Reading: Federici, Kelly (Robson-Kanu 72), Obita, Pearce (c), Hector, Akpan, Norwood, Guthrie (Blackman 59), Taylor (Mackie 59), McCleary, Yakubu.
Subs: Andersen, Gunter, Cooper, Chalobah, Mackie.
Reading made six changes to the side that had achieved such a brilliant and unexpected result in Ipswich on the weekend. There were surprise returns for Jake Taylor in a wide role on the right, Hope Akpan in the middle, and Gareth McCleary lined up in a roaming role behind Yakubu, who made his full debut for the club. Olly Norwood and Danny Guthrie also made returns to the starting XI.
In the opening minutes the pattern for this miserable game was set. Passes were misplaced, the team were sluggish and it was clear that the players who hadn't seen much game time recently were taking a while to get back into the swing of things. Unfortunately, before Steve Clarke's men had the chance to properly do so, they were behind. A mess-up down the left hand side gave Huddersfield a free kick, from which they took full advantage. It was a good outswinging delivery, but the way winger Harry Bunn (who's not exactly a frightening aerial prospect) just wandered in and thumped a header past Federici was far too easy.
After this, Reading struggled to achieve any sort of fluency or penetration. The highlight of the half was definitely an outrageous Norwood shot from at least 50 yards, which he hit exceptionally well. It looked like he had managed to lob the Huddersfield keeper Alex Smithies, but at the last moment the 24-year-old just managed to get back and tip it over the bar. Sadly this was just about the only piece of individual risk-taking and drive that was seen all evening.
In fairness to Reading, for the last 15 minutes of the first half they did attempt to make a game of it. Akpan forced a good save from a header at a corner, before Taylor did the same. Reading were having much more of the ball at this point, without ever really getting in behind the home side, who when they counter-attacked were looking far more dangerous.
It was from one of these counter attacks that the hosts nearly doubled their lead. A defensive mix up led to Federici miscontrolling and giving the ball straight to Bunn. Eventually Nakhi Wells shot with Federici out of his goal and two defenders on the line, but his shot hit the post and went wide.
Despite what surely must have been a rocket from Clarke in the dressing room at half time, the team started the second half in the same sloppy fashion. It was soon 2-0, as Federici could only palm a deflected effort from Jacob Butterfield straight into the path of Wells, who could hardly miss from 6 yards.
Despite having the lions share of possession in the 2nd period, Reading never really looked like troubling Smithies, with a Nick Blackman effort from range which went narrowly wide the closest they came all night.
At the other end the defensive shambles continued, as Hector and Pearce looked frightened to death of the rampaging Ishmael Miller, whose strength and pace was causing all sorts of problems. It was therefore no surprise when he eventually got the home side's third, as Federici hopelessly misjudged a ball over the top and came rushing out, only to see the ball gently lofted over his head.
This effectively killed the game off, and from then on all the hardy travelling wanted to hear was the final whistle.When it eventually came, it ended a truly miserable night for Steve Clarke's men.
Full Time: Huddersfield 3-0 Reading
While I don't like to doubt the players effort, too many of the new faces in the team had poor games. The entire midfield contributed next to nothing, perhaps unsurprisingly seeing as it's surely the first time Norwood, Taylor and Akpan have all had to work in tandem. Add this to a bad night for the defence, Kelly and Federici in particular, and this made for a game that none of the 187 Reading fans who made the trip up will want to remember any time soon.