Manchester City v Reading FA Cup 3rd Round 1967/68

reading home 1967-68 programme


FA Cup 3rd Round

27th January 1968

Attendance 40,343

Ref Mr D W G Brady

City Mulhearn, Book, Pardoe, Doyle, Heslop, Oakes, Lee, Bell, Summerbee, Young, Coleman – sub Connor(unused)

Reading Dixon, Bacuzzi, Spiers, Meldrum, BayLiss, Yard, Foster, Allen, Collins, Smee, Harris – sub Chapman(unused?)

 reading home 1967-68 action2

ADAPTED FROM ‘ONCE UPON A FULL TIME’ AN ARTICLE BY DAVID DOWNS IN READING’S PROGRAMME 8TH MARCH 2008 – Reading, mid-table in Divison Three, had won their way through to the Third Round of the FA Cup…
The game at Maine Road was not made all-ticket, but such was the interest in Reading for the match that British Rail laid on a special train to take fans north. I well remember waiting on Reading station for the train and getting into a compartment with three friends for what promised to be a long but comfortable journey to Manchester. Then just as we were about to pull away, into our carriage scrambled a young tad carrying a home-made blue and white banner declaring READING FOR THE FA CUP”. The lad and his huge banner filled all the remaining space in our compartment, and we alt spent a cramped three hours before we reached Manchester Piccadilly. I found during conversation that he had no doubt whatsoever that Reading would reach Wembley and defeat whoever they might meet in the final. The youngster’s name was Alan Sedunary, and now forty years later he and I are regular contributors to the Reading FC matchday programme.
We made the short walk to the ground, and I was staggered by the size of the crowd – more than 40,000 and the biggest I had ever stood amongst. The Reading team had travelled overnight, and manager Roy Bentley had done his best to give his players a psychological boost by purchasing a new team strip for the occasion – white shirts with red collar and cuffs, plus white shorts and socks.
It was clear from the kick off however that something more than a new kit would be needed to keep the home side at bay. Manchester City included some of the best players in the country at the time. Francis Lee, Colin Bell and Mike Summerbee were all, or were all about to become, England international forwards, and they combined beautifully to put Reading under constant pressure. City’s complete lineup was valued at £250,000, a massive amount in those days but a mere pittance compared with today’s over-inflated market.
However Reading, whose most expensive signing was John Collins at £6,500, held out until half time, mainly through the bravery and agility of goalkeeper Mike Dixon, a part-timer who combined running a newsagents in Overdown Road, Tilehurst, with playing for Reading at weekends. He fingertipped a fierce drive from Neil Young over the crossbar, flew across his goal line to turn away a cross-shot from Tony Coleman, dived at the feet of Summerbee and won the applause of even the hardbitten Manchester fans with a dozen other daring saves.
There were other anxious moments for Reading as former City full back Dave Bacuzzi cleared the ball off the tine when Dixon was beaten, then later in the game as an inside-forward Collins – an indication of the depth of Reading’s defending – was also on hand to hack the ball out from under the bar as Neil Young’s shot eluded Dixon.
Reading had just three opportunities of their own to open the scoring. An early goalbound shot by Denis Allen was deflected away by City keeper Ken Mulhearn’s boot, then in the second period Reading’s most dangerous forward, Roger Smee, hit two fine efforts which just shaved the woodwork with Muthearn stranded.
But it was backs to the wall stuff for most of the time, and it seemed as though Reading s spirited and well-organised blanket defence would hold out, until a dramatic incident ten minutes from time.
Summerbee and Colin Meldrum raced for a ball in the Reading penalty area, and the City striker fooled referee Brady into awarding a spotkick as he dived theatrically to the ground. It was definitely not a foul, but left winger Tony Coleman, normally so reliable from the twelve yard mark, sent the away fans into a frenzy by blazing the ball high over Dixon’s crossbar from the penalty spot. As he did so, veteran Reading supporter Mick Foster, who still watches the club to this day, leapt to his feet in the main grandstand and bellowed “Justice!” at the top of his voice, much to the displeasure of the City loyalists around him. There was an awful moment for Reading as Manchester appealed for the kick to be retaken, but the referee ignored them and Dixon placed the ball for the goat kick.
The 4,000 Reading fans at the
tie saw their team play out time confidently, and returned to base having the satisfaction of watching the club’s most impressive performance of the decade. Skipper for the day Bacuzzi and his battling heroes had fully deserved their draw, and young Sedunary’s banner could be held aloft for at least one more game.

reading home 1967-68 action


ADAPTED FROM FATHERS, SONS AND FOOTBALL BY COLIN SHINDLER – The ghastly 90 minutes was enlivened by one minute of pure farce.
After 75 minutes City were awarded a penalty. Everyone expected the result would now be a witless sterile 1-0 home win.
Francis Lee was City’s penalty king and remembers I put the ball on the spot and I’m thinking to myself, right I’m going to knock this to the keeper’s left and it’s going in, boom.

reading home 1967-68 coleman penalty miss

I’m focused and all psyched up for it an I turn round and walk back to the edge of the box. As I’m walking away from the ball, Tony Colemanruns in and smashes it straight into the crowd.
I looked at him and I said “What are you doing, you stupid *%!*!?” He said “I just fancied it” I said “You won’t fancy it so much when you get in the dressing room”


3 thoughts on “Manchester City v Reading FA Cup 3rd Round 1967/68

  1. I am a Manchester Citysupporter living in Manchester all of my life. This was the very first game I attended at Maine Rd where where my Farther took me I was aged 10 years and even though this is such along time ago the memories of my first visit to Maine Road are so special to me right down to that penalty miss any TC.

    Since that day I have followed Man City through good and bad times but that first game will always be a special memory to me.

    Thanks for publishing the match report that really brought the memories flooding back to me!

  2. 50 years ago this week My first ever visit to Maine Road. Aged 9 Recall Tony Coleman missing penalty Been a fanatic ever since!!!

  3. Dave Tromans…..Telford.
    51 years today was my first visit to Maine Rd, stooping through the turnstiles to look like a school boy at the Platt Lane end, 4 shillings (20p) entrance…..bargain.
    Next Sunday will be at the Etihad with my grandson for the Arsenal game. Feeling blessed, living the dream!!!!!!!

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