Royals lose thriller with Arsenal
Reading squandered a 4 goal lead at the Madejski Stadium, as they exited the Capital One Cup yesterday night to Arsenal, eventually losing the match 7-5 after extra time.
Brian McDermott's side started superbly against an Arsenal side with a mix of youth and experience, with Jason Roberts opening the scoring with an astute finish following some good work on the left from Hal Robson-Kanu. The lead was soon doubled when Chris Gunter's now cross was turned into his own net by Laurent Koscielny, before it was three when Mikele Leigertwood's powerful effort was too hot for Martinez to handle.
Just as Reading fans thought this couldn't get any better, it did on 37 minutes. Garath McCleary hung up a cross for Noel Hunt at the back post, with the Irishman rising well to head home, albeit with some help from the post. However, just seconds before the half time whistle, Arsenal responded with a goal back. A ball over the top evaded the Royals defence and Theo Walcott raced through to finish superbly past Federici.
Despite good early pressure in the second period from Reading, the Gunners reduced Reading's cushion to just two goals, as substitute Oliver Giroud rose highest from a corner to nod the ball past Adam Federici. This became one as injury time approached and was from another corner as Koscielny had a free header from six yards. Inevitable as it was, the comeback was completed into injury time.
Another high ball into the box was not dealt with well enough from a Reading perspective and Arsenal eventually scrambled the ball into the net after Walcott's initial effort was blocked and Jenkinson was on hand to fire home. Reading had blown a four goal lead and would now have to play extra time against a currently rampant Arsenal side at the Madejski.
Reading showed resilience and could have gone ahead if Jobi McAnuff would have taken his shot on earlier, but probably as expected, the Gunners went in front in this surreal game. Striker Marouane Chamakh had time and space on the edge of the area to strike an effort in Adam Federici's near post. The second period of extra time was going to be crucial for the Royals and they found an equaliser out of nowhere.
Arsenal failed to clear Jobi McAnuff's corner on the left and Chris Gunter's fired effort back into the area deflected nicely for Pavel Pogrebnyak to head home to put Reading back on level terms. Just as it seemed Reading could snatch something, Theo Walcott put the Gunners back in front, before Chamakh rounded off the scoring with Reading pushing for another equaliser.
I don't care about all this rubbish of it being a legendary game, from our point of view, we have just conceded seven goals on our home turf and lost a four goal lead. As much as the referee played his part, defensively we were so incompetent and Chamakh's first goal was a clear representation of this. Sunday will be crucial, I am starting to feel for Brian's future at the minute, how long has he got left with Mr Zingarevich.