Match Report: Reading 1-1 Cardiff City
A Fourth Round replay will be required to separate the Bluebirds and the Royals, who played out a 1-1 draw at the Madejski Stadium.
Neil Harris made seven changes to the side that faced Birmingham City last time out. Defensive duo Sol Bamba and Aden Flint came in at the heart of the back-line, with Joe Ralls and Will Vaulks starting in central midfield.
Robert Glatzel, Josh Murphy and Callum Paterson also featured in the starting 11, with Murphy and Paterson having found the back of the net against Carlisle United in the Third Round.
The Bluebirds took the lead inside five minutes in Berkshire, with Paterson adding another goal to his FA Cup tally. Josh Murphy delivered a curling cross from the left-flank, which was met by Aden Flint at the back post.
The centre-back nodded the ball toward the middle of the goal, with Paterson on hand to stab the ball past Sam Walker and into the net.
Against the run of play, the Royals were able to level the score three minutes later. Charlie Adam played a lofted ball over the City defence, with Yakou Méïté, seemingly in an offside position, the recipient. Despite appeals from the Bluebirds’ backline, the flag was not raised, allowing Méïté to apply a neat near-post finish.
Both sides had good chances before the half was out, but neither were able to score a second. Reading stopper Walker did well to parry Will Vaulks’ stinging drive from distance, with Gavin collecting the loose ball. His fierce effort, which flew narrowly wide, was almost converted by Flint at the back post.
Meite had another good chance for the hosts soon afterwards but was denied by Alex Smithies, who did well to thwart the striker in a one-on-one duel.
The Royals did have the ball in the back of the net again just before the interval; however, the flag was correctly raised on this occasion, sending the sides in on equal terms.
There were fewer chances in the second half, though City did go close through Sol Bamba. Good work on the right from Whyte enabled the winger to deliver a low cross, which Bamba got on the end of. Agonisingly, the skipper’s delicate backheel skipped just wide of the bottom corner.
As both sides began to press for a winner, the Bluebirds had another good opportunity ten minutes later. Vaulks fed Murphy on the left, with the winger delivering a low ball to the front post. Robert Glatzel did well to turn the ball towards goal, only to be denied by an instinctive save from Walker.
With ten minutes remaining, the Royals were reduced to ten men. Defender Tom McIntyre, who had been booked in the first half, was shown a second yellow card for a late tackle on Paterson, giving the Bluebirds a numerical advantage.
City almost made the hosts pay immediately; but, from the resulting attack, Sol Bamba headed wide of goal from close range.
As expected, 10-man Reading dug in and defended, with several balls from the Bluebirds launched into the Royals’ box. The closest City came to a winner was courtesy of Reading defender Teddy Howe, who saw a looping defensive header nestle on the roof of his own net.
Unfortunately, Harris’ men were unable to score again before the full-time whistle, meaning the Royals will make the trip to South Wales for a Replay.
Full-Time: Reading 1-1 Cardiff City
Cardiff City: Smithies, Bennett, Flint, Bamba, Bacuna, Ralls (Pack 30’), Vaulks, Paterson, Whyte, Murphy (Hoilett 78’), Glatzel. Subs not used: Etheridge, Morrison, Nelson, Richards, Sang.
Reading: Walker, Richards, Miazga (Osho 66’), McIntyre, Howe (Burley 83’), Adam, Rinomhota, McCleary, Meite, Aluko, Loader (House 74’). Subs not used: Boyce-Clarke, Medford-Smith, Dorsett, East.