Russ must had read the forum. McSheffrey played down the middle and about time too. Adelekun kept his place after impressing at Yeovil, O’Neill refused permission to play. The Iron lined up: Olejnik, Nolan, Addison, Canavan, Williams, Hawkridge, McAlister, Bishop, Adelekun, McSheffrey, Madden.
We welcomed back Nigel Adkins for a night in the trenches at Glanford Park. A ninety minute battle for a place in the third round draw.
Reading were down to the bare bones for this. No fewer than 10 first team players out injured meant a few Royals were making their debuts. It MUST be something in the training.
They were stuffed by Forest on Saturday and in truth it was easy to see why.
No sooner than the Pre match pleasantrys were out the way, McSheffrey was booked for a rather unpleasant challenge after about 30 seconds.
It was a little early to reach for a card but referee Kevin Wright, who seemed to be unaware he could also book our Championship visitors, was conned by the Royal’s theatrics. The visiting fans hoped the player tossing and turning on the deck wasn’t the latest addition to their treatment room… There was no need to panic. As soon as a card was waved, he was up in an instant. Rubbish, Mr Wright.
McSheffrey, Madden & Adelekun’s movement was too much for the Reading backline early on. It was just too much of an ask for the Iron to hit the net. McSheffrey fired goalwards, but the ball was blocked, before Madden smashed a screamer just wide.
Madden then curled a delightful free kick that Federici somehow tipped over. Ooh’s and Aah’s a plenty! The Royal’s struggling to cope. Nolan whipped in a cracking ball and McSheffrey connected. Surely this time a goal?! He headed over from six yards.
He should have done better. He must have known I had £200 riding on that.
Olejnik was calm, commanding and confident. He put his cigar down once or twice to scoop up comfortably and plucked a couple of high balls out the sky with ease. Reading simply no threat whatsoever.
Adkins’ Royals fitted their bayonets, the Iron rampant and threatening to run riot. A last resort. Desperation from our the truly woeful visitors.
Hey wow! It was all Iron. Hakeeb bamboozled the Reading defence with every blistering burst of pace and skill. Not every flick came off, but when they did it was special. The crowd responding to his talents. A collective roar every time he got the ball. This is what we want to see. He fears no one. Look at the noise!
The impressive McSheffrey, excellent in the hole, hustling and bustling. Bringing others into play. Who were this team in Claret and Blue?
Canavan twisted and hooked goalwards but the ball cannoned off Sergeant Addison’s arse. Hawkridge cut inside but blazed handsomely over. Canavan cushioned for Bishop, who fluffed his lines. He didn’t stop trying. He smashed home a sweet strike a few minutes later, but the flag was up… Typical.
Another chance fell to Bishop. He was everywhere. The ball was everywhere. Apart from Reading’s net. The ball bobbled in the six yard box and Bish scooped over again from three yards out. It just wasn’t the Iron’s night.
You know what’s coming don’t you?
Hakeeb, McAlister and McSheffrey linked well to release Madden, but the defender guarded the goal and he snatched wide from a tight angle. On another day it could have been five, six… maybe even seven. One would have been nice.
The sucker punch was stabbed home by one of Adkins’ reinforcements, with the game looking destined for a shoot out. A likely end to the tale. Jake Taylor with the breakthrough after Canavan was wrestled in the area.
Adkins triumphant, but he knew he was in a battle.
Photo Credit: Steve Hope