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Huddersfield Town 0-1 Reading FC: Into The Hat

The Headline says it all really, as Reading progressed into the fourth round of the FA Cup with a 1-0 win at Championship rivals Huddersfield that probably won't live long in the memory.

Gareth Copley/Getty Images

With Steve Clarke going into the game promising to look at his squad, the team selection was a little surprising as bar Mikkel Andersen in goal, it was pretty much the same team who had beaten Norwich six days previously. The only other major moves saw Danny Guthrie make a first start of the season, replacing the departed Glenn Murray, and also a spot on the bench for returning club captain Jem Karacan after 15 months out injured.

With Guthrie seemingly given the "Cox" role behind the front man and Simon Cox playing Murray's role at the main forward, we should have had a little more creativity on the park. Sadly the first half was as dull and drab as you could get, without a single shot on target. The only shot of the WHOLE half from both teams was a wayward free kick from Oliver Norwood right on halftime.

For the first 15 minutes of the game, it was a very tepid affair with the defences on top. Michael Hector resolutely defended anything that came near the Reading goal, while he was ably supported by Alex Pearce who seems to have recovered well from his Cardiff horror show before Christmas.

The game was being battled in the midfield, with the odd sparks of excitement mostly due to what seemed like Terriers' players going down at the slightest touch and a game littered with our referee blowing for the slightest infringement.

Jamie Mackie seemed to be a man on a mission in his first start in nearly two months and it was no surprise that he was booked early on after a high foot into the midriff of Harry Bunn. This little battle continued to for the rest of the half, with the referee calling Reading skipper Pearce over to basically to tell him to calm Mackie down or run the risk of the midfielder being sent off.

There was also a booking for Huddersfield's Tommy Smith after he hacked down Hal Robson-Kanu, while the only other thing of note in the first 45 minutes was a free-kick given for a James Vaughan barge on Andersen, and Cox also being cynically hacked down before he could break clear.

The second-half started with something that's quite unusual for Reading - a half time sub. Mackie, who as mentioned was running the risk of being sent-off, was withdrawn in favour of Nick Blackman, and with Reading playing a more direct game, Blackman added a bit more of a dynamic approach.

Clarke's side seemed to have a little more urgency early in the second period, albeit with little end product. Blackman made a few good runs, with Jonathan Hogg picking up the first of his bookings for taking the substitutes's legs away when the Royals forward was looking to run clear.

Reading were trying to grab control of the game and soon had a five minute spell of set pieces that created moments of panic in the Huddersfield goalmouth which on another day could have led to the opening goal.

Not long after, the goal opening goal duly arrived with a rare moment of brilliance in an otherwise forgettable game.

Initially a surging run by Danny Williams earned Reading a throw-in that was quickly taken, followed by another trademark surge forward by the American international. That led to a nice one-two between Blackman and Robson-Kanu, with the Welshman's pass perfectly weighted for Blackman who coolly took the ball on and exquisitely finished into the bottom corner to give the Royals a lead.

With the cushion of the goal further subs were soon introduced into the game. Dominic Samuel made his first appearance since 2012 and his second ever for the club in the last 14 minutes, replacing a Guthrie who had played a number of positions around the midfield at that point. Samuel looked a threat and while suffering from poor service, showed enough in his brief cameo to demonstrate he could be a lively alternative.

The game ended in a little bit of a fracas, with a foul by Hector on Bunn leading to Williams and Hogg squaring up. I'm not sure if there was anything aside from a little grappling but it was enough for both players to earn a yellow card, Hogg's second of the game seeing him dismissed.

Clarke then brought on Jake Cooper in the closing minutes to shore up the defence, but even then Reading still looked the team more likely to score, as they saw out a 1-0 win.

All in all this was a truly dire game and one that was the epitome of the saying "well it's a win".

Aside from the win itself, the two main pluses to come out of the contest was the clean sheet and seeing Jem named in a matchday squad again.

The other interesting fact of note was the fact that half of our matchday squad came through the academy. Such a stat is a major plus looking into the future, especially with potentially limited funds in the next couple of seasons.

It was also the first game where we've seen referees use vanishing spray which brought some interesting reactions from the fans!

On the minus side Mackie got his temperament wrong, Jordan Obita had probably his worst game in weeks while Robson-Kanu again blended moments of brilliance with far more moments of blind panic.

Still into the hat for the fourth round we go!

Huddersfield (442) Smithies; Smith (Lolley 86); Hudson; Wallace (Gerrard HT); Robinson; Hammill (Scannell 66);Coady; Hogg ; Bunn; Vaughan; Wells

Reading (442) Andersen; Gunter; Pearce; Hector; Obita; Guthrie (Samuel 77); Norwood; Williams; Mackie (Blackman HT); Cox (Cooper 91); Robson Kanu

Attendance: 7,980 (approx 500 Reading)