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This Week In Reading FC History: Cardiff City Injury Time Drama 2003/04

Within the pilot of this week in Royals history, we look at a memorable game against Cardiff, where Reading went through three referees and five goals, from March 16 of the 2003/04 season.

Ian Walton/Getty Images

Within this new series of articles on the website, I'll be looking at Reading history from the year 2000 onwards. This week's will be looking at one of the most memorable games from the new millennium, as Reading won in the 90th minute against Cardiff thanks to a Dean Morgan goal (remember him?).

The Scene

The game saw the Royals move back into the play off places, in just our second season in the First Division (at the time). Contrasting to now there was significance in that we had only nine more games to go until the end of the season, so it was all guns blazing from here on, to be one of the final chosen few for the play-offs.

The Teams

Reading vs Cardiff - Football tactics and formations

The Match

The game itself was interesting for many reasons. A difficult Tuesday night trip from Reading down to the old Ninian Park ground in Cardiff is something any team that would find daunting. The second reason was that The Royals were looking for a first win in three, after a run of two draws (against Stoke and Crystal Palace) and a defeat to Preston, so three points were crucial for that play-off push.

Incredibly, the refs were going down like flies. While amusing at the time this is still interesting looking back, as two referees succumbed to injuries... that's mad! Finally, Reading went into the game with loads of injures. Nicky Shorey and Ady Williams both missed the game while attacker Lloyd Owusu was suspended, leading to Dave Kitson getting the nod upfront alongside veteran forward Shaun Goater.

Were you there? Comment below.

Reading took the lead three times throughout the game with Ivar Ingimarsson putting the Royals in front to begin with after 39 minutes had been played. It didn't take long for the hosts to respond through Rob Earnshaw, who was scoring for fun this year (he ended with 21 goals that season) and the Bluebirds were level just moments later. The game didn't stay level for long. Dave Kitson put us back in front, going into the break with great momentum.

Lee Bullock put Cardiff back on level terms halfway through the second half, just after the aforementioned two referees were taken out of the game. A lot of Royals fans believed that Cardiff did this on purpose, to try and get back in the game, but that's all conspiracies really.

The game looked to be going to a draw, our third in a row (a bit like our boring season now) but just over nine minutes were added on for extra time. This was then when Dean Morgan, just 21 at the time came off the bench, to head home a Paul Brooker cross and send the Royals home with a decisive three points, that put us back in the play off positions and being on level points with a West Ham side managed by you know you!