Reading FC Match Report: 2014/2015 Season - FA Cup


Reading: H Robson-Kanu (53), Yakubu (82)
Derby: D Bent (61).

A stylish finish from Yakubu secured a FA Cup quarter final place for Reading in a pulsating cup tie at the iPro stadium. The Royals just did enough against the resilient ten men of Derby as the two teams battled for victory.

Reading made three changes from the disappointing league game against Leeds. Norwood, Blackman and McCleary making way for Cox, Mackie and Robson-Kanu. It appears McCleary has picked up another knock, and is doubtful for the vital league game against Wigan in midweek. Derby started the game as hot favourites but with seven changes to their team, Reading fans sniffed an opportunity. However, Derby started the game with vigour and grace, carving the Reading defence open with some neat passing in around the Reading penalty area. Federici saving early efforts from Craig Bryson and Simon Dawkins.

As Derby controlled the early stages Reading’s first opportunity was a Simon Cox effort which was deflected wide in the 10th minute. Alex Pearce unable to steer his header from the resulting corner goalwards. In the 14th minute Chalobah conceded a free kick in a dangerous position. Omar Mascarell drifted the free kick towards the back post. With Federici stranded it was just out of reach of the onrushing Jack Hendrick and Richard Keogh, brushing the outside of the far post. Stephen Warnock deservedly picked up his fist yellow card in the 18th minute for a late challenge on Robson-Kanu just outside the Derby area. An imaginative rehearsed routine saw Cox smash the ball against the base of the post when well placed.

In a game that was see-sawing one way or another, Derby were continuing the cause problems for the Reading defence. In the 33rd minute Darren Bent finding room in the six yard box after a clever turn saw his shot well saved from the impressive Federici. As Reading eased their way into the game Simon Cox found himself open with a number of chances. Simon Cox’s performance seemed to fill the missing link in the side that played Leeds. He links the play between the midfield and attack, taking the pressure off Pogrebeyak. A wild volley at the back post in the 35th minute being his best chance, with more composure he surely would have scored. The game exploded into life in the 40th minute. Stephen Warnock arriving late to a Jamie Mackie clearance and smashing Mackie to the floor like a bowling pin. Warnock will look back and realise on both challenges he could and should have pulled out. Maybe his over enthusiasm on his debut was at fault for the red card that followed.

The half ended with Reading on top. Sensing victory the Royals drove into the box with Jamie Mackie. His shot was pushed out by Kelle Roos falling to Daniel Williams. Williams smacked a shot shot goalwards, Richard Keogh falling across the box deflected the ball off his hip onto his outstretched arm. Reading were convinced it was a penalty but the referee failed to agree.

As the second half started, it was difficult to see who had the ten men. Derby controlled the majority of the possession and continued to push forward. Reading happy to sit and attack on the break. It appears a style of play that suits the Steve Clarke’s Royals better as the away form under Clarke looks impressive. Only one defeat in his seven games. One such break came in the 54th minute. Chalobah pinged a cross field ball to Daniel Williams. William and Kelly combined to release Cox in the area. His pull back found Hal Robson-Kanu. Hal Robson-Kanu, who looked productive all game, shifted his weight to enable him to deliver a curling shot past the statue of Kelle Roos giving the Royals the lead.

You never felt comfortable that Reading would hold onto the lead though. Championship title challengers Derby retained the ball well despite being a man down. You can only think it would be a surprise if the Royals were to be playing Derby next season. Derby got themselves level in the 62nd minute. Forsyth picked up a wayward cross on the left hand side of the area. He had plenty of time to pick out the debutant Lingard. Lingard’s shot bounced off Darren Bent’s knee and past Federici.

With a replay now looming you got the impression neither team was ready to settle for a draw. Both teams were pushing for the winner. Reading’s Pogrebeyak and Cox both unable to finish good chances in the 63rd and 67th minute respectively. In the 70th minute Reading should have grabbed the lead. As Derby argued for a free kick with Hector allegedly bringing down Jamie Ward. Obita picked up the ball out wide. His cross found Pogrebeyak hanging on the six yard box. The big russian’s header was too close to the stationary Roos, who was able to clear the ball with his foot. The ball came out to Jamie Mackie. Mackie choose to power a shot at the goal, when he would have been better place to just ensure his shot was on target.

Both Pogrebeyak and Mackie were replaced with Blackman and Yakubu soon after. A change that would alter the outcome of the match. Jamie Ward was looking the most likely match winner for Derby. He brought a good save from Federici in the 72nd minute and hitting a free kick wide in the 78th minute. Akpan replacing Cholabah just before.

The defining moment came in the 83rd minute. A swift break commenced as Cox picked the ball up in the Reading half. He moved the ball forward to Robson-Kanu and Kanu saw the run of Yakubu. He pushed a measured ball in front of Yakubu. With Yakubu sensing the presence of Forstyh behind, his first touch allowed him to create the space to power a shot past Roos and into the bottom corner. A clinical finish from Yakubu which showed the guile of a quality finisher. His run and touch the mark of a true goalscorer. Robson-Kanu’s drive and pass a calling card for his inclusion for the game against Wigan on Tuesday.

Whilst the remainder of the game felt frantic, Reading looked in control as the game played out. Derby had minimal chances, looking tired from a superb cup tie. Reading now need to transform this kind of performance into some vital league games. However, you do feel more comfortable watching Reading away from home than at home.
Dave Roberts

This FA Cup game took place 2047 days ago in the 2014/2015 season.