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23:26 24th February 2010

Report: Magnificent win for Royals

West Brom 2 (Koren 6, 47)
Reading 3 (Kebe 9, Howard 90+3, Sigurdsson 95)

Reading reached the quarter finals of the FA Cup for the first time in 83 years after an absolutely incredible extra time victory over West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns.

There was drama from start to finish, Robert Koren scoring after just six minutes but Jimmy Kebe equalising within three minutes to mark an incredible opening period.

Matt Mills then saw a great chance go begging, and a rare error from Adam Federici looked to have given Koren a winner - only for Kebe to supply Brian Howard with the chance to score a 90th minute equaliser. Credit for this goal must also go to manager Brian McDermott, who refused to buckle under pressure to make a substitution, and it proved a masterstroke from our man on the sideline.

Five minutes into extra time we went ahead for the first time in the game, and it ultimately proved to be decisive as Gylfi Sigurdsson's sensational goal from 22 yards settled the tie.

The Icelander had earlier hit the bar at 2-1, and he was one of a number of blue and white heroes on the night - so many mention; contributions from the likes of Jay Tabb, starting for the first time in a month and Alex Pearce, a very steady presence at the back as a second half substitute.

Jobi McAnuff was sent off for violent conduct after the final whistle, but it will not take the gloss off a quite wonderful evening. The Reading fans who were here saw a performance full of determination, effort and, above all, quality to send them into the last eight and a home tie against Aston Villa on Sunday 7th March.

West Brom (4-3-2-1): Carson (c); Zuiverloon, Mattock, Meite, Tamas; Mulumbu, Dorrans (Morrison 70), Koren; Cox, Moore (Cech 78); Bednar (Wood 39)
Subs: Kiely, Olsson, Brunt, Slory
Booked: Carson (timewasting 90), Cech (foul 108)

Reading (4-2-3-1): Federici; Griffin, Bertrand, Ingimarsson (c), Mills (Pearce 72); Howard, Tabb (Henry 120); Kebe, McAnuff, Sigurdsson; Church (Robson-Kanu 103)
Subs: Hamer, Matejovsky, Rasiak, Thorvaldsson
Booked: Ingimarsson (foul 59), Tabb (foul 90), Kebe (foul 119)
Sent off: McAnuff (violent conduct 120)

Attendance: 13,985

Referee: Lee Mason

Our starting XI
Reading made three changes from the team that played at Blackpool. Injury ruled out Jem Karacan and Brynjar Gunnarsson so Gylfi Sigurdsson and Jay Tabb came into the team. Zurab Khizanishvili was cup-tied so captain Ivar Ingimarsson returned after two games rested. Kalifa Cisse was also injured so missed out completely.

First half
The original tie took only nine seconds to see its first goal, and once again there was electricity at the start of this FA Cup encounter with two goals inside the first eleven minutes, as well as plenty of other goalmouth incident.

West Brom were first to draw blood, and Robert Korenhad already come close by the time he broke the deadlock on six minutes. Roman Bednar's skidding shot was palmed away by Federici, and Luke Moore was quickest on the rebound. Ryan Bertrand did brilliantly to hook it off the line, but Koren was on hand to finish well off the underside of the bar.

Reading could easily have rocked after a lively Albion start, but instead responded brilliantly and were level within less than three minutes through the in-form Jimmy Kebe.

Ivar Ingimarsson swept up well at the back, and found Jobi McAnuff wide on the left. The winger headed it on nicely, and Simon Church had made an excellent run in behind him. Our young Welshman expertly picked out Gylfi Sigurdsson, and his low shot was well saved by Scott Carson - only for Kebeto be in exactly the right spot and sidefoot home.

It could so easily have been 2-1 just moments after, Matt Mills putting a glorious headed chance wide from Sigurdsson's inswinging corner.

Bednar then had a good chance of his own but couldn't get a clear contact on Koren's cross, while the lively McAnuff also caused problems down the other end and saw a cracking cross desperately cleared.

Reading were working exceptionally hard to close the home side down, and on a number of occasions they forced the Baggies into mistakes; the home support getting a little restless as we hustled and harried all over the pitch.

On 35 minutes Sigurdsson and Kebe combined well to release the Malian down the right, and his cross found Church but he was crowded out at the front post.

Next to try his luck was Ivar Ingimarsson, and his effort from all of 35 yards was arrowing toward goal but Carson was ultimately able to see it wide. Not long afterwards Bednar was off through injury, Chris Wood on his place.

