Brett Angell but until then Pards has to do with what he has been left. Fot those slating the starting 11 , Evers (flu) Hunter and Bernal injured the team virtually picked itself. Now the one major critisism this season has been the pride and passion , for 92 minutes last night i saw both of them in abundance , From Howie to Scott and Gurney across to Smith for a little while we played with the sort of passion and pride that has been missing for ages. Yes we didn't score but we didn't once give in to the cause and i was absolutely gutted for each and everyone of those players when they scored in the 88th minute. Now if we have that Pride and Passion at the Mad then no-one will ne moaning about the lack of it. Williams summed it all up when he stood there 5 minutes after the final whistle and looked to the heavens with his hand on his hips , lady luck has deserted us at the moment but the Pride was there. Man of the Match : The whole damn team except Smith.
-- Tredder

I didn't go - not many did but I listened on the radio and then the saddest thing was this morning when the national press were reporting last nights games. The Reading result was reported as though it was not a surprise that 3rd division Plymouth had beaten us. I am all for giving Pardew a fair chance although, based on performance so far, I doubt he has what it takes to get us promoted but its a bloody long way up from division 3 and I suggest that the answer to the falling attendances and poor run of results is a man called Terry Venables. If the Chairman is reading this, give him a call. He is, I have it on good authority, quite possibly interested in saving us and we do need a Messiah just now.
-- Paul Cleveland

We really are in deep, deep trouble aren't we.
-- Warwick

The midfield showed again just how weak they really are. Time and again they were hussled out of it when it really mattered by an average lower league side. We went for the draw , looking for the break away goal but a lack of discipline let us down . What was Smith thinking of? Passion we want, stupidity, no thanks. It has to be said we are lacking in, leadership, ability and inspiration. The only time we had them rattled we lacked the firepower to score. What next ? .... Cardiff away thats what and the lads need us all like at no other time. So get up the Mad Stad and get your tickets.
-- Paul Johnstone

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