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The Tilehurst End Advent Calendar: December 15

The Crab scored a scorcher.

Reading v Liverpool Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

James Alan John Harper

Position: Central Midfield

Nationality: English/Ghanaian

Total Reading FC Appearances: 282

Total Reading FC Goals: 23

Memorable Moment

When The Royals come up against a giant of a club, you never go into it with much expectation. You go into it with hope. Hope that somehow, you’ll come through the game without being humiliated. Maybe even snatch a point. But a victory? Don’t be daft.

The game was against an undefeated Liverpool in December 2007. Liverpool lined up that day with an XI consisting of Carragher, Gerrard, Mascherano, and golden boy Torres. They were — I will say it again — unbeaten.

Yet minnows Reading welcomed them to the Madejski Stadium and had the arrogance to score first. Stephen Hunt opened the scoring with a penalty, but Gerrard restored order with an equaliser.

But plucky little Reading took the lead again, this time through Kevin Doyle. The icing on top of the cake came from a magnificent James Harper goal. Yes, the midfield man who passed sideways and ran around a lot put the cherry on top of the cake with a brilliant goal — and then Reading held on thanks to the help of the post.

Harper was always a player who didn’t seem to have much about him apart from exceptional stamina and a leader’s attitude, but this goal saw the world sit up and take notice of the middle class club from Berkshire.

Plucky little Reading, plucky little Harper.