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Moments of the 2010s: That Night At Anfield

Before January 2010, Reading had never beaten Liverpool away from home...

Liverpool v Reading - FA Cup 3rd Round Replay Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

I have just sneaked this one in from the start of the 2010s as technically I suppose this was the decade before, but hey it’s nearly Christmas. The 2009/10 season was one of turmoil for Reading with Brendan Rogers lasting until mid-December when Brian McDermott took over as caretaker.

The FA Cup campaign started with Reading being drawn out the hat at home against a decent Liverpool side. Sitting 20th in the league, the Royals welcomed a side which had just been dumped out of the Champions League. After an entertaining first game which Reading should have won, the 1-1 draw meant a trip to Liverpool on, if my memory serves, a very cold Wednesday night in the north west.

Reading had been on a terrible run before the game, losing the previous five league matches, and many of us including the pundits predicted this would be a routine victory for Liverpool. However, Reading picked up where they left off in the previous game, taking the game to the Reds, with Grzegorz Rasiak and Simon Church in particular guilty of shocking misses.

Firstly Church broke free and put a delightful ball into the box - Carragher, having a brain meltdown, left it - and Rasiak probably couldn’t believe it actually got to him. Following this up with another break after Liverpool pressure, summer signing Jobi McAnuff broke down the right and again put a ball into the box for Church to miss when it seemed easier to score.

Liverpool spent the rest of the half huffing and puffing with long-range shots and missed chances. That was before first-half injury time when the Liverpool main man Steven Gerrard put another teasing cross into the box which got a wicked deflection off Ryan Bertrand and found the back of the net.

At half time the mood in the away end was one of frustration, as if we had taken our gilt-edged chances we could have been a couple of goals up. However, the football gods are never that kind and in reality the Reading faithful went in for their half time coffee wondering what could have been and how badly it would end up.

Cue the second half and the Liverpool pressure continued, before the impressive McAnuff picked up a loose pass, waltzed through the entire Liverpool backline and poked a shot just wide of the far post - chance number three gone.

Going into the last throws of the game and the Reading fans’ post-match verdicts turned to “we gave it a go” and “should have won this”. The game seemed pretty much done and dusted. But wait, a 92nd-minute throw was headed on and chaos descended into the Liverpool box. From the resulting hacking, Shane Long had the ball and was “fouled” (now I do say this, it was a foul and I’m not saying he went down easy, but...).

So picture the scene, in front of the away end at Anfield, a young Gylfi Sigurdsson stepping up to score arguably the biggest penalty of his career - and my a cheeky one at that. Easy really. That’s in, 1-1, extra time beckons.

Extra time followed much the same until that moment. 110 on the clock and Brynjar Gunnarsson, one of my all-time heroes in a Reading shirt, performs one of the most outrageous nutmegs in footballing history before playing the perfect ball for Long to bury a header into the Liverpool net - at the Kop End!

Cue delirium and Liverpool seemingly had no answer - even when Yossi Benayoun broke through a static Reading defence only to find Adam Federici standing tall to block his shot.

That’s it, 2-1 to Reading, our first win ever at Liverpool. Following this, Reading went on a mini cup run to get knocked out by Aston Villa in the quarter finals and finished the season a respectable ninth.

What a game, what a night!