Stevenage kick off their Carabao Cup campaign with a trip to Berkshire tonight to face Paul Ince’s Reading…
After taking six points from the opening two fixtures in Sky Bet League Two against Tranmere Rovers and Stockport County, Stevenage turn their attention to the Carabao Cup as they are met with Sky Bet Championship opposition. Boro boss Steve Evans explained in his pre-match interview that “all we want to do is win some football matches, and upset a few along the way”.
Having spent three campaigns in the top flight in the past, The Royals have now been playing their football in the second tier for almost a decade. Despite finishing just one spot outside the Championship play-offs in the 2020/21 campaign, the following season would be a disappointing one for Reading, staying clear of relegation by just four points.
Paul Ince’s side hope to improve on last season’s disappointment in The Championship and so far, they’ve already earned themselves a 2-1 victory against Cardiff City. As for Reading’s league cup history, their highest ever finish in the competition is the quarter finals, getting knocked out at this stage by Middlesborough and Leeds in the 1990s.
Perhaps Reading’s most memorable League cup clash was in the 2012/13 campaign when The Royals took Arsenal to extra time in the Round of 16. The match finished 7-5 to the Gunners which meant it was the highest-scoring match in League cup history.
Stevenage and Reading are rather familiar with each other when it comes to cup competitions. Despite never meeting in the League Cup, Boro and the Royals have had 4 encounters in the FA Cup. The first clash came in 2011 as the Berkshire side came away from The Lamex Stadium with a 2-1 win in the Fourth Round, despite a goal from Darius Charles.
Stevenage would be drawn with Reading in The FA Cup once again the following season, this time in the third round and The Royals were the home side. Darius Charles found his name on the scoresheet once again but this time, to the delight of the Boro faithful, it was the only goal of the game as Stevenage earned a place in the fourth round.
Finally, in 2018, Stevenage and Reading would meet again in the FA Cup third Round with the initial tie ending in a 0-0 draw. Boro earned themselves a trip to Berkshire but this time the Royals proved to have the better quality, winning 3-0.
Reading have played their football at the Select Car Leasing Stadium since it first opened in 1998. It’s an all-seater ground which holds a capacity of 24,161 and is located close to the M4 motorway. The stadium cost £50 million to build and has played host to Reading’s three Premier League campaigns in the past.
Carl Brook has been appointed as the Match Referee for this fixture and will be joined by Assistants James Vallance and Richard Morris with Kirsty Dowle as Fourth Official. Brook handed out four yellow cards on his first match of the season on Saturday.