Huddersfield Town went out of the FA Cup at the hands of Steve Clarke’s Reading this afternoon.
The visitors scored a solitary goal in the second half through substitute Nick Blackman, following a tight encounter in front of 7,980 wanting fans.
Following their 2-1 win against Bolton in the Sky Bet Championship the previous weekend, Town boss Chris Powell will have wanted his side to replicate that form in the FA Cup Third Round.
Reading arrived at the John Smith’s Stadium only one point and two places above Town in the table and the first half was as close as the league standing – finishing goalless at the interval.
With only one shot in the first half from former Terrier Oliver Norwood, who blasted a free kick high over the crossbar, it was clear both sides would be difficult to break down.
Chris Powell was forced to change things at half time – bringing on Anthony Gerrard for injured defender Murray Wallace – whereas the Royals also altered their starting line-up, replacing Jamie Mackie with eventual goal scorer Blackman.
In a game where the introduction of the referee’s vanishing spray received the liveliest reaction from the crowd in the first half, any chance would send the fans into frenzied applause.
Little changed up until the 60th minute when James Vaughan had Town’s best chance of the game; however the powerful forward failed to hit the target with a header from close range after a positive run and cross from Jack Robinson.
Jonathan Hogg then received a yellow card for a trip on Nick Blackman – a foul he would later regret committing.
Another change followed, as Sean Scannell took to the pitch, replacing Adam Hammill, though moments after the introduction of Scannell the Terriers found themselves a goal down with only 20 minutes left to find an equaliser.
Nick Blackman interlinked with Hal Robson-Kanu and Danny Williams, before gliding past Mark Hudson. The substitute then shot low and finished calmly past Alex Smithies, who could do nothing to deny the Royals.
Steve Clarke then made his second change of the game bringing on young striker Dominic Samuel for Danny Guthrie, perhaps in an attempt to extend his sides 1-0 lead and put the game to bed.
Tommy Smith then made way for Joe Lolley as Powell tried to reduce the deficit approaching the final moments of the second half. However, Town were to finish a man down following a rush of blood from Jonathan Hogg.
A coming together between Hogg and Reading’s Danny Williams resulted in the pair receiving yellow cards – however Hogg, who had earlier received his first yellow for a cynical foul, made his way to the tunnel and off the pitch in the 89th minute.
The defeat sends Town out of the FA Cup and leaves their season solely dependent on their form in the Sky Bet Championship.
Town's team (4-4-2):
Alex Smithies; Jack Robinson, Murray Wallace (Anthony Gerrard, 46), Mark Hudson (c), Tommy Smith (Joe Lolley, 85); Harry Bunn, Conor Coady, Jonathan Hogg, Adam Hammill (Sean Scannell, 65); Nahki Wells, James Vaughan
Lloyd Allinson, Jacob Butterfield, Oscar Gobern, Lee Peltier