Reading: Federici; Kelly, Pearce, Hector, Obita; McCleary, Guthrie, Norwood, Akpan, Taylor; Yakubu
The main talking point from a Reading point of view came before the game as the lineups were announced. No less than six changes from Steve Clarke, as Jake Taylor and Danny Guthrie came into the side seemingly from out of nowhere. Hope Akpan and Oliver Norwood also got starts, with Garath McCleary coming in on the wing and Yakubu getting a first start for the Royals.
It only took nine minutes for the home side to grab the lead, as Jordan Obita fouled Nahki Wells on the Terriers' right wing. Jacob Butterfield swung the ball in, and winger Harry Bunn scored his second goal against Reading this season with a header from close range.
Reading came close to an equaliser after 25 minutes as Hope Akpan's diving header was saved smartly by Alex Smithies. The Huddersfield keeper managed to save his blushes ten minutes later as Norwood tried a speculative shot from the halfway line, but he retreated fast enough to tip it over. Just before half-time, Alex Pearce mishit another backpass to Adam Federici, and Nahki Wells could only hit the post after confusion at the back.
It took nine minutes of the second half for Huddersfield to double their lead, as Jordan Obita's misplaced pass found Butterfield, whose long range shot was fumbled by Adam Federici - Nahki Wells slotted home the rebound from close range to make it 2-0.
Nick Blackman, on as a sub, came close to halving the deficit with a drive from 25 yards which Smithies did well to save. But the writing was on the wall with ten minutes left as Ishmael Miller lobbed Federici on a breakaway to add a third which put the seal on a terrible evening. Late pressure for a consolation came to nothing and Reading fans faced a long journey back to hope dreams of Wembley aren't ended quite so emphatically in eleven days' time.
More Tuesday night woes for Reading and that's the fourth midweek match in a row where the Royals have failed to score, twice at home against Leeds United and Wigan Athletic with an away draw at ten-man Millwall the other one in the miserable run under the floodlights.
Steve Clarke rotated his side and rolled the dice, and it plainly didn't work - one can only hope he has eyes on Saturday's home game against Nottingham Forest to make amends. Still, it's win-loss-win-loss-win-loss in February - so naturally expect three points at the Mad Stad in four days time...
We'll have a full report, player ratings and the usual
post-mortem post-match analysis up in the coming days.