Debrief - Vs. Reading

Reading Inflict Saturday Afternoon Headache WithNegative Royal Variety Performance


Picture the scene - 21,000 Bradford City fans, a carnival atmosphere and the possibility of a confirmed Wembley date in the bag by 3pm that very afternoon! What I didn’t expect to see on the 90th minute mark was the sight of a Reading player stood in the middle of the pitch – covered in blood, in his underpants with his nose hanging off his face!

After arriving at the ground just gone 8am on Saturday with a blinding headache and the incredible sense of anticipation from thousands of Bradford City fans – there was a sense it could turn out to be an all or nothing feeling as the normality of the rest of the weekend’s fixtures got underway.


In the weeks building up to this FA Cup Quarter Final, James Mason and Wendy James had done a terrific job with the creation of the “Scarf Parade” idea and it worked an absolute treat, along with the addition of Good Citizens and Mark Heslop performing their songs respectively before the kick-off, it was an atmosphere I don’t think The Coral Windows Stadium has ever witnessed before.

As soon as the clock turned 3pm the late afternoon would’ve begun with a terrific win for City with the progressive headache being masked by copious amounts of booze OR it was just going to be one of those sad, lagging days that leave the pit of your stomach hollow and empty with disappointment.

It was clear what Reading’s game plan was from the first minute, it didn’t need a mastermind to work it out or somebody interesting with a degree in psychology, after just 20 minutes in I was left stroking my chin with intrigue like a suited business man at a James Blake concert.


Reading had nullified everything that was out to hurt them, they played football that if it was a film it would be The Elephant Man – it was so frustrating, my mind was multiplying petty, annoying scenarios around my head, like when people complain about the gym – “The gym is not a job, you don’t have to go” – luckily a pack of ibuprofen and 6 cups of Janet’s tea from downstairs acted like a pillow to cushion the bitterness!

In a game that had one shot on target for the whole game, ittold the story of an incredibly tight match, it was more of a scrap that a game of football at times, the referee Neil Swarbrick never got to grips with the match he was supposed to impose his authority on and the linesman didn’t know their left from their right – it was like they had been to Flares in town the night before.


Jon Steads face at the end of the game mirrored exactly how I felt inside, we should have had a goal in the second half but the clever time management drilled into that Reading side by manager Steve Clarke paid dividends and the wish of a Draw they made before the game was granted with the stubborn, hardworking performance they put in.

There it was, we didn’t lose the game and apart from the odd moment where things got wobbly we never really looked like a team going out of the Cup before a huge replay.

Maybe it genuinely was the crippling headache that ruined the game for me or it could’ve even been the disappointing Saturday afternoon plan that was cancelled at the last moment – when one door closes another 2/3/4 open - that’s just life eh! 

The impending trip to Coventry tomorrow night and Saturday’s day out at Notts County have definitely come at the wrong time, just like Yeovil and Peterborough the in-direct focus will be on the replay at Reading but for me it’s all about the League and gaining a trip to Wembley via the different route.

There are a few things that are certain, Reading have to play a prettier way in over a week’s time, Morais should be back to his better self, I won’t be suffering from a terrible migraineand the game as a whole will be one of a different beast…

Have a lovely week


Match pictures used in this article are taken by Thomas Gadd Photography. 

View the full match gallery HERE