Writer: Steve Guscott
Date:Saturday January 23 2010
23rd January 2010
The Royals progressed to the 5th round of the FA Cup with a 1-0 win over Burnley at the Madejski Stadium thanks to an 87th minute goal from Gylfi Sigurdsson. We dominated the game and deserved to take our place in the draw for the next round despite the winning goal arriving so late in the match.
Brian McDermott must love the FA Cup, a draw at home against Liverpool, the historic win at Anfield in the replay and now another win over Premiership opposition. However after the Clarets performance here you have to wonder how long they will be a top flight side for. Brian Laws side were one of the most negative teams to come to the Madejski Stadium and considering we have only won twice at home in all competitions in a year, Burnley fans would surely be questioning why they didn`t make more of this game.
Enough of Burnley, we were excellent and McDermott set his side up in a positive manner and we dominated throughout. With Grzegorz Rasiak, Brynjar Gunnarsson and the injury free Sigurdsson all returning to the side, we looked positive from the first whistle and Anfield man of the match Gunnarsson set up two early breaks. Firstly Sigurdsson down the left, who crossed for Rasiak but his flicked effort, went wide from close range. Jobi McAnuff was also looking lively and his cross found Rasiak again but he headed over with his second chance of the game.
Sigurdsson continued to cause problems for Burnley and he made some excellent runs down the left, supported by Ryan Bertrand, and the Icelandic youngster tested the keeper Brian Jensen on two occasions.
Whilst we had the majority of possession there were very few clear cut chances in the first half but Rasiak had a shout for a penalty turned down when he went down in the area, however the appeals were waved away and ref Andy D`Urso made one of his rare correct decisions.
The Royals came out firing again though at the start of the second half and Simon Church, who worked tirelessly upfront in the first period, forced Jensen to turn the ball round the post from a fine left footed drive. From the corner the excellent Matt Mills, who won everything in the air at the back and in the Burnley area, headed over.
Adam Federici had been a virtual spectator for the first hour but he was called into action and produced a world class reaction save from Joey Gudjohnsson after it looked like the visitors had taken an undeserved lead.
The introduction of Shane Long seemed to galvanise the Royals (Another theme running through this FA Cup run!) and he set up McAnuff but the winger was clearly brought down in the area. Ref D`Urso waved away the appeals though with the Burnley players realising they had a real let off and in the following protests captain Ivar Ingimarsson was booked. Sigurdsson should have scored from the resulting move but he headed wide.
Federici was finally having some work to do and sub Martin Paterson forced him into conceding a corner and from that he pulled off a world class save, pulling the ball back when it appeared to be heading for the top corner.
Mills continued to be a threat from another corner, his header being tipped over by Jensen