Match Report: 2009/2010 Season

13 February 2010: FA Cup Round Five
Reading: Kebe (1 min), Church (73 mins).
West Brom: Koren (18 mins), Mattock (87 mins).
Half Time: 1-1
Attendance: 18,008

Pos Team P Pts GD
21 Scunthorpe 30 33 -20
22 READING 29 32 -14
23 Plymouth 29 27 -14
Reading: Federici, Mills, Griffin, Ingimarsson, Bertrand, McAnuff, Howard (Church, 49), Kebe (Rasiak, 63), Karacan (Tabb, 83), Gunnarsson, Long (sent off 48) Subs not used: Hamer, Pearce, Henry, Robson-Kanu.
West Brom: Carson, Jara (Mulumbu, 46(sent off 61)), Zuiverloon, Olsson, Mattock, Meite (Tamas, 52), Brunt (Moore, 74), Dorrans, Koren, Bednar, Cox. Subs not used: Kiely, Wood, Mantom, Brown.
Reading: Howard. (Sent off: Long 48 mins).
West Brom: Mulumbu (sent off 61 mins), Tama.
Ref: Chris Foy (Merseyside)
Reading fans will feel bitterly disappointed at seeing their team allow a quarter final spot slip from their grasp in the final minutes of this highly entertaining game. The game got off to an explosive start when Jimmy Kebe scored the fastest goal ever by a Reading player after a mere nine seconds had elapsed. It was all the more remarkable given that it followed Albion's kick-off. Table topping Albion were clearly expecting to win this tie and set about their task with a great deal of confidence and determination. There was little to choose between the teams in footballing ability but the telling factor was the away side's physical presence.

It took the Baggies eighteen minutes to restore parity and it looked so easy there appeared to be a threat of Reading being overwhelmed. Brunt swept a ball in from the right wing to find Koren completely unmarked at the far post with for a simple tap in. Almost immediately Koren came close to giving his team the lead but his shot was touched onto the post by Federici. Lenient refereeing allowed Albion to clatter into a physically smaller Reading side and both legally and illegally break up play. By the end Albion had more than double the number of fouls committed by the Royals. It was, however, a totally fair and crunching tackle just before half time by Karacan that took Jara out of the game. Long had previously spent a couple of minutes flat out having been battered by the Albion centre back as he went for a header.

It was not to be Long's day. Three minutes into the second half referee Foy issued him a red card following a lunge at Meite. Albion pilled on the pressure as Reading re-organised and came close with a shot which dribbled just wide. Apart from that a couple of long range efforts sailed harmlessly high or wide. Reading in spite of being reduced to ten men continued to push forward and were rewarded when Mulumbu was lured into a poor challenge on Gunnarsson for a second yellow in the space of fifteen minutes. The balance of power had shifted once again and Reading sensed a victory was once again a real possibility. Rasiak and Church were on as Reading were now able to play with two up front and the combination produced the next goal to give Reading a deserved lead. Rasiak released Church with a well timed through ball and the young Welshman sped away from the defence and closed in on Carson. The Albion 'keeper stood up and was able to parry his first attempt but Church raced on to roll the loose ball into the unguarded net.

As time ran out the body language of the Albion players suggested they were on their way out of the competition. I was surprised to see Karacan, in spite of his erratic distribution, replaced by Tabb instead of Gunnarsson whose legs had clearly turned to jelly. With three minutes to go Albion suddenly found they had two men unmarked wide on the left and Cox rolled it out wide to them. Mattock finished well but in truth he had all the time and space in the world to steady himself and line up his shot. Not only was it a disappointing time to concede but defensively it was a real shocker. Ironically both Albion's goals came from that side where Griffin had undoubtedly taken the accolade of man of the match. When a full back scores it is usually a consequence of someone failing to track back. Form your own opinion about who might have been responsible.

I would not write Reading off in the replay, but it is going to be much tougher at The Hawthorns next week, especially without Long who will be in the middle of a four match suspension. It would be good to go through but points in the next two league fixtures are far more important.
John Wells

Finally started to look like we can compete against a slick side in form and really felt like we had the momentum once they were reduced to 10. Big thumbs up for Griffin (again) but a few points of constructive criticism - Jem will be a far better player once he sorts out his distribution, he should look to regain and retain position, all he needs to learn is to dish it out to the nearest player - keep it simple! Kebe is your proverbial frustrating player - needs to learn that by showing a bit more urgency through attempting to close down a player - he will look better, and receive a more warm reception from the fans (first 10 mins was rather un-kebe like) Each game that passes, we appear to grow in confidence - so a replay in which we can add to our stock isn't all that bad tbh. Didn't really catch Long's sending off - looked a rash/late attempt - referee was itching to dish the cards, so will have to see a replay. As a whole, we appear to be growing as a team - we'll certainly make a this relegation battle a fight to the death.

That was a much better performance than the last few games but we still need to learn to pass the ball properly if we want to improve as a side Kebe, despite a well taken goal, is just not good enough. Yes he threatens the opposition and can create things at times, but the amount of times he wastes good positions or just runs into the full back or cant keep the ball in play just outweigh all the good stuff Griff and Mills were imperious today, but Ivar again looks like he has lost it and Kishi must have a great shout of replacing him in the next few games Long again battled well but I hope he gets a big fine for again picking up a needless red card which was well deserved. Church came on and worked hard and tried his best to miss his chance for glory. We desperately need someone upfront and if Thor isnt that man (not even on the bench so is he anywhere near good enough?) then we HAVE to get someone else in as we all know Rasiak isnt up to it Although thats the negatives out the way, we played well today and deserved to win it. The replay will be a right pain in the arse but the confidence gained from today can only help our relegation battle
Southbank Old Boy

Another good performance and should have won. I hate to single any one person out, but Ivar had been consistently poor and was again at fault today for the first goal. Numerous times this year goals have been down to Ivar, the Ipswich one he put on a plate for stead springs to mind. He is miss timing headers, standing off of forwards and missing sitters at the other end. If he had taken his chance today it would have been game over. Three chances were also missed last week. Kishy and Mills are our best centre backs, I just hope Brian had the balls to drop our club captain. If he don't it could cost us.
Basingstoke Royal

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Reading manager Brian McDermott:
"We changed the system when they went down to 10 men and we went for the win and when Simon scored I thought we were through. But fair play to them, they are a quality side and it was a superb goal at the end to get the equaliser. I think West Brom will definitely be in the Premier League next season and they showed their quality. The goal so early on was incredible - we worked on that in training! But Jimmy has got so much pace that he can do that."

West Brom boss Roberto Di Matteo:
"I am sad because we lost three players to injury and suspension and we could do without that. Jara had to have five stitches, it was a very bad challenge, and we will have to wait and see about Meite. It's not part of the plan to have a replay as we have lots of games coming up but we are happy to be still in the cup. I said that we would love to have a cup run this season and we are still in it."

BBC Sport