Q.P.R 2 (Hoilett 15, Cisse 72)
Reading 3 (Gorkss 17, Shorey 76, Pogrebnyak 82)
The Royals ran out 3-2 winners in a scintillating Capital One Cup tie at Loftus Road on Wednesday evening, with Pavel Pogrebnyak scoring the decisive strike in a tie that will live long in the memory.
Junior Hoilett had opened the scoring for the home side, weaving into the area before firing into the far corner - before Kaspars Gorkss evened things up against his old club with a bullet header.
A stunning 25-yard strike from Djibril Cisse put Mark Hughes' men back in front, but just four minutes later Nicky Shorey levelled the game once more in equally spectacular fashion - dipping a free-kick off the underside of the crossbar.
It was left to the Russian international to fire McDermott's men into the next round, as he brilliantly back-heeled past Cesar after good work from Jay Tabb and Noel Hunt.
There was drama in injury time as Pogrebnyak won a penalty in front of the travelling support, but even as two time Serie A goalkeeper of the year Cesar saved well from the spot - referee Roger East's final whistle would signal a fine win for Reading.
Reading: McCarthy, Cummings, Shorey, Mariappa (Morrison 78), Gorkss, Karacan, Tabb, Robson-Kanu, Kebe (McCleary 70), Hunt, Pogrebnyak
Subs not used: Taylor, Gunter, McAnuff, Church, Le Fondre
Booked: Kebe (foul 61)
QPR: Cesar, Hill, Mbia, Park (C) (Zamora 67) , Cisse, Mackie, Granero, Onouha, Dyer (Nelson 65), Hoilett, Faurlin (Diakite 88)
Subs not used: Green, Derry, Wright-Phillips, Ehmer
Booked: Nbia (Foul 27)
Referee: Mr R East
Attendance: 11,562 (1,495)
It was the home side that created the first opening, as a visionary pass from Esteban Granero found the overlapping Kieron Dyer - whose cross-come-shot sped across goal, but somehow evaded all on-rushing forwards.
It was clear at that point that Mark Hughes' men would pose a stern threat with their pace and trickery, and that fact was forced home fifteen minutes in as Junior Hoilett scored a spectacular opener.
The former Blackburn man weaved from the left hand side into the area, before finishing brilliantly inside the far post.
Wednesday evening in North London, however, had that feel of a special cup tie under the lights - and the Royals equalised almost instantly.
It was former QPR defender Kaspars Gorkss who got it, heading home convincingly from Nicky Shorey's free-kick. The giant centre half kept respectfully calm as the net bulged, drawing a warm round of applause from the home crowd.
Blinking was a risk at Loftus Road as the action came thick and fast - next up Djibril Cisse thundering a header in at goal, only to see McCarthy brilliantly punch away from goal.
Reading certainly looked back to their old selves - with Tabb and Karacan constantly haranguing the R's midfield, and Kebe providing a useful outlet on the right.
That Ranger pace was always a threat however - as Cisse broke clear on the half hour mark, only to be put off sufficiently by the back-tracking Karacan, forcing him to steer an effort wide.
There were counter attacking opportunity for the Royals too - more tigerish play from 'Jemba' released Robson-Kanu minutes later, but with a four on two advantage for the away side, the Academy product's slide rule pass couldn't quite find Pogrebnyak.
Mackie somehow squandered a golden chance to take the lead five minutes before the break, latching onto a great through ball from Hoilett - before screwing a shot wide under pressure in the six yard box.
The second half had a fair old billing to live up to, and Cisse couldn't quite live up to his earlier efforts shortly after the restart - as he hacked a long range effort high and wide of McCarthy's goal.
The Royals started brightly though - with Robson-Kanu scuttling down the left before sending in a decent ball to Pogrebnyak, who controlled well before seeing his snap shot blocked wide by a QPR defender.
The relentless pace and tempo was there to see again, as with 51 minutes on the clock McCarthy saved well from Mackie - before Park fired wide from the edge of the area.
Reading's vocal supporters thought they had the lead moments later, as Noel Hunt went down in the area - and as the referee waved played on, Pogrebnyak arrived late into the area to bundle home.
A foul had apparently been given against the Royals, though it was unclear what for.
Radio reporters were having a hard time keeping up with proceedings, as McCarthy again made an outstanding stop in the next attack - this time kicking away Park's right footed effort.
Q.P.R's second would eventually come, and in spectacular style. Gorkss' clearance cannoned fortunately into the path of Cisse, who - a good 25 yards from goal and under some pressure, slammed a breath taking effort into the top corner.
This was the Hoops versus the Hoops however....anything you can do, I can do better stuff. Tabb was felled from a similar distance to where Cisse had just rocketed the ball home, and Shorey stepped up to dip a magical free-kickoff the underside of the crossbar and into the net. Past Champions League winner Julio Cesar, no less.
Reading's third was imminent - and it was class of a different kind that put the visitors in front. Jay Tabb wormed his way into the box from the left, before sliding a cross to Hunt - whose touch allowed Pogrebnyak to backheel the ball past Cesar and send the 1,495 Royals fans into raptures.
The game was open before that quickfire double, and as Hughes' men pushed for an opener in the final five minutes - it was madness.
McDermott's side broke up a Rangers attack to counter through Karacan, and Hunt was involved once more as he crossed for Robson-Kanu, who sliced a shot wide.
Five minutes injury time was shown from the touchline, but still Reading refused to relent - as a supreme show of strength from Pogrebnyak resulted in the Russian tumbling in the box, and Mr East pointing to the spot.
Pavel himself stepped up from 12 yards, but was denied by two-time Serie A goalkeeper of the year Cesar - who palmed away low to his left.
That meant more nail biting for everyone supporting the men in yellow, as with seconds remaining Cisse fired into a crowded box - only to see substitute Sean Morrison hurl himself at the floor to block and clear.