Saturday, 3 January 2015

Huddersfield Town 0 Reading 1

FA Cup, third round
Attendance: 7,980

This blog is supposed to be about great or quirky little cup ties but today’s game didn’t fit either description. From an outstanding third round draw packed to the gunnels with intriguing David/Goliath encounters I chose a humdrum tie between two sides floundering in the mid-table of the second division. Why? I try to see my hometown team at least once a season and their visit to my adoptive county in the Cup presented an ideal opportunity for 2014-15. Huddersfield and Reading have met only once in the FA Cup. That’s as interesting as the back story gets.

The John Smith’s Stadium is one of the more stylish of the new builds although it’s hardly new any more, having marked its 20th anniversary last month. Practically constructed within the side of a steep, wooded bank, it has four elegant, bowed stands anchored in each corner by floodlights with four stout legs. It reminds me of Bolton’s ground. I had plenty of time to admire the architecture during an utterly dire first half. The highlight was when the ref got out his magic foam for a free kick. I was glad I’d only paid a tenner and had travelled less than an hour to get there.

Thankfully, things picked up a little after the hour when just about the first clear chance came – to Huddersfield with a header. Reading took the lead when a one-two through ball from Robson-Kanu reached half-time sub Blackman as two Terriers defenders bore down on him. Showing the prowess of a master marksman and with only a split second to think about it he arrowed the ball in to the net. It was the only shot on target of the whole match. Hogg of Huddersfield was subsequently sent off for argy-bargy as the contest finally reached boiling – well, let’s call it simmering – point.

Within BBC TV’s exhaustively comprehensive Cup coverage is the new FA Cup Rewind series which showcases classic ties of the past. No-one will want to rewind this one. “Three seconds in 90 minutes,” is how one fan summed up the match as we shuffled out. I was reminded of a remark by Desmond Lynam immediately after one of England’s tight World Cup squeaks in the 90s: “Never mind the quality; feel the qualification”. Indeed: we’re through. (And, for once, when I say “we” I’m referring to my team by birth rather than the one I’ve latched onto for a taste of cup glory).

Programme notes: Tabloid newspaper format and also covering the previous match against Bolton, the Huddersfield programme was packed with ads and included about the same amount of editorial as you could get from three scrolls of your smartphone. It made me wonder about the future of the programme. Credit to the hosts, though, for reducing ticket prices although today’s attendance was still about half a typical League gate. I paid the same as I did for Rammy United last month.

Chant of the day: As the game wore on the Reading fans sung: “Let’s pretend that we have scored” (sung to Bread of Heaven) followed by a little cheer.

Truce match: Here is a great, blogtastic report from The Guardian on the match staged to commemorate the game supposedly played between British and German soliders during the Christmas truce in the First World War.

Redcar Athletic: While walking from Saltburn to Redcar with the family yesterday I couldn’t resist a minor diversion to Green Lane, home of step 7 Northern League aspirants, Redcar Athletic. It consists of a railed and fenced pitch with one small stand with club name on the fascia and benches within plus a smart, new Football Foundation-funded clubhouse with trophies on display in the windows. Worth a look for some action in between ice creams on the beach if you’re in the area on a Saturday afternoon.


Anonymous said...

Excellent little blog, cheers! As a fellow Yorkshire Royal, I hope we cross paths at Oakwell/Bootham Crescent/Elland Road etc sometime.

Paul Kirkwood said...

Ah! The Yorks Royals: a fine body of men. I am a somewhat lapsed member. Are you Trevor? If so, I've just followed you on Twitter. Will have to try and meet up at a future RFC match - but not Cardiff. Argh!

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