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Match Reports

Match Report : 24/01/2015

24 January 2015

Hal fires last gasp winner!

  • Powerful Jones header opens scoring
  • Norwood levels with pinpoint free-kick
  • Robson-Kanu scores 88th minute winner
  • Chalobah makes Royals debut

The Royals came from behind to earn a deserved place in the Fifth Round of the FA Cup thanks to substitute Hal Robson-Kanu's late winner against Cardiff City.

Kenwyne Jones first half header had given the home side the lead at the break, but Oliver Norwood levelled with a wonderful free kick just after the hour.

Reading dominated the second half and looked like the only side capable of winning the tie, and so it proved when Welsh international Robson-Kanu deftly turned Obita's cross past Simon Moore.

Steve Clarke's side were well worthy of their win and could have scored more, Moore notably denying Robson-Kanu with a header moments before the winner, but 2-1 was enough to take Reading into the last sixteen.

Cardiff City: Moore, Fabio, Malone, Turner (Connolly 43), Morrison, Whittingham, Gunnarsson, Harris (Macheda 85), Noone, Jones, Revell (Adeyemi 70).
Subs: Wilson, John, Ralls, O’Sullivan.
Yellow: Turner, Whittingham.

Reading: Federici, Gunter (Kelly 36), Obita, Hector, Pearce (c), Chalobah, Norwood (Cooper 89), Williams, McCleary, Blackman (Robson-Kanu 82), Pogrebnyak.
Subs: Andersen, Karacan, Taylor, Cox.

First Half

The first real opening fell to Reading feet and involved some neat passing on the edge of the Cardiff box, 11 minutes into the match. Chalobah slid a lovely pass back to Norwood in space on the edge of the area, but Norwood's first time effort curled just wide of the top right corner.

City's first effort at goal came from a Peter Whittingham free kick that arced towards the far post but was watched wide by Adam Federici.

Simon Moore did well to parry a powerful drive from Garath McCleary, pushing it behind for a corner. Then McCleary almost released Pogrebnyak, but Morrison won the foot race for the ball and was able to clear the danger.

Federici had to react well to push away a low, skidding effort from Kenwyne Jones after the striker had turned inside his man to find a yard to fire a shot away, but Jones wasn't to be denied minutes later.

A corner from the left was met by a bullet header from Jones who thundered the ball past Federici and the diving Norwood on the line to hand the hosts a 26th minute lead.

Reading almost found an equaliser when a free kick was taken quickly out to Blackman on the left, who ghosted past his man and into the box. He cut the ball back for Norwood, whose strike was half charged down, the ball pinballed free but Moore did enough to keep out Pogrebnyak's stabbed effort and Cardiff hacked it clear.

Chris Gunter had to hobble off to be replaced by Stephen Kelly soon after, and Nick Blackman tried his luck from range but arrowed high over the crossbar from the edge of the area in the final few minutes of the half.

In the first of four minutes of injury time, Blackman made more progress down the left but his low cross couldn't be controlled by Chalobah and Cardiff took a slender lead into the dressing room.

Second Half

The Royals started the second half on the front foot and came close to levelling when Norwood's deflected 25-yard drive looped high towards the City goal, but Moore tipped the ball over his crossbar and behind.

Norwood tried again with a first time effort from similar range, the ball this time skidding just wide, then Blackman's floated cross had to be chested back to the goalkeeper by Scott Malone as Danny Williams scurried towards it.

Pavel Pogrebnyak was denied a penalty as he was pulled back when trying to connect with an inswinging Obita corner on the hour but the big Russian won a free kick on the edge of the box moments later that led to the Royals' equaliser.

Norwood and Obita lined it up and it was Norwood who struck it, wrongfooting the goalkeeper by arcing the ball over the wall and inside the bottom left corner for his first goal in a Royals shirt.

And with 15 minutes left, the visitors were making all the running and had a half chance to take the lead. Obita crossed from the left flank and the ball fell behind Blackman, who tried to hook a boot around it but couldn't direct it on target.

Blackman then did brilliantly to turn away from two men in midfield and find Obita with a lovely crossfield pass. But the left-back drilled an effort in at the near post that Moore gathered comfortably.

Craig Noone dispossessed Chalobah in midfield and scampered forward in a rare Cardiff break, but he dragged a shot well wide.

And the attacking play was back up the other end as Obita crossed for Kelly who, finding himself in a forward position, got his head to the ball only for Moore to mop up on his line.

Hal Robson-Kanu was introduced for the Royals, while Federico Macheda came on for the hosts as both teams looked to nick a winner.

And Robson-Kanu came so close to just that when he won a near post header from Norwood's corner, only for Moore to produce a brilliant instinctive save to keep City in it.

However, the Welsh international did put Steve Clarke's men into the lead with two minutes of the ninety remaining. Obita's cross was delivered into the box and Robson-Kanu produced a lovely near post flick to loop the ball over Moore and into the back of the net.

Cardiff pressed for an equaliser, desperate to keep their name in the hat. Noone drove high over the bar from distance, while Jake Cooper came off the bench to head a couple of crosses clear of the Royals area. But Reading never looked like losing their grip on a place in the Fifth Round!

A great comeback and the cup adventure continues!

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