1) Reading can physically mix it when they have to
Earlier in the season Reading had fought a rearguard action against Ipswich when placed under heavy aerial bombardment from Mick McCarthy's side. The match at Valley Parade was another example of this type of opposition attack, and Reading responded to the threat with aplomb. To be fair, that type of game should be made for central defenders like Alex Pearce, while Michael Hector also seems to have that inner steel about him.
The defence as a whole were generally exceptional, special mention to Stephen Kelly who tackled James Hanson on the left side superbly despite giving away a good few pounds of muscle and a good few inches in height.
2) A difficult watch
The match itself was never going to be anything other than an aerial fest from either side given the state of the Valley Parade pitch. Bradford will no doubt have done their best to produce as good a pitch as physically possible but when you have such an unforgiving surface the match will quickly descend into a war of attrition between both sides. Having watched Bradford a number of times throughout the past few seasons on TV, it is clear they rely fairly heavily on the long diagonal ball and feed off the knock downs. They can play, absolutely, but Reading's game is much more ground based without losing the direct emphasis on their play.
Steve Clarke had clearly decided to not even bother chancing it, any ball directed towards the Reading rearguard was despatched back up the pitch as quickly as possible, or into the stand. Any semblance of ball playing quality was foregone in favour of the safety first approach, absolutely the right thing to do under the circumstances. In the end we had a game of few chances, and a match more thud and blunder than blood and thunder.
3) Was that our best chance gone?
Doubters will no doubt say so, as a record of only scoring in 9 of 17 home games so far this season (or 4 from the last 12). Of the last 6 matches we have scored in just 2 of them since the quarter final draw was made. And we have only won 7 of 17 home matches this season, or going further back 19 of 60 matches since the start of the 12/13 Premier League season. Statistics of course never tell the whole story, but these particular ones don't exactly make inspiring reading either!!
Regardless of point 3), this still represents the best chance we have had to get to the semi's since the relative success of the 1927 side. I implore Reading fans to get behind the team, Bradford will be roared on by 4200 of their own behind the goal and we MUST match them. If the team are inspired by us, then I have no doubt Bradford's impressive following will be silenced. As cringeworthy as it sounds from Paul Allen pre-match, we do have a part to play, so get behind the lads and roar them to a history making victory!! G'ARN URZ!!!!!!!!!!!!