It was six years ago, 27th February 2007 when United travelled to Berkshire to entertain Reading in an FA Cup 5th round replay. The first game, six years ago today in fact, finished 1-1 at Old Trafford after Brynjar Gunnarsson’s header cancelled out Michael Carrick’s opener on half time.
Four changes were made from the first encounter with Ronaldo the most notably to not feature although made an appearance late in the night. I remember the game mostly because of the opening six minutes.
It took only two for United to take the lead as Gabriel Heinze’s twenty-five yard shot, which should’ve easily been saved, managed to find it’s way under the body of Adam Federici and in to the net. A dream start and a gift in which was no doubt going to be a tough encounter at the Madejski.
Two minutes later and the lead was doubled, in style if I might add. Rio Ferdinand struck a long ball forward in to the path of Louis Saha who controlled the ball on his chest before unleashing a perfect volley across goal and in to the corner. If the Royals’ fans weren’t best pleased at that moment there was more to come.
Only another two minutes had gone before Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, breaking the offside trap from Kieren Richardson’s pass to elegantly finish in to the far corner with the outside of his right foot. The look on his face as he turned to celebrate mimicked most fans in the ground.
3-0 after six minutes. Even I was in a state of shock watching from home.
Midway through the first half and Reading found the net via Dave Kitson. The striker in the right place to head home from close range after a flick on from John Oster’s corner came his way.
A very sloppy second half from United ensured a nervy fourty-five minutes for the travelling fans. Fortunately it was only with six minutes remaining that Reading managed to find the net again as Leroy Lita headed past Edwin van der Sar from a right wing cross.
United tried to see the game out but Reading almost forced extra time with Brynjar Gunnarsson striking the crossbar with a long range effort. The man who made sure of the replay almost taking the Royals in to another half an hour of FA Cup football. The whistle sounded and a sigh of relief from myself at home and the fans at the Madejski.
If Gunnarsson had equalised with his rasping drive late on would United have been able to get through another half an hour? Knowing that they had been three goals ahead and let it slip? Personally, I’d have just accepted that it may be Reading’s night.
Reading are the opposition in this season’s FA Cup 5th round tie for Manchester United, tomorrow night at 20:00, will there be a repeat of six years ago? I highly doubt it this time.
Thanks for reading!