The Citizens crashed out of the Emirates FA Cup yesterday after a 3-0 defeat away to Moneyfields in the Preliminary Round of the tournament.
This fixture had everyone talking before a ball was kicked due to off the field events surrounding the game earlier in the week, but it was always going to be a tough one for the citizens as Moneyfields play a division up in the BetVictor Southern League.
Despite it being a tough fixture City were full of confidence as they've won 4 games on the bounce, unlike our hosts who had yet to register a win going into the game.
City started off brightly and could of gone ahead early on after a good passage of play in the seventh minute forced the opposition's keeper to dive for the ball. Moneyfields then had their first chance in the 10th minute but city were resolute in defence and forced the ball out for a throw in.
The game was very physical from the off and Moneyfields were awarded a free kick in the 14th minute, however our host's free kick attempt didn't make it passed the wall and the citizens were off on the counter, which led to another chance for City as Mo Davies went for goal 16 minutes in but it goes off target.
City then had another chance to get the opener after winning a free kick on the edge of the box, however Tom Browne's effort hits the wall and leads to Moneyfields going on an attack, a challenging afternoon with ball being moved from end to end very quickly, Steve Lee keeps City in the game with a good defensive performance preventing Moneyfields from scoring the opener after they looked certain to do so in the 21st minute.
A break in play while one of the opposition received treatment allowed the citizens to take on water on what was a hot summer's afternoon on the south coast but also regroup and assess the first 20 minutes.
Shortly after play resumed, Moneyfields were awarded a free kick but again it doesn't beat the city wall. Moneyfields would have another chance shortly after as the ball came in over the top of the box, luckily for city no one was there to meet it allowing us to clear it away from danger.
As we passed the half hour mark both teams were still looking for the opening goal, unfortunately for city, it looked like our hosts would be the one who would score first, if it weren't for a great block from captain Josh Blackwood which stopped a dangerous cross coming into the box.
Despite a strong defensive performance Moneyfields would unfortunately find the opening goal, As the ball is deflected away by Charlie York our opposition somehow keep the ball in play, leading to a goal line scramble to ensue, however Moneyfields find a way to put the ball in the net and take the lead as we headed towards half time. It wasn't over yet as City won a free kick in the 39th minute, and after a good ball in to the box it unfortunately comes to nothing, meaning we still had to find a way back into the game.
As half time approached Moneyfields went on the attack again and looked almost certain to score as they were one on one with Charlie York, who was tracking the ball as it goes past, the ball ended up going wide rather than troubling the city keeper.
The first half ended 1-0 but City had plenty of options on the bench to find a way back in this game so all was not lost.
Unfortunately shortly after the second half started Austin Best was sent for an early bath after being shown a second yellow, but that didn't stop City trying to find a way back as minutes later we'd win a corner and with a great ball in the ball comes off the woodwork.
Simon Johnson and Sam Woodruff then made their first change of the afternoon as Joe Bainbrigge made way for Khalid Simmo, that turned out to be a positive change as minutes later Khalid should of scored the equaliser, after receiving the ball he scuffed the chance directly into the hands of the keeper.
Play was stopped again for an injury in what was a challenging fixture, this time it was city's Aaron De Rama who was down, this injury led to City's second substitution as Simon Johnson and Sam Woodruff brought on Devonn Reid in Aaron De Rama's place.
With play resumed, City would go on to win a free kick, which again would come to nothing.
With an hour gone on the clock, Simon Johnson and Sam Woodruff decided to change their attacking options and took off Yashwa Romeo in place of Fergus Burton.
The game is again stopped for another injury, this time it's our hosts who have a man down, the city bench were quick to show their frustration to the referee who has stopped the game for non-serious injuries rather than allowing play to continue until the ball is out of play as they are trying to find a way back into the game. Play does eventually resume and the citizens go on the attack, however Moneyfields intercept and go on the counter attack and after having a shot on goal Charlie York pushes the ball over the bar, this leads to a corner but as the ball comes in over the box, the ball goes wide of the goal, a massive let off for city as Moneyfields had players waiting to head it in.
Moneyfields would however find a second goal in the 88th minute which meant we were all but out of the Emirates FA Cup. After our hosts hit the woodwork to begin with another player was there to meet the rebound and fire it past Charlie York.
As we went into added time, the citizens may have been down but they certainly weren't out as Fergus Burton has a shot on goal in the hope that we'll find a way back into the game, unfortunately there's a bit too much power in his shot and it goes over the crossbar.
As Moneyfields get us going again, they go on the counter attack and with the final kick off the game score for a third time adding to the citizen's misery as they crash out of the Emirates FA Cup.
A disappointing afternoon on the South Coast.
First Team Manager Simon Johnson had this to say:
"Just a complete shambles of a cup tie from the minute it was announced. Fair play to Moneyfields who were well worth the victory when we were reduced to 10. On to Monday and going to a proper club in Binfield FC"
First Team Assistant Manager Sam Woodruff had this to say:
"Very proud of the boys today in the Emirates FA Cup, after an early sending off we never gave up and continued to battle to the end. If we took our chances it could of been a different story. Well done to all the other Berkshire teams progressing".
Tensions between the two clubs would continue to boil after the final whistle as the citizens weren't given access to hot showers and were served chicken dippers and chips as a post-match meal, both our media and public relations manager Ryan Sheehan and Chairman Martin Law were quick to take to social media to vent their frustration and surprise in the way the citizens were being treated.
A fixture all involved with Reading City Football Club will want to put behind them as we look forward to taking on local rivals Binfield on Monday in the Hellenic Football League Premier Division, we remain unbeaten in the league and this is something Simon Johnson and Sam Woodruff will want to see continue.