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Past matches: A thorn in Baggies’ side

18 February 2016

Looking back at past victories over West Brom

In the past, fixtures between the Royals and the Baggies have been few and far between in the league, but the magic of the FA Cup has kept this fixture alive, with four of the last eight meetings coming courtesy of that fabled competition.

Ahead of yet another FA Cup encounter with West Brom at the weekend, and with a spot in the quarter-finals at stake, we take a look back at past victories over the Hawthorns side… 

Premier League, 12th January 2013, Reading 3-2 West Brom

2-0 down and with only eight minutes left on the clock, things were looking bleak. West Brom had been an assured force all game, with a brace from powerhouse Romelu Lukaku looking to have secured all three points for visitors – but Brian McDermott’s side weren’t about to lay down without a fight.

Garath McCleary’s deep cross found Jimmy Kebe arriving at the far post, and as his header found the back of the net, Madejski Stadium lifted of its feet in anticipation of yet another late comeback. Super sub Adam Le Fondre then tied the game with his spot kick with just two minutes of time to play. Then the stadium erupted as in added time, the big Russian Pavel Pogrebnyak found himself on the end of a centre to steer the ball home past Ben Foster, securing a much needed three points for a Reading side looking to stave off relegation.

The FA Cup, 8th January 2011, Reading 1-0 West Brom

Our most recent FA Cup meeting with the Baggies came five seasons ago in the third round at Madejski Stadium – a sole goal separated the teams at the final whistle.  Our Premier League visitors had other concerns on arrival in Berkshire – five straight top-flight defeats had taken the Midlands club down to 16th in the table, just two points off the relegation places.

Ian Harte wasn’t far away from scoring when he curled a free-kick wide, and Noel Hunt forced an acrobatic save from Boaz Myhill with a powerful header.  But then Baggies defender Gianni Zuiverloon found himself trailing in the wake of Shane Long shortly before half-time – the Irish striker latched on to a flick by countryman Hunt and steered in the only goal of the game, taking his tally to seven in six matches for the Championship side.  Jonas Olsson was subbed on for the visitors – but two yellow cards and a subsequent red in the 60th minute made it easier for the Royals to safely secure passage.  It prompted a run to the quarter-final, with Stevenage and Everton being toppled by Brian McDermott’s men in the next two rounds.

The FA Cup, 24th February 2010, West Brom 2-3 Reading

We had a quarter-final appearance the year before too – the Baggies proved the final hurdle on the way there.  Liverpool were the vanquished side in the third round – Shane Long’s header in extra-time in the replay secured a 2-1 win – and then Gylfi Sigurdsson netted an 87th-minute goal for McDermott’s men in a 1-0 against Burnley in round four.  West Brom – who were sitting at the summit of the Championship – had to twice fight back from behind in the fifth-round meeting at Madejski Stadium to force a replay; strikes by Jimmy Kebe and Simon Church were answered in turn by Robert Koren and Joe Mattock, with Long and Youssouf Mulumbu each being shown red. 

In the replay at The Hawthorns, the Baggies led 2-1 through two Koren efforts until the final minute of the match – Reading showed heart and desire until the very end, allowing Brian Howard stabbed in a centre to force extra-time in dramatic circumstances.  That set the scene for Sigurdsson to curl an unstoppable effort past Scott Carson, booking Reading’s place amongst the last eight.

The FA Cup, 17th January 2006, Reading 3-2 West Brom

Our FA Cup meeting ten seasons ago with West Brom was just the second time we had drawn the Midlands club in the history of the competition (the previous coming in 1947/48) – that feels hard to believe, given that we have had our name pulled out on the other side of the draw on three occasions since.  Technically, just four league positions separated the two teams going into the first meeting at The Hawthorns – however that’s because Reading were 10 points clear at the top of the Championship, and West Brom’s defeat to neighbouring Aston Villa had seen them slip to 17th in the Premier League, just two points from the drop-zone.

The initial meeting remained goalless until the final ten minutes; Zoltan Gera put the hosts ahead from the spot when Geoff Horsfield drew a foul in the box from Chris Makin, and two minutes later Kevin Doyle equalised – again from the spot – after Martin Albrechtsen handled in the area.  That forced a replay 10 days later at Madejski Stadium, and Richard Chaplow gave the guests a two-goal advantage shortly after the half-hour.  But Leroy Lita would be the hero of the hour – finishing stylishly after a John Oster cross, before lobbing Chris Kirkland for the equaliser.  His hat-trick was completed in the third minute of extra-time – James Harper couldn’t get a clean shot away, but the Royals hit-man slotted in the loose ball to see the Royals into round four.

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