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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
16:53 8th January 2011

Report: Long causes cup upset

Reading 1 (Long 41)
West Brom 0

The Royals earned yet another Premier League scalp in the FA Cup thanks to a first half goal from our red hot striker Shane Long.

Reading were on top for the majority of the game, and once again a clinical finish from 23-year-old Long earned a victory for his team - he is in the form of his life at the moment.

Another example of Long's dominance came early in the second half, Jonas Olsson sent off for two hacks on the Irishman in the space of 15 minutes - Olsson had only come on at half time to help deal with Long's threat but the Premier League side had no answer for him.

It could have been more but for a great save by Boaz Myhill from Noel Hunt's header, and Ian Harte was very close with a free kick that had Myhill stranded.

In fairness to the Baggies they did come close on a few occasions, as you would expect from a top flight outfit; Ishmael Miller missing a good chance and seeing a very good penalty claimed waved away, while James Morrison headed wide and clipped the bar.

The Reading defence was excellent throughot, and credit must go to Shaun Cummings for an excellent display in his first game since back in October.

We progress to the fourth round in fine style, and Brian McDermott's great relationship with the FA Cup continues apace and we look forward to further excitement in this great competition; our love affair having been very much rekindled.

Reading (4-4-2): Federici; Cummings, Harte, Mills (c), Pearce; Karacan, Leigertwood, Kebe, McAnuff; Hunt (Robson-Kanu 86), Long (Church 75)
Subs: McCarthy, Ingimarsson, Howard, Tabb, Antonio

West Brom (4-2-3-1): Myhill; Hurst, Cech, Scharner (Olsson HT), Zuiverloon; Dorrans, Jara; Barnes (Thomas 63), Brunt, Morrison; Miller (Bednar 52)
Subs: Carson, Shorey, Cox, Fortune
Booked: Dorrans (dissent 62)
Sent off: Olsson (fouls 46 and 60)

Attendance: 13,005 (2,272 away)

Ref: J Moss

Starting XI team news
The Royals made one change to their starting XI, Shaun Cummings replacing the injured Andy Griffin. Ivar Ingimarsson was on the bench, his first involvement this season, Zurab Khizanishvili missing out through injury.

First half
Ishmael Miller had a good opportunity for the visitors in the opening moments, getting a sight of goal after Mikele Leigertwood's tackle fortunately put the ball in his path. The striker took half a touch, but couldn't get it out of his feet and Adam Federici smothered.

Miller then had an excellent shout for a penalty after showing good strength to get into the area, but the referee deemed Ian Harte's challenge to be fair as the frontman went to ground. After the game, boss Brian McDermott told the press a spot kick could well have been given, but the linesman was in a good position and kept his flag by his side.

Harte was then very close to an opener for the Royals, curling a delicious free kick just a couple of feet wide of the post with Boaz Myhill beaten.

Myhill then made a stunning save to deny Noel Hunt's excellent header, the Irishman doing very well to direct Jobi McAnuff's delivery goalwards.

Miller was lively down the other end, and had a goal disallowed for a foul on Federici before putting another effort wide with his left foot on the angle.

The game was flowing from each end, and good play from Shaun Cummings resulted in a tough chance for Jimmy Kebe but he sliced the dropping ball wide.

Our wingers were becoming more prominent as the half went on, and a Kebe cross then a McAnuff shot caused two almighty scrambles, Shane Long very close to turning home the loose ball.

Long then broke the deadlock a few minutes before half time, getting on the end of Hunt's excellent flick-on and finishing with real aplomb low past Myhill for 1-0.

There was still time for McAnuff to fire a free kick at the wall, and we went in at the interval pleased with our opening 45 minutes.

Second half
West Brom brought on Jonas Olsson for Paul Scharner at half time, and within seconds he was booked for a late challenge on the irrepressible Long. Jem Karacan then tried his luck from outside the box but his effort was always rising.

James Morrison was then very close to giving the visitors an equaliser, heading a good chance wide of the far post before he curled an excellent effort onto the top of the bar.

In between Morrison's efforts the Baggies had to make a second change, Roman Bednar on for the injured Miller.

Centre half Olsson had been brought on at half time to give the Baggies a better chance of defending against Long - but he only lasted 15 minutes and was shown a second yellow card on the hour mark for hacking down the in-form Irishman.

Graham Dorrans was then booked in slightly comic fashion for dissent as the Premier League side threatened to lose their focus.

We then had a decent shout for handball inside the box but it would have been harsh as the ball just bounced up wildly and hit Bednar's arm without any intent whatsoever.

As the game hit the 70-minute mark, a nice pass from Long put McAnuff into the box, but the ball kindly fell for the Albion.

With 15 minutes to go Long came off with what looked a minor knock, receiving a massive ovation from the Reading faithful. He really is in the form of his life at the moment.

Down the other end Bednar wanted a penalty after a tussle with Alex Pearce but there was nothing doing.

The expected onslaught from the Baggies simply never came, and we held out very well in the closing stages. All of our defenders played their part, but for Shaun Cummings to come in and put in such an excellent performance in his first game since October was very impressive indeed.

When the final whistle came it confirmed our progression to the fourth round in fine style, and Brian McDermott's great relationship with the FA Cup continues apace.

After knocking out Liverpool, Burnley and the Baggies last season, we have a fantastic record in this competition and Brian McDermott's approach to the FA Cup shows just how much the competition still has to offer. Long may it continue!


    Data provided by Press Association