On this day seven years ago, Reading booked their place in the FA Cup semi-final for the first time in 85 years.

Going poorly in the league, the Royals finished 19th, the first time they had finished in the bottom half of the Championship since regaining second tier status in 2002, however it was the run in the prestigious cup competition that caught the imaginations of the town.

After reaching the quarter final is 2010 and 2011, the club would only have to wait three more years to equal the current best of a semi-final appearance in 1927, losing to eventual winners Cardiff City at Molineux.

The cup run started out very non-descript with an away tie against Huddersfield Town.

A second half strike from Nick Blackman on a wintery January afternoon sent Steve Clarke’s side through to the fourth round, a trip to South Wales and Cardiff City.

Despite falling behind early to a Kenwayne Jones opener, a battling performance saw second half goals from Hal Robson-Kanu and Oliver Norwood turn the tie on its head and put the Royals into the fifth round, round of 16.

A healthy contingent of Berkshire Boys made the journey to the East Midlands to face Derby County.

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Above: Garath McCleary against Bradford City (credit: Chris Forsey)


An end-to-end first half produced no goals, although a strong penalty shout was turned away by referee Craig Pawson for handball on Rams captain Richard Keogh.

Debutant Stephen Warnock was sent off for the hosts before half-time and it fell on Reading to make the most of it.

Robson-Kanu gave the visitors the lead early in the second half, only for veteran striker Darren Bent to equalise shortly after from close range.

The game needed a hero, and up stepped Yakubu.

The Yak had arrived just 12 days prior and was making his debut off of the bench.

With less than two minutes remaining the ball was fed to the Nigerian international, who took one step to steady himself before lashing a shot across Kelle Roos to send the travelling fans delirious and put the club into the quarter-final for the third time in five years.

When the draw was made there was one side everyone wanted to avoid.

League One Bradford City were kings of the cup, having become the first fourth tier side to reach the League Cup final since 1962 in 2013.

Managed by Royals legend Phil Parkinson, they disposed of Halifax Town, Dartford and Millwall enroute to round four, where they drew Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Despite going 2-0 down, the side from divisions below rallied and scored an unanswered four to progress to round five, where they beat Premier League Sunderland.

Reading were drawn to take the trip up to Yorkshire and face the giant-killers in their own backyard.

A tense affair produced no goals, although the woodwork from struck on several occasions.

So, on this day in 2015, more than 23,000 crammed into the then Madejski Stadium to witness history.

The tension eased within six minutes as Robson-Kanu kept up his FA Cup streak of three consecutive games as he rose highest to flick a header into the back of the net from a corner.

Just four minutes later Garath McCleary took on a pot-shot and thanks to a fortuitous deflection it looped up and over Ben Williams in the Bantams net to put the hosts in control.

It got worse for the former Royals captain and his side as Felipe Morias saw straight red for a high foot.

With Reading in control, the third and final goal came in the second half as Jamie Mackie was set free and powered a strike home to set the seal on a truly magical Madejski moment.