David 'Spud' Thornhill has once again visited the darkest recesses of his Canary mind to bring you the very best anecdotes from 112 years of Norwich v Reading fixtures. Featuring goals, terrible loos and Grant Holt.
With City’s season as good as over and Reading firmly in the play-off picture, it is the Royals who have more to play for at Carrow Road this Saturday. It is also Reading who have the better head-to-head record, with 41 victories, compared to our 31, from 92 games.
The first meeting came as both clubs entered the Southern League, meeting at Elm Park on 16th September 1905. The hosts won 3-1.
3 years later, still in the Southern League, Reading inflicted their heaviest defeat on Norwich by pulling down our pants in a 7-1 shellacking. The second half was particularly bad as we conceded 6. Is it reassuring to know that so it has been, it will be again? Or does it make you even more miserable?
That very same season, the clubs were drawn together in the FA Cup with Norwich being drawn at home. Oddly Norwich's (then) new home at The Nest didn't have the required pitch size, so, in a manner that suggested the FA’s grasp of English geography was rudimentary at best, the tie was switched to Chelsea's Stamford Bridge. After a goalless draw it went to a replay, this time a smidgen further west in Reading. Another draw, this time 1-1, saw the tie go to a second replay, this time Villa Park (obviously). Finally, and probably bored of all the travelling City won 3-2.
Division Three South beckoned for both clubs in 1920/21. The Canaries didn’t find life in the Football League all that easy initially (or since - boom tish) and took 14 games to finally seal a win. This famous triumph came at Reading’s Elm Park home, where a George Travers goal clinched a 1-0 away win. It sparked something of a run and we won again the following week, again against Reading, this time doubling our score and sending them home from the Nest defeated 2-0. Such audacity clearly irked the Berkshire men and they duly beat us 11 times in our next 12 visits.
After Norwich won promotion in 1960, it would be another 36 years until the clubs would meet again, finally being reunited over Christmas 1995, when in making up for last time, the game finished 3-3. Liverpool loanee Jan Molby making his debut for Norwich.
On 3rd May 1998, Reading hosted Norwich for the final ever game at Elm Park. Already relegated, Reading lost 1-0 with Norwich's Craig Bellamy having the honour of scoring the last ever goal at the venue. We have a habit of ruining goodbyes don’t we Jeremy Goss? AlongComeNorwich.
Our very own Jon Punt attended that match and can confirm the Elm Park toilets were a disgrace. The sloped trough style urinal compromised of roof tiles on top of bricks. Good job they moved really.
Norwich's first visit to their new home, Madjeski Stadium was in September 2002. We appeared to love their new gaff and led 2-0 through Paul McVeigh and Phil Mulryne in only the 5th minute. Content, we eased off and toyed with them without scoring for the next 85 minutes before packing up and going home.
The following season, Norwich travelled to Reading on Easter Monday knowing 3 more points would be a significant step towards promotion. In a good advert for the luck being with you when you’re having a good season, a long throw was smacked clear by a Reading defender only to slam into referee Neale Barry and dropping kindly at the feet of Phil Mulryne, who duly swept home the winner and sending the 4,500 travelling City fans ballistic.
In 2010/11, the clubs would play out another 3-3 draw in Berkshire, but this time at Madjeski Stadium. Norwich raced into a 3-1 lead before referee Michael Oliver harshly sent off Grant Holt for an innocuous foul on Ian Harte. Down to 10, City were unable to hold on and Reading came back and got the draw. Holt would get his revenge in the return fixture as he thundered past Harte to bundle home a dramatic last minute winner.
During 2014/15 season, as they had 9 times before Reading done the double over Norwich by winning both games 2-1. Only the mighty Plymouth Argyle have achieved more doubles over Norwich, with 12.