A delighted Alan Pardew led Crystal Palace to their first Emirates FA Cup semi-final in 21 years.
The Eagles put their dismal league form behind them to add gallant Championship side Reading to the earlier scalps of three fellow top-flight sides as they ran out 2-0 sixth-round winners at the Madejski Stadium.
Reading 0-2 Crystal Palace
Emirates FA Cup
Friday 11 March 2016
Winning sides receive £450,000 from The FA prize fund
Yohan Cabaye's 85th-minute penalty and a late, late bonus goal from substitute Frazier Campbell did the trick and Pardew said: "When you get to the semi-final of the FA Cup it brings excitement and confidence – and that's what we need to improve our league form.
“I actually thought we played very well. This is not a very easy place to come. We should have done better with some of our chances, but their goalie was magnificent.
"We just edged it and deserved to win. I'm proud because this has been a difficult run for us. We've had to win at Southampton and Tottenham, Stoke at home and now at Reading, and yet we can't get a win in the league.
"We've been pressure conscious of late, but that wasn't there today in the FA Cup. We have 10 games left now and we're looking forward to them.”
Pardew, of course, knows all about the merits of a lengthy cup run. In 1990 he scored the winning goal as Palace memorably beat Liverpool 4–3 after extra-time in the FA Cup semi-final at Villa Park. He then played in both the final and the final replay as Palace lost to Manchester United.
"I'm so pleased for the fans," said the former Reading boss. "We struggled at times but it was great to see our end of the ground so happy and looking forward to a semi-final.
"Credit to Reading – we had to be on top to keep them at bay. I though It was going to a replay and it took a penalty for us to do it."
Cabaye's spot kick came after Jake Cooper was sent off, collecting his second yellow card for pulling back Yannick Bolasie. Pardew, following last week's rumpus when Palace lost to an injury-time Liverpool spot kick, quipped: "Obviously I ain't got a clue about penalties after last weekend."
But disappointed reading manager Brian McDermott conceded: "It was a fair result. We did our best tonight and the guys were throwing their bodies in there. We went toe-to-toe with them."