The last chance of the half saw Gabriel Tamas climb highest from a corner, but he could only plant an effort right at Federici. As the whistle went Reading would probably have been happier with their display - and could well have been ahead given Mills' excellent chance.

Second half
Incredibly, there was another early goal at the start of the second half and this time it went to the Baggies again. A throw in on the right found Koren, and his speculative shot would normally have been gathered by Federici with no problems, but inexplicably he allowed it to slip through his grasp and into the net low over the line.

The drama continued within seconds of the restart as Sigurdsson smashed a 20-yarder against the bar, McAnuff denied on the follow-up. So close to an immediate leveller.

Just before the hour Koren tried his luck in search of a third, and Federici palmed away, with Wood ambitiously looking for a penalty; supposedly fouled as he tried to follow in.

The game was nip and tuck, and with 20 minutes left Albion had a considerable stroke of good fortune inside their own box. Tamas misplaced a pass, and Church gave Sigurdsson a shooting chance. The Icelander's touch just let him down slightly, but he still got his shot away. Carson just about saved, and it spilled away from him - only to fall out of the reach of Church - he would surely have equalised.

Moments later Mills was withdrawn with a head injury, but it did not look too serious and perhaps more of a precaution; Alex Pearce on in his place. Pearce's one-time Reading Academy teammate Simon Cox then had a half chance on the volley, but skewed wide.

The home side looked a little nervous with only a one goal advantage, and with three minutes left Kebe was put in by a wonderful Sigurdsson pass, but his touch was too heavy and it ran away from him.

Inside the last two minutes of normal time Federici came up for a corner, and the set piece came out to Andy Griffin on the edge of the box. He caught his volley briliantly, but once again Carson got lucky as it bounced off his chest and to one of his teammates.

Four minutes of added time were indicated, and once again this incredible FA Cup run of ours had a sting in the tail. A hopeful ball was launched upfield, and Gianni Zuiverloon made a complete hash of it, only succeeding in giving it straight to Kebe in a great position. The Malian kept his cool as he advanced down the wing, and played it perfectly into the path of Brian Howard, who made no mistake with a touch and right-footed finish, prompting joyous scenes.

It was an incredible end to the 90 minutes, and our resilience and determination to stay in this competition simply cannot be underestimated.

Extra time - first period
Unbelievably, for the third time in the game, there was a goal within five minutes of the start of play - and this time it went to the team in orange.

Again West Brom gave the ball away in a poor area after Reading pressure, but how we made them pay with a brilliant goal. A miscue gave possession to Church in a great spot down the left, and he played a neat pass to teammate Sigurdsson. The Icelander had plenty to do, and curled an absolutely sublime goal into the corner of the net from 22 yards. It was a sensational finish past Carson, and two 'keepers of his quality would not have saved it.

Not long after we were inches away from scoring again, McAnuff finding himself with a clear run on goal and a two-against-two break. He did the right thing and delayed his pass to Church but just slipped at the last and his contact was affected, allowing the Baggies to mop up.

Reading were working their socks off, and Church rightly received a huge ovation from our supporters as he came off after 103 minutes of non-stop effort.

Extra time - second period
The Royals, backed by a very vocal away support, lined up for the final 15 minutes with their tails up, and the very impressive Pearce was very close with a glancing header from a Kebe cross that had Carson a mere spectator.

Reading were finding gaps in the Baggies' back line with surprising ease, and sub Hal Robson-Kanu was very close to finding McAnuff in the middle after a break, and then Kebe again did very well to scythe through the defence on his own, but Carson was out at his feet with a sliding tackle; a vital interception from the busy Baggies 'keeper.

As the clocked ticked into its 116th minute, Koren's deflected drive caused one or two flutters of the heart, but it thankfully dribbled wide for a corner. Carson came up for the set piece, and Youssuf Mulumbu's eventual drive also caught a Reading leg but fell straight into Federici's hands.

With the Baggies throwing caution to the wind, Kebe was sent clear on goal with 90 seconds left and had only Carson to beat. The England man was decisive though and slid out at our winger's feet to prevent a certain fourth.

And that was it, a wonderful win.

There were unsavoury scenes after full time, McAnuff shown a red card, seemingly for reacting as Mulumbu struck the ball in his direction. Our players and staff were then hindered from celebrating with our fans, but none of this will take the gloss off a truly magnificent evening and result.

Bravery, guts, determination and courage were all in abundance on a wonderful night in the Midlands, and Aston Villa now await in the quarter finals, our first venture into the last eight since way back in 1927.

Credit our players, staff and supporters for all playing their part in an historic night, and this FA Cup dream of ours remains very much alive. What an incredible journey.

    Data provided by Press Association