Express & Star

Reading 3 West Brom 1 - Report and pictures

Last updated

Reading came from behind to knock West Brom out of the FA Cup but there were ugly scenes in the away end after the final whistle, reports Matt Wilson.



When Baggies left-back Chris Brunt went over to the supporters to throw his shirt into the crowd, a coin was thrown at him.

An argument broke out between Brunt and some of the fans, and last season's club captain had to be pulled away by current captain Darren Fletcher while the Baggies supporters then rounded on each other.

Brunt still gave his shirt away to a child further away from the melee, but the incident left a sour taste in the mouth after the Baggies bowed out of the cup.

During the game, Fletcher gave Albion the lead in the 54th minute with his second goal in three games, firing a low shot past goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi.

But the home side equalised five minutes later with a Paul McShane header from a free-kick before Michael Hector ghosted in at the back post in the 72nd minute to nod home a second.

Lucas Piazon wrapped things up just before full-time with a breakaway goal to see Reading dumped Albion out of the competition for the fourth time since 2006.

Darren Fletcher of West Bromwich Albion scores a goal to make it 0-1.

Reading (4-5-1): Al-Habsi, Gunter, Obita, McShane (c), Cooper, Norwood, Hector, Quinn (Piazon 90+2), Robson-Kanu, Cox (John 59), Rakels (Vydra 59).

Unused subs: Bond, McCleary, Ferdinand, Barrett.

Albion (4-4-2): Foster, Chester, Olsson, Evans, Brunt, McClean (Anichebe 75), Sandro (Pritchard 82), Fletcher, Sessegnon, Berahino, Rondon,

Unused subs: Myhill, Yacob, Gardner, Pocognoli, Lambert.

Attendance: 19,566 (3,821 from Albion)[/breakout]

On the pitch, the two headers were simple goals to concede, and will disappoint this Albion team so proud of their ability at set-pieces.

Having limped past Bristol City and Peterborough to get to this stage, this exit to a Championship side woefully out of form was perhaps inevitable.

Before today, the Baggies hadn't won any of their last 10 games at the Madejski and the Royals are the club's FA Cup bogey team, having now knocked them out four times in 11 seasons.

But those statistics will do nothing to placate the 3,800 Albion fans who made the trip down to Reading hoping to progress to the quarter-finals for the second successive year.

Three of Saido Berahino's six goals this season have come in the FA Cup, and the striker loves this competition, scoring eight and assisting four in the last seven games.

Forced to defend in the backs-to-the-wall victory at Goodison Park, this time Berahino was pushed up front alongside Salomon Rondon.

The 22-year-old striker was involved in the only two attempts from open play in a lacklustre opening 20 minutes.

He dribbed a shot goalwards before setting up Sandro for a long-range effort which deflected comfortably into Al-Habsi's hands with a neat round the corner pass.

Royals captain Paul McShane spent a season at the Baggies nine years ago, and the first real opening of the game fell to the centre-back in the 23rd minute.

McShane's lashed shot from just outside the box had Baggies goalkeeper Ben Foster worried, but it sliced narrowly wide of his left-hand post.

Another ex-Baggie, Simon Cox, was handed a surprise start by Reading manager Brian McDermott, just his second so far this season.

Cox was linking up well with lone Latvian striker Deniss Rakels, who was making his first start for the Royals since joining in January from Polish side Cracovia.

But this Albion team proved last week that they are comfortable soaking up pressure.

And Foster wasn't tested until five minutes before half-time, pushing over Hal Robson-Kanu's powerful header from an Oliver Norwood cross.

Stephane Sessegnon and James McClean switched wings to try and force the issue for the away side.

But even though Rondon managed to stab the ball goalwards just before the break, Reading were barely troubled in a lacklustre first-half.

The game opened up after the break as Albion tried to evade a third FA Cup replay in a row.

Chris Brunt's dangerous corner glanced off Jonas Olsson's head and safe before McClean's right-footed shot from the edge of the box sailed over.

In the 54th minute, Fletcher broke the deadlock with Albion's first shot on target.

[related_posts title="More on West Brom"]

Found with acres of space in the box by Rondon, the Baggies skipper took a couple of touches before rifling a low shot past Al-Habsi into the opposite corner.

It sent the 3,800 Baggies fans behind the goal into raptures, but Albion have made a habit of throwing away leads in this year's FA Cup and this one lasted just five minutes.

McShane had nearly scored in the first half but he made no mistake this time around, timing his run perfectly to head home a Norwood free-kick from deep right on the hour mark.

That sparked the home crowd into life and all of a sudden the Royals upped their tempo while the Baggies failed to learn their lesson.

Because, in the 72nd minute, Reading took the lead with a carbon copy free-kick from the same area of the pitch.

This time, it was Michael Hector who ghosted in at the back post to head the Championship side ahead.

[comments_cta header="What do you think?" text= "How did you rate the West Brom performance tonight?" button="Log in and start commenting"]

McDermott made a double substitution moments before the equaliser, bringing on Ola John and another former Baggie in Matej Vydra for Rakels and Cox.

But Pulis didn't change things up until after they went behind, bringing Victor Anichebe on for McClean.

He threw Alex Pritchard on for Sandro with eight minutes to go but it felt like too little too late.

The Baggies did create two golden chances within seconds of each other five minutes from time.

But Berahino's stooped header inside the six yard box was hacked clear and Fletcher was unable to get enough contact on a deep diagonal to turn it past Al-Habsi.

Olsson was sent up front for the last few minutes, but instead of causing any problems in the Reading box, it just allowed the Royals to break away.

And substitute Piazon wrapped the game up just before the full-time with Reading's third.