I think most fans had mixed feelings going into this game. Paul Ince (we thought) had made it clear that he wasn't all too that bothered with the cup and was prioritising the league. I think most fans thought that was pretty understandable, but every fan loves a cup run.
So it was somewhat surprising to see Ince go with a such a strong team against Watford. Of course there were changes, but the likes of Lucas Joao, Shane Long, Sam Hutchinson, Naby Sarr and Tom McIntyre all started.
It was probably that experience and extra quality that won us the game as the visitors weren’t able to field such an experienced eleven.
Here’s how the fans reacted to the win...
In his limited first-team appearances so far, the young full back has shown glimpses of promise. However, on Saturday he really showed that he can be a decent option at this level - and not just because he got on the scoresheet.
Abrefa was lively all afternoon, particularly in the first half, and that right-wing-back position seemed to suit him really well.
Let’s be honest, his goal was a cross. But, it was a great moment for him and capped off a solid performance. The fans were certainly impressed with what they saw...
Kelvin Abrefa that was worth waking up at 7:30 ET for by itself! #readingfc— Ross Webber (@WebberRoss) January 7, 2023
So happy for Abrefa. Best performance has been him at rwb. Have to win this game now - Watford are playing half an U21 team. Would take Long off for a CM/Scott and move Azeez to striker. No point risking Long on an injury. #ReadingFC— ReadingBetweenTheLines (@ReadingBTL) January 7, 2023
Every time I watch Abrefa play, I wish that we would see him more #ReadingFC— Marcus Pike (@MarcusKPike) January 7, 2023
There’s Yiadoms replacement Abrefa been excellent! #readingfc— JDM (@RFC_Smurf93) January 7, 2023
Love the reaction from Kelvin Abrefa - So happy to score! Lovely to see #readingfc— Jordan Norris (@Jordo_Grittt) January 7, 2023
Azeez, Abrefa look so up for this! Very promising!! #readingfc— BerkshireBoys (@BerkshireBoys_) January 7, 2023
Abrefa fresh air #ReadingFC— George (@_georgewillis) January 7, 2023
I don’t think it’s still quite sunk in that he plays for us again yet. We should arguably have seen more of him than we have so far this season, but he managed to grab 90 minutes on Saturday and a goal that rolled back the years.
The fact that it was McIntyre who played him through, who no doubt grew up admiring Long as much as we all did, makes it even sweeter.
Long has always been a fans’ favourite, and the love shown for him after his goal proves just that...
I never thought I’d see Shane Long score a goal for #readingfc in the FA Cup again. I think Anfield was the last time. Just delightful.— Alistair Poppins (@kentishwizard) January 7, 2023
Vintage Long finish that. What a goal #readingfc https://t.co/DncxrjaIuK— Harry Sands (@SarryHands) January 7, 2023
Vintage Shane Long nice to see him get that #readingfc— Chris Swift (@swifty1871) January 7, 2023
Shane Long + #ReadingFC + @EmiratesFACup = Dreamland— Daniel Blackham (@DanielRBlackham) January 7, 2023
Nothing better than seeing Shane long score for reading ⚽️ #readingfc— Cameron (@ronniemac93) January 7, 2023
That Shane Long goal takes you back doesn’t it! #ReadingFC— Alex Sheppard (@Alex_Shep_Urzz) January 7, 2023
Long is a machine #readingfc— Abbie Elizabeth (@_abblamb) January 7, 2023
Long loves the FA Cup #readingfc— Ross (@rossm1871) January 7, 2023
The fourth-round draw
I’m slightly cheating with this on as, of course, the fourth-round draw wasn’t part of the win over Watford. However, it gives me a chance to round up how the fans have reacted to drawing Manchester United away, again.
Yep, that's right, for the third time in six years, we’re off to Old Trafford in the FA Cup. I mean, it’s better than Watford at home, and you can never sniff at going to one of the most historic stadiums in the world.
Here’s what the fans had to say about the draw...
Seeing Reading fans complain about a cup draw to Manchester United is insane levels of entitlement.— Greg Double (@Dubstep1988) January 8, 2023
After London, Manchester is the best city in the country.
After City, United are the best team in Manchester.
It’ll be a good day out. #readingfc #MUFC
#ReadingFC will face Man United in FA Cup for the SIXTEENTH time.— Marc Mayo (@Marc_Mayo_) January 8, 2023
Has there ever been such a common draw?
Of course its Manchester United away!! #readingfc ♂️— Simon Edwards (@Madstad109) January 8, 2023
United is boring imo, we always get them, I’ve been twice, we’ll lose, it’ll be on TV. Exciting for the players and Incey, of course #readingfc— Nick Houlton (@Houlton11) January 8, 2023
YESSSSSS GET IN THERE Man United away is CLASS. That’s a brilliant draw #readingfc— Luke (@Luke1871_) January 8, 2023
we go again united away #readingfc— . (@hantonn_) January 8, 2023
United away again roll it on #readingfc https://t.co/Btxy0ZONPO— Nicole (@NS1871xx) January 8, 2023
It’s nice to get through to the next round and we did it relatively comfortably against an albeit weakened Watford team. Two great goals, one more fortuitous than the other it must be said, and the dream of Wembley lives on.
Before Wembley though, it’s the second-biggest stadium in the country and we’ll have to beat Erik Ten Hag’s United. You just never know, do you?