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Match Reports

Owls end our FA Cup campaign at Hillsborough

Royals left to rue missed chances and individual errors at the back in Fourth Round defeat.

26 January 2018

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The Royals were punished for missed opportunities in front of goal and individual errors at the back as Sheffield Wednesday earned a place in the Fifth Round with a 3-1 scoreline.

  • Dawson saves in early one on one with Dave Edwards
  • Nuhiu breaks the deadlock against the run of play with low drive under Jaakkola
  • Dawson makes superb save from Bodvarsson before Nuhiu taps home a low cross for 2-0
  • Bacuna is denied by the woodwork before Boyd capitalises on a miscommunication at the back to score a third
  • Substitute Sam Smith scores a consolation as he slides onto a ball on the goalline.

Royals boss Jaap Stam started Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and Yann Kermorgant together for the first time, while also drafting in Anssi Jaakkola, Leandro Bacuna, Garath McCleary, Roy Beerens, Pelle Clement and Dave Edwards into his starting line-up. Sam Smith was fit enough to take a place on the substitutes bench.

The first chance of the game was a very good one. Bacuna delayed a pass from midfield to wait and find the run of Dave Edwards in behind the Owls' back line. He was in on goal and only had Cameron Dawson to beat, and the midfielder took a touch towards goal and took aim only for Dawson to save with his body.

Moments later a loose pass from the hosts landed kindly at the feet of Clement and edging towards the penalty box he was cynically dragged back by Pelupessy who was shown only a yellow card for the foul. Kermorgant's set piece struck an encroaching Wednesday wall and the home side survived.

Reading were in command, comfortable on the ball at the back and making incisive runs in the final third, while Wednesday couldn't get a foothold. Bodvarsson got some space to cross from the right with 20 minutes gone and his delivery was met by a scuffed volley from Kermorgant who couldn't force a save from Dawson in what was a very difficult chance.

Wednesday had their first shot at goal from 25 yards out, Pelupessy's speculative effort sailing harmlessly into the stand behind Anssi Jaakkola's goal.

And yet against the run of play entirely, Wednesday broke the deadlock. A Morgan Fox pass in behind the Royals' back line found Atdhe Nuhiu in space. Appeals for offside were dismissed and the towering striker drove low under the body of Jaakkola and into the back of the net for 1-0.

Jaakkola had to parry a Fox shot from a tight angle soon after as Wednesday looked to capitalise on their opener and look for a second. But at the other end Bodvarsson did well to turn and open up space for a shot, only to slip and slice his effort well wide of the left post.

Half time | Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 Reading

Reading began the half very brightly and could have levelled within three minutes of the resumption. Bodvarsson and Kermorgant worked the ball out to McCleary who fizzed an early ball back into Kermorgant just inside the Wednesday box. He connected first time but his shot scuttled through to Dawson who could gather it into his body with relative ease.

Next, Bodvarsson intercepted a short ball back to the keeper from the head of Venancio but although he toed it over the onrishing keeper, a backtracking defende rwas able to head the ball to safety.

Another superb chance fell to the feet of Bodvarsson moments later when Bacuna's ball across the box fell for the unmarked Icelander. He only had Dawson to beat but his firmly struck shot was brilliantly saved by the Owls keeper.

And Reading would pay for those missed chances shortly after when McCleary was robbed of the ball by the corner flag and a low cross was sidefooted hom by Nuhiu from five yards out. 

Nothing was going Reading's way and that was demonstrated once more when McCleary teed up Bacuna for a shot and the midfielder arced it towards the bottom right corner, beating the keeper, only for it to clatter into the right post.

A total miscommunication at the back allowed the hosts a third on the hour. A ball forward seemed to be covered by two Reading defenders but neither came across to take command of clearing the ball and Boyd scurried in. Jaakkola had come wide of his goalmouth expecting a pass back and the Owls forward slotted home with ease.

Nuhiu half-volleyed a near post effort wide, before Kermorgant's acrobatic overhead hook bounced wide from substitute Mo Barrow's cross from the left.

Bodvarsson won a free kick 22 yards out which Bacuna curled around the wall but Dawson was across to save comfortably at his left upright. Then at the other end Jaakkola had to be alert to parry a Boyd shot wide.

A half cleared Hunt cross fell to Matias who dragged his shot just wide as the clock ticked down and the tie ebbed away from the visiting side.

Another good chance went begging with ten minutes remaining; Beerens' corner was flicked on well by Edwards and Moore rose above his man to power a downward header at goal but it was straight at Dawson.

But Jaakkola saved from Matias in a Wednesday break away with seven minutes of the tie remaining.

Reading did get a goal in the dying stages, a Barrow run down the right led to a cross that deflected off a Wednesday leg and beat Dawson to land on the goalline where Smith slid in to make sure it crossed the line. But it was to be a consolation for the away side.

In four minutes of injury time, Bodvarsson arrowed over and Smith won a header but was thwarted by an offisde flag. And the deficit was too great to overhaul.

Reading now must concentrate on league matters and that begins with a trip to Burton Albion on Tuesday night.

Full time | Sheffield Wednesday 3-1 Reading

Sheffield Wednesday: Dawson, Hunt, Venancio, Loovens (c), Pudil (Palmer 63), Fox, Boyd, Pelupessy, Reach (Jones 71), Matias (Rhodes 89), Nuhiu.
Subs: Wildsmith, Butterfield, Joao, Wallace.
Goals: Nuhiu 29, 54, Boyd 61
Yellow: Pelupessy, Palmer

Reading: Jaakkola, Gunter (c), Bacuna (Evans 79), Moore, Ilori, Edwards, Clement, Beerens, McCleary (Barrow 65), Böðvarsson, Kermorgant (Smith 79).
Subs: Mannone, Aluko, Blackett, Kelly.
Yellow: Ilori
Goals: Smith 86

Referee: Mr J Brooks
Att: 14,848


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