The 3rd round of the National Cup had been postponed from Monday until Friday due to fog in High Wycombe so the anticipation for the squad had been building all week. After the thrilling but somewhat unexpected victory over Bradfield College the team were full of confidence but being careful not to be complacent going into the big game against an undefeated opposition in John Hampden Grammar School.
In treacherous conditions of rain and wind the game got underway with a fast pace but it would be difficult to play much passing and technical football. Reading knew that this could possibly benefit their direct style of play. With an early corner driven low into the near post by Maxim Wallace, Matt Rawlinson managed to get on the end of it and toe poke the ball into the bottom corner to break the deadlock. This was just the start Reading needed but they were well aware of the onslaught to come.
Reading had to soak up a huge amount of pressure for the remainder of the first half but with superb tackling from the likes of Alex Jenkins, Josh Smith and Oliver Overend at the back marshalled by captain Tom Stasburger, managed to keep the opposition at bay. Communication is a key area that the Reading team are focusing on to improve and the captain was setting the tone.
The defensive midfielders Rowan Smith, Jonny Halbert and George Malone were rotated to make the most of their fitness and avoid bookings due to the ferociousness of their tackling. This added extra protection for the back four would definitely be needed. A combination of Rowan Smith and Oliver Overend somehow managed to clear the ball off the line, Jonny Purcell in goal was again ever reliable when called upon and George Malone had to be taken off to avoid being sent off after receiving a yellow card for a very late challenge. These were all signs of the intense pressure Reading were having to soak up but they were holding firm.
When the opportunity to hit the opposition on the break came Reading took their chance. Josh Valentin, Mark Spruyt and Joe Wilson had the ability to cause problems and looked impressive going forward. Maxim Wallace would again supply the assist but this time from a throw in that Sam Steventon volleyed directly into the net to shock the opposition. The work rate of Elliot Stone was an example to all in defending from the front and this optimised the whole team performance.
Reading managed to hold on to the 2-0 scoreline and progress to the next round in a performance to be proud of.