Reading FC Match Report: 2014/2015 Season - League Cup
READING 3 NEWPORT 1
Reading: P Pogrebnyak (20), N Blackman (87), C Tanner (90).
Newport: S Jeffers (90).
A strong Reading side overcame a stubborn Newport County side to progress to the second round of the League Cup at a sparse Madejski Stadium. Reading fielded a first team side, making just two changes to the starting eleven from Saturday's 2-2 draw at Wigan. McCarthy replaced Federici in goal and Cox made his first start for Reading with Edwards on the bench.
After Pogrebnyak's first half goal, the Royals had to wait until the 87 minute to secure victory with a second, before two further goals in injury time, including a debut goal from Craig Tanner saw the game finish 3-1 in entertaining style. Reading's 20th minute lead from Pavel Pogrebnyak had been essentially against the run of play, before Blackman's superb goal with three minutes left to play.
This couldn't be described as a comfortable victory for the Royals after the visitors dominated periods of the game - particularly the opening 15 minutes when they might well have taken the lead. Newport looked the better side with a bright start - calmly passing the ball around and forcing a couple of decent saves from Alex McCarthy in the Reading goal - once getting down quickly for a shot on effort and another punch clear. Reading had weathered the storm before taking the lead with their first shot on goal after 20 minutes. Pogrebnyak made the most of an absent keeper and lobbed the ball high into the air from distance. It was one of those that seemed to hang for ages before eventually dropping into the back of the net for a very professional finish. The goal settled Reading's nerves and they might have pulled further ahead before the break when Alex Pearce headed just over the Newport crossbar. Chris Gunter was lively with a couple of excellent forward runs - Reading might have done better if they'd given him more of the ball in the second half when he was crying out for it in plenty of space. The Royals were just about good enough for their lead at the break but the visitors had looked the more positive and Reading had let themselves down with some poor passing.
There were a few more uncomfortable moments for Reading in the second half. Alex McCarthy struggled whenever the ball was at his feet and seemed to want to take too much time with the ball when he might have been better just clearing if safely. The Newport fans in the South Stand were in fine voice and sensed they might yet get an equaliser to force extra time. They did have chances, but the victory for Reading was wrapped up with some skill by Nick Blackman on 87 minutes he cut in from the right, beating a couple of players to slot home and make it 2-0. Akpan should have made it on the scoresheet when he found himself facing an empty net midway into the Newport half but put his effort well wide of the left post when he should have done better. Newport appeared to have scored a consolation goal in stoppage time but there was still time for one more. Craig Tanner, who had only been on the pitch for a couple of minutes, marked his senior debut with a late goal to secure a 3-1 victory.
This League Cup game took place 1101 days ago in the 2014/2015 season.