Report: Royals safely through
- Royals seal place in second round of Capital One Cup
- Goals from Pogrebnyak, Blackman and Tanner enough to clinch victory
- 19-year-old Academy product Craig Tanner's goal comes on his professional debut
- 12 Academy products named in matchday squad
The Royals safely secured a spot in the second round of the Capital One Cup with a 3-1 win over Newport County on Tuesday evening.
Pavel Pogrebnyak opened the scoring with a majestic 25-yard lob in the first half, before Nick Blackman seemed to put the tie to bed as he scored a great individual effort three minutes before the end.
However the League Two outfit had been stubborn throughout and caused some hearts to flutter deep into four mintues of stoppage time, as subsitute Shaun Jeffers headed home from a corner.
But the evening would end on a positive note for Nigel Adkins' men. Twelve Academy products had been named in the matchday squad for the tie and one of them would wrap up the victory. 19-year-old striker Craig Tanner was earning his professional debut as he replaced Blackman in stoppage time - and kept his cool to bundle home after good work by Ryan Edwards.
Reading: McCarthy; Gunter (C), Cummings, Morrison, Pearce; Hector, Obita, Blackman (Tanner 89), Taylor (Akpan 67), Cox (Edwards 80), Pogrebnyak
Booked: Cox (Ungentlemanly Conduct 51)
Newport County AFC: Pidgeley, Jackson, Feely, Jones, Yakubu (C), Chapman, Howe (Jeffers 79), O'Connor (Jolley 70), Willmott, Klukowski (Minshull 70), Byrne
Subs: Thomas, Minshull, Jeffers, Hughes, Flynn, Jolley, Parker
Booked: Feely (Foul 42), Jackson (Foul 63)
Referee: Mr J Linington
Attendance: 6,459 (805)
Newport showed from the off that they were determined to recreate the 'giant killing' feeling that saw the League Two outfit shock Brighton 3-1 away from home in the League Cup last season, as a stinging shot from Mark Byrne was palmed away by Alex McCarthy five minutes in, before Aaron O'Connor also tested the Royals 'keeper.
At the other end Chris Gunter's cross almost fell to full debutant Simon Cox at the far post, only for a late deflection to catch the forward off guard, skimming off his boot and away from danger.
In truth the home side were struggling to find their feet - and it took a piece of magic from their big Russian frontman to open the scoring twenty minutes in.
Pavel Pogrebnyak broke the offside trap to chase a bouncing ball down the left wing and with goalkeeper Lenny Pidgeley stranded, flighted a quite superb 25-yard lob over the former Watford stopper and into the net.
Alex Pearce headed a Jordan Obita corner over the bar in the 35th minute as the visitors refused to buckle under pressure, creating a chance themselves moments later as former Royals triallist Yan Klukowski nodded wide.
Then controversy. Pogrebnyak did well to battle past Kevin Feely to run through on goal, only for the defender to bundle him to the floor. A red card looked likely, but only a yellow was shown - and Nigel Adkins' men had to do with a free-kick outside the box. Obita drifted the set piece over the bar. Just a one goal lead to play with at the break.
Newport started the second period with a good chance a minute after the restart. Number ten Aaron O'Connor looked odds on to find the target from ten yards with his head, but couldn't test Alex McCarthy.
Nick Blackman then found time and space to run at the County backline, only to see his effort from 20 yards tipped over the bar acrobatically by Pidgeley.
The one time Sheffield United striker had an even better opportunity as he attempted to finish off a Royals counter attack with twenty minutes left on the clock, but after cutting inside could only fire way wide.
There was an opportunity for a sensational strike for substitute Hope Akpan ten minutes later, as Pidgeley scampered off his line only to scuff a clearance out to the Everton youth product on the halfway line. However with the 'keeper stranded, Reading's midfielder could only chip a 40 yard effort over the bar.
Potentially, nerves could be settling in as the dying embers of the game approached, with only a one goal lead to show for the home side's efforts - but Nick Blackman ensured they were wiped away in the 87th minute.
The forward showed great skill and pace to beat two men from the right before finishing well into the bottom corner - a top individual effort.
There was a consolation for the visitors deep into four minutes of injury time as substitute Shaun Jeffers headed home emphatically from a corner, but there was to be still time for Reading to regain their two goal lead.
19-year-old Academy product Craig Tanner had been introduced for his professional debut moments before the Welsh outfit's goal, and it was to be a night to remember for the promising forward.
Fellow U18s graduate Ryan Edwards flicked the ball through to the frontman, who just managed to slide the ball under Pidgeley for the last act of the game. A great way to seal passage to the second round on a night where 12 Academy products were named in the Royals' 18.