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14:43 23rd January 2010

Report: Royals continue cup magic

Reading 1 (Sigurdsson 88)
Burnley 0

The Royals progressed to the Fifth Round of the FA Cup with a well-deserved 1-0 win over Premier League side Burnley at Madejski Stadium this Saturday.

Reading performed well, especially in the second half, but left it late to secure victory when Gylfi Sigurdsson guided home an excellent finish after an incisive pass from the impressive Andy Griffin.

Adam Federici, Ryan Bertrand and Matt Mills were among a number of stand-out performers for Brian McDermott's side, and everyone played their part in claiming another Premier League scalp.

Reading (4-4-2): Federici; Griffin, Bertrand, Ingimarsson (c), Mills; Gunnarsson (Kebe 74), Karacan, McAnuff, Sigurdsson, Church (Long 64), Rasiak (Thorvaldsson 84)
Subs: Hamer, Pearce, Cisse, Howard
Yellow: Mills

Burnley (4-3-2-1): Jensen; Mears, McCann, Edgar, Duff; Alexander (c), Gudjonsson (Blake 85), McDonald; Eagles, Elliott; Thompson (Paterson HT)
Subs: Carlisle, Rodriguez, Guerrero, Penny, Easton
Yellow: McCann, Eagles.

Referee: A D'Urso

Att: 12,910 (1,070 away)

First Half
Brian McDermott fielded ten players from the line-up that triumphed at Anfield ten days previously, with Kalifa Cisse the only one to miss out - making way for Andy Griffin to make his home debut.

Brynjar Gunnarsson returned to the fold in central midfield, full of confidence no doubt after a spectacular performance against Rafa Benitez's side in the last round.

Brian Laws made three changes to his side that were defeated 3-0 at Old Trafford last time out, with Steve Thompson the only recognised striker in the first XI.

Grzegorz Rasiak was in the thick of it early on, meekly clipping wide a Gylfi Sigurdsson cross inside the first three minutes before heading over the bar after wonderful work from Gunnarsson had allowed Jobi McAnuff to curl in a cross from the wing.

The lively looking Sigurdsson forced a save out of Brian Jensen after twenty minutes, jinking in from the left hand side before zipping a shot towards the centre of the goal from 20 yards.

Rasiak was again at the centre of things moments later as he went down in the box under the challenge of Michael Duff, but saw his half-hearted penalty appeals waved away by referee Andy D'Urso.

Gylfi again caused panic with a run at the Clarets' backline 19 minutes before the break, but this time crashed a left footed range-finder over the bar.

In truth the first period was pretty uneventful, though despite the lack of clear cut chances Brian McDermott's men could claim to have dominated possession.

Second half
Whatever was said at the interval certainly appeared to spur the home side on, as Simon Church stung the palms of Jensen on the turn, before Matt Mills headed over the resulting corner.

Graham Alexander dragged a volley wide nine minutes in the half, a shot which was the visitors' first notable effort of the game.

Like London buses the second wasn't far away, as a neat one-two involving Chris Eagles created space on the flank, before the former United midfielder crossed into the danger zone. Joey Gudjonsson got a foot to it, but this time Federici reacted brilliantly to tip out of danger.

Another lull in proceedings followed, however a flashpoint came out of nowhere on 70 minutes, as the home side were denied a very strong looked penalty claim. Brilliant work by substitute Shane Long reversed the ball to McAnuff, but after getting in behind the Burnley full back the Royals' midfielder was seemingly brought down inside the box.

The majority of the stadium looked round expectantly, but once more Mr D'Urso waved away fervent protests. Whilst the furore was still echoing around the area Sigurdsson found plenty of space in the box to meet a cross from Ryan Bertrand, but headed wide with the goal gaping.

At the other end Federici had to be alert once more to get a hand to Martin Paterson's awkward bouncing strike, before pulling off a world class save from the resulting corner.

It was turning into an afternoon for the 'keepers, as Mills saw his towering header denied by a sharp Jensen save in the 79th minute.

Not wanting to be left out fellow centre half Ivar Ingimarsson also got in on the offensive action, taking advantage of an awkward deflection inside the Clarets box - but firing over the bar on the spin.

Perhaps it needed someone more known for their scoring touch to win it for Reading, and in Sigurdsson the Royals had the ideal candidate.

The club's top scorer has shown a remarkable knack of finding the net from all over the pitch this season and continued the trend with just 120 seconds left on the clock. The Icelandic youngster latched on to an astute Andy Griffin through ball, before squeezing a shot past the despairing glove of Jensen to seal a place in the Fifth Round.

Shane Long almost added to the tally with a well struck volley midway through stoppage time, but just the one goal would prove to be enough as that winning feeling returned to Madejski Stadium.

It was a hard-fought but fully deserved win, and we more than matched our opponents from a higher division. We showed attacking intent, were clearly determined to win the game and were rewarded for our bravery with that late goal.

McDermott can be very pleased with his team's display, and they go into an important League game at Sheffield United with a spring in their step.

    Data provided by Press Association