Reading Record Cup Upset

Last updated : 14 August 2003 By Rob Cooper
Nicky Forster
Forster bagged a vital brace
Boston United 1 Reading 3

Forster 15, 87; Sidwell 83

The Royals tore up the cup form book and recorded a dramatic 3-1 over Division Three side Boston United.

Having led for much of the game following Nicky Forster's first half goal, Pardew's side found themselves on level terms mid-way through the second half, thanks to another controversial penalty.

Former Barnsley man Neil Redfearn easily dispatched the kick and another poor cup defeat began to loom. For a while at least, it seemed that the only way Reading could avoid extra time was by losing. But just as the game appeared resigned to a further thirty minutes, Steve Sidwell pounced and netted his second goal of the season, thanks to a large deflection on his twenty-yard drive.

The unlikely result was confirmed three minutes later when Nicky Forster side-footed home his second of the match following some good work from Andy Hughes.

Whilst a match against Third Division opposition should be 'easy meat' for a top Division One side, Reading's cup record in recent years suggested a defeat was always going to be the more likely outcome.

Previous cup defeats to Cambridge (3-1), Walsall (pens), Barnet (4-1), York (2-0 & 3-1), Leyton Orient (3-1) and Swansea (1-0), provided good reason for Royals supporters to fear a cup exit at the hand of the Pilgirms.

Alan Pardew, who is said to be more keen than ever to go on a bit of a cup run this year, fielded a full strength side for tonight's encounter at the York Street Stadium. There was just one change from Saturday's game at Ipswich, utility player Ricky Newman deputising for the injured Graeme Murty.

In what turned out to be a lively and bustling clash, Reading made much of the early running and soon translated their pressing play into a 1-0 lead.

Scott Murray fired two warning shots goalwards inside the first ten minutes, hinting at a drubbing for the Third Division outfit. But the home side also signalled their intent, Marcus Hahnemann had to be alert to foil Stuart Douglas' shot.

But with sixteen minutes on the clock Fozzy fired in the first goal of the match. Picking up on a neat cross from Murray, the livewire centre-forward powered into the box and slammed a low drive past the flabagasted Paul Bastock for his first goal of the season.

Scott Murray twice more attempted to open his Reading account, but wayward finishing from the 29-year-old ensured he will take at least one game more to find the net in Royals colours.

Fellow new-signing Shaun Goater endured another difficult game, failing to make an impact. The Bermudan international, who is still some way short of match fitness, was closely watched by the Boston defence.

Despite dominating the opening period the Royals found themselves on the back foot in the second period as the Pilgrims valiantly attempted to cause a cup upset.

Impressive former Oxford striker Stuart Douglas caused the Reading defence a whole host of problems and nearly got his name on the scoresheet early in the second period but headed just over the bar.

The Royals were lucky not to have a penalty awarded against them when Adie Williams appeared to handball, but survive for ever they could not.

Steven Sidwell brought down Paul Ellender inside the penalty area, and somewhat surprisingly, the referee pointed to the spot. When Neil Redfearn powered home the spot kick it appeared that the wheels were beginning to fall off the Reading cup chariot, again.

Marcus Hahnemann and his back four endured a busy fifteen-minute period as the home side attempted to score a dramatic winner.

Somewhat against the run of play, Sidwell made amends for his earlier disgression firing home a slightly fortuitous goal to put the Royals in front again. The ex-Arsenal man's heavily deflected shot teed Reading up for the win.

Minutes later Nicky Forster wrapped the game up with his second of the night, prodding Andy Hughes' goalbound shot over the line from close range.

The performance was hardly exemplary, but Reading are through to the next round and maybe ready to go on a bit of a cup run for the first time in years. The draw for the second round is due to be made on Saturday evening, at 5.30pm.


Boston: Bastock, Sutch (Logan 86), Chapman, Hocking, Greaves, Bennett, Ellender, Potter (Redfearn 66), Rusk, Douglas, Duffield (Jones 57)

Reading: Hahnemann, Newman, Brown, Williams, Shorey, Hughes, Harper, Sidwell, Murray, Forster, Goater (Salako 70)