Match Report: 2010/2011 Season

29 January 2011: FA CUP ROUND 4
Reading: Leigertwood (23 mins), Long (87 mins)
Stevenage: Charles (72 mins)
Half Time: 0-1.

Attendance: 6,614

Pos Team P Pts GD
7 Watford 26 42 +13
8 READING 27 41 +13
9 Millwall 27 39 +7
Reading: Federici, Mills, Harte, Griffin, Ingimarsson, McAnuff, Leigertwood, Karacan, Robson-Kanu (Antonio, 75), Long, Church Subs not used: Tabb, Hunt, Cummings, McCarthy, Armstrong, Khizanishvili,
Stevenage: Day, Roberts, Charles (Odubade, 81), Ashton, Laird, Wilson, Henry, Bridges (Sinclair, 52), Bostwick, Beardsley, Winn (Long, 83) Subs not used: Griffin, Foster, Bayes, Daley.
Reading: -
Stevenage: Laird
Ref: A Taylor (Manchester).

First half, deserved the lead without really testing the keeper, and then saying that they had better chances.
For the next 30 mins of the second half i thought we were a mess. Not sure what happened or a change of tactics from them but they had a header chance which was probably easier to miss and they were a real threat running at the defence. Certainly nervous times after they scored. Last 15 we got hold of the game, and had chances to make it 3 or even 4. Mcdermott left it to late to make the change, and it showed with Antonio waiting to come on when they equalised. No coincidence we improved when he came on and took Robson-Kanu off.
In summary, Karacan went missing, Harte was loose again with his defending and passing. Leigertwood was great first half, had a poor 15 or so in second half but improved. Robson Kanu frustrated the hell out of me as did Church. Long looks so composed and a player full of confidence right now.

I thought Griffin was decent in the first half but his second half performance was absolutely apalling, constantly made ridiculous errors in dangerous positions and shanked clearances back accross goal and if it wasn't for Leigertwood and Federici being very alert (particularly Feds for an almost catastrophic backpass from the halfway line with the outside of his boot) then Griffin would have lost us the game. Was inexcusibly miles up the pitch during that ten minutes of Stevenage pressure for no reason leaving our central defenders completely exposed (Mills falling over twice didnt help).
Very average performance in a game we should have put to bed, but the result was right at the end of the day so no complaints.
Absolutely brilliant decision by the referee for the penalty which looked absolutely stonewall to me at first look but Ivar completely pulled out of the tackle last minute and didnt touch the player. How the ref spotted it at full speed I'll never know but he was vindicated by the tv replays. Well done ref, not often we can say that in a match these days!

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The tannoy announcer had just urged Stevenage fans not to invade the pitch after they appeared to have secured a replay. But, with a cruel sense of timing, in-form Irishman Shane Long popped up in the dying minutes to snatch a win for Reading. Long has been irritating a lot of teams recently, not just with his showboating. His goal-scoring form is a major reason why Reading have lost just one of their last 14 games. League Two side Stevenage, 51 places below the Royals, created enough chances to win. But Reading's class shone through on occasions and that was the case when Jobi McAnuff delivered the inch-perfect cross from the left that was met by Long at the back post. Relieved Reading manager, Brian McDermott, admitted: "We prepared this game to the nth degree because we knew, if we didn't, we'd lose."

Stevenage had the first chance in the ninth minute when Michael Bostwick's 25-yard strike was saved by Adam Federici. Lawrie Wilson was next to come close with a header. Reading stole a 23rd-minute lead, though, when Mikel Leigertwood ran through the middle unchallenged and fired beyond the unsighted goalkeeper, Chris Day. The Championship side then started asserting themselves, with Simon Church and Ian Harte both trying their luck from long-range. The underdogs came to life again when Chris Beardsley headed over an outstanding chance. Suddenly, Reading looked vulnerable and they had a lucky escape when a penalty shout was waved away as Rob Sinclair appeared to be fouled by Ivar Ingimarsson. Stevenage's 72nd-minute equaliser was a stunning solo effort from Darius Charles, who burst forward, covering well over 30 yards, and drove the ball beyond Federici. Stevenage then looked buoyant and far more creative. But the bitter finale followed. "We took the game to them and we're gutted," said Stevenage manager, Graham Westley.

The Guardian

Championship Reading overcame a spirited Stevenage to avoid an FA Cup upset and reach the last 16... Stevenage certainly started well and Michael Bostwick, who scored against Newcastle, had the first effort on goal with a 25-yard strike that was straight at Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici. But the visitors hit back and Andy Griffin waltzed into the area before pulling a cross across the face of goal and in-form striker Long then headed wide from a corner. And the Royals took the lead through Leigertwood when the on-loan QPR man beat two challenges before striking a left-footed effort into the corner. It took Stevenage a while to recover but when they found their rhythm again, Scott Laird volleyed just wide.

Just after the restart, Simon Church turned sharply to shoot over the top as Reading looked for a killer second goal. The Championship outfit should have made the game safe just after the hour mark but Hal Robson-Kanu's poor touch allowed keeper Chris Day to smother the ball at his feet. Underdogs Stevenage almost punished Reading moments later when an unmarked Chris Beardsley thumped a header over the top. And it was Charles who did make the breakthrough when he cut inside Matthew Mills before curling a fine effort wide of Federici from the corner of the penalty area. Both sides had opportunities to take the lead but squandered them and it appeared a replay would be needed. But that fate was avoided when McAnuff produced a fine cross which Long volleyed in.

BBC Sport