Reading have learned their League Cup first-round opponents for this season: Stevenage. The Royals will host the League Two side in the week beginning August 8 - that’s a few days after the campaign gets underway at Blackpool.
This will be the fifth meeting of the two sides and the first in this competition. Reading have never faced Stevenage in the league, but have gone up against them four times in the FA Cup - winning twice, drawing once and losing once. All of these matches have taken place in the last 11 years, with Stevenage only founded in 1976.
- January 2011: 2-1 away win, Mikele Leigertwood and Shane Long the scorers
- January 2012, 1-0 home defeat
- January 2018, 0-0 away draw
- January 2018, replay, 3-0 home win, Jon Dadi Bodvarsson hat trick
Those last two games were pretty odd, albeit in different ways. The former was a dull game that ended in toxic fashion, with players refusing to acknowledge travelling fans. The latter included a stark kit clash that was only resolved when the Royals’ orange away kits were picked up in time for the second half.
Hopefully we’ll have a much more enjoyable, less stressful time of it next time out against Stevenage.
Reading have had mixed fortunes in the League Cup in recent years.
Last season, a young and experimental Royals side was comfortably seen off 3-0 at home to Swansea City in the first round of the competition. Under-23 players such as Claudio Osorio, Kian Leavy, Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan and Jahmari Clarke got their first taste of senior-level action, but really it was a case of men against boys.
A year earlier, the Royals managed a comfortable 3-1 home win over Colchester United thanks to a Lucas Joao hat trick. In reality though, due to a rejig of the calendar, that match essentially acted as a pre-season warm-up. The subsequent game, a 1-0 home defeat to Luton Town, also featured an experimental and heavily changed XI.
Before 2020 though, when the squad was deeper, Reading managed to go further in the competition and often ended up being beaten by top-flight sides.
In 2019 the Royals were knocked out on penalties by Wolverhampton Wanderers following wins at Wycombe Wanders (penalties) and Plymouth Argyle (4-2). In 2018, Watford won 2-0 at the Mad Stad following a home win for the Royals over Birmingham City by the same scoreline. In 2017, Swansea City were the victors (2-0 again) after home triumphs: Gillingham (2-0) and Millwall (3-1).
You’ve got to go back to 2016 for the last time Reading got past the third round, losing at Arsenal with the scoreline of - you guessed it - 2-0. The Royals haven’t reached the quarter finals since the 1997/98 season when Middlesbrough won 1-0 at Elm Park.