Brilliant Reading brush aside West Brom in Emirates FA Cup

Saturday 20 Feb 2016
Michael Hector powers home for Reading

Lucas Piazon’s added-time strike sealed Reading’s turnaround as last year’s Emirates FA Cup semi-finalists remained on course to repeat that feat with victory over West Bromwich Albion.

The Royals had the better of a first half that lacked for chances but suffered an early blow after the break through Baggies captain Darren Fletcher’s strike.

Reading 3-1 West Brom

Emirates FA Cup
Fifth round
Madejski Stadium
Saturday 20 February 2016
Winning sides receive £180,000 from prize fund
Click here for Opta match stats page

But Reading responded almost immediately through their skipper, Paul McShane, before Michael Hector scored the winner edged the Championship side in front 20 minutes before time.

And substitute Piazon made the result safe, putting Reading in the quarter-finals and just one round away from a return to Wembley.

The Royals shaded an opening spell in which neither side create any clear-cut chances, though the Baggies defence was tested by crosses from Jordan Obita and Oliver Norwood.

It took until midway through the half before Premier League West Brom had a chance to counter effectively but a promising move came to a halt as former England Under-21s international Saido Berahino’s final pass to strike partner Salomon Rondon went astray.

Reading fired a warning shot moments later as McShane smashed a half-volley from 20 yards out a whisker past Ben Foster’s post.

The last time West Brom lost in the cup to lower league opposition was five years ago – against the Royals – and they were being tested again here, with Foster forced to tip over from a Hal Robson-Kanu header.

But both teams upped the tempo in the second half, trading early corners before former Baggies defender McShane had to be alert to fend off a dangerous Chris Brunt delivery.

And in the 54th minute, West Brom made good on their bright start to the half with Rondon, who had been anonymous for much of the game, coming alive.

He dribbled down the right-hand side before squaring for Fletcher, and the Baggies captain drilled through Jake Cooper’s legs past an unsighted Ali Al-Habsi.

But four minutes later the Royals were level thanks to McShane, as he met Norwood’s teasing free-kick with a header that had too much power for Foster.

The turnaround was complete with 20 minutes to go, this time Hector nodding in from close range thanks to another superb Norwood delivery.

The momentum remained with Reading and substitute Ola John was next to try his luck with a vicious shot that went inches wide.

West Brom had their chances to snatch a replay – Norwood blocking Berahino’s header on the line and Fletcher tamely shooting straight at Habsi.

But Reading made sure of their quarter-final spot in injury time as Piazon, freshly off the bench, slotted past Foster are fine work from Matej Vydra.

The FA is investigating the incident in which an object was thrown from the crowd at Chris Brunt at the end of the Reading v West Bromwich Albion game as well as the crowd disturbances in the away section of the stadium. We strongly condemn any such behaviour and will work with both clubs and the authorities to identify those responsible.

Reading: (4-4-2): Ali Al Habsi; Chris Gunter, Paul McShane, Jake Cooper, Jordan Obita; Hal Robson-Kanu, Oliver Norwood, Michael Hector, Stephen Quinn; Deniss Rakels, Simon Cox.

Substitutes: Ola John for Rakels 59, Matej Vydra for Cox 59, Lucas Piazon for Quinn.

Substitutes not used: Jonathan Bond, Garath McCleary, Anton Ferdinand, Josh Barrett.

Goals: McShane 59, Hector 72, Piazon 90.

West Brom: (4-4-2): Ben Foster; James Chester, Jonas Olsson, Jonny Evans, Chris Brunt; Stephane Sessegnon, Darren Fletcher, Sandro, James McClean, Saido Berahino, Salomon Rondon.

Substitutes: Victor Anichebe for McClean 75, Alex  Pritchard for Sandro 82.

Substitutes not used: Boaz Myhill, Claudio Yacob, Craig Gardner, Sebastien, Pocognoli, Rickie Lambert. 

Goals: Darren Fletcher 54

Attendance: 19,566

Referee: Anthony Taylor

Emirates FA Cup highlights: Reading 3-1 West Bromwich Albion


By FA Staff