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Match Reports

Reading vs WBA

20 February 2016

Baggies beaten by brilliant Royals

A superb Reading performance saw Brian McDermott's men come from behind to knock Premier League West Brom out of the FA Cup and reach the quarter-finals of the competition with goals from Paul McShane, Michael Hector and Lucas Piazon!

Darren Fletcher had broken the deadlock with a low drive that skidded beyond the low dive of Ali Al Habsi. But Reading levelled when former Baggies defender Paul McShane got his glancing head to an inswinging Oliver Norwood free kick. And Reading took the lead with less than 20 minutes remaining, when another Norwood set piece was met by Michael Hector at the far post and a flailing Foster was unable to keep his header out.

Lucas Piazon added a third late one when Reading broke from their own half, the late substitute driving the ball past Ben Foster to seal the Royals' place in the quarter-finals!

Boss Brian McDermott made just two changes to the side that drew with Burnley here last weekend, bringing in Simon Cox for his first start since  and playing new signing Deniss Rakels up front for the first time. Matej Vydra was only fit enough for a place on the bench, while the cup-tied Yann Kermorgant missed out.

The Royals early chances came from left-sided crosses, first from Rakels whose delivery was just too deep for Hal Robson-Kanu in the middle, then from Obita but the ball pinballed away from danger.

Chris Brunt arrowed a free kick harmlessly over the bar at the other end, but some quick footwork from Robson-Kanu saw him skip between three West Brom players and scamper forward, delivering a cross which was aimed at Rakels but which was glanced behind for a corner.

That corner was cleared but recycled and Cox scrapped the ball out of the box to tee up McShane for a first time right-footed shot that whistled inches wide of the right post.

Hector went on a marauding run from midfield that ended with Quinn winning a free kick no the left, with half an hour played. Norwood swung it in and Foster had to punch clear of McShane's head in the middle.

Foster was called into more urgent action seven minutes later, when Gunter's cross from the right was glanced goalwards by Robson-Kanu and a flailing arm from the former Manchester United keeper was enough to turn it over the crossbar.

Reading had been the better side but a run from McClean in from the right side almost set up a chance for Salomon Rondon, but he scuffed his effort which dribbled through for Al Habsi to calmly gather.

Half-time: Reading 0 West Brom 0

Quick feet from Stephane Sessegnon saw the ball cut into the feet of Fletcher, but the midfielder spooned a difficult chance over the bar.

But Albion opened the scoring when Darren Fletcher recieved the ball in space inside the box, took a touch and then rifled low under the slide of Jake Cooper and beyond the outstretched arm of Al Habsi.

Reading looked to respond immediately and Robson-Kanu won a corner which was headed clear, then Rondon was penalised for a foul on McShane as he nodded a header towards goal only for Al Habsi to claw it away before the whistle had sounded.

Brian McDermott made a double substitution, bringing Ola John and Matej Vydra off the bench. And suddenly, Reading were level. Obita's dart forward was stopped illegally and an inswinging Norwood free kick was met by the head of former West Brom defender PaulMcShane - and Foster couldn't keep it out despite getting a touch to his close range glancing effort.

Robson-Kanu skewed an effort wide after Norwood had fed him out on the right side and the wide man had cut inside to pull the trigger. Norwood then tried his luck from distance but dragged his speculative effort well wide.

James McClean got above McShane to head a Chester cross wide, but then Ola John won a free kick at the other end of the pitch when Chester tripped the substitute. Norwood arced another lovely ball into the box and MichaelHector met it at the far post to nod Reading into the lead.

Ola John came within a whisker of adding a third when he cut inside from the left and arrowed a low effort inches wide of the bottom right corner. Then a second opportunity went begging after Robson-Kanu had cut in from the right and crossed low into the box, but John's first touch denied him a strike at goal before a covering defender came across to clear.

Albion began to throw the kitchen sink at the Royals box and twice came close to an equaliser. First Fletcher's flick on from a corner was met by the head of Berahino but somehow he failed to turn it on target, stooping six yards out. Then, the ball was whipped back in from the opposite side this time and Fletcher burst onto it to connect with a right-footed volley that thankfully was straight at Al Habsi who happily gobbled it up on his goalline.

Sessegnon smashed a right-footed effort high and wide, then Al Habsi punched clear of a crowded box, the offside flag going up against the Baggies defender who had won the header in the middle in the process.

In three minutes of injury time, a long throw into the Royals box was hacked clear by Gunter and John set Robson-Kanu away on the break. In acres of space he burst into the box but placed his effort just wide of the target.

The tie was won with a third moments later though. Another break begun by Ola John's ball in to Vydra at first saw the striker scurry to the corner flag in an attempt to eat up the final few seconds of time. But seeing men up with him in the middle, the substitute pulled it back to John who squared it for late replacement Lucas Piazon. He controlled it and then rifled low past Foster to seal the cup win and a place in the quarter-finals!

Full-time: Reading 3 West Brom 1

Reading: Al Habsi, Gunter, Obita, McShane (c), Cooper, Hector, Norwood, Quinn (Piazon 90), Robson-Kanu, Rakels (John 59), Cox (Vydra 59).
Subs: Bond, Ferdinand, Piazon, Barrett, McCleary.

West Brom: Foster, Chester, Evans, Olsson, Brunt, Fletcher (c), Sandro (Pritchard 82), McClean, Sessegnon, Berahino, Rondon.
Subs: Myhill, Gardner, Yacob, Pocognoli, Lambert, Anichebe.
Yellow: Evans

Referee: Mr A Taylor
Att: 19,566 (3,821 away)

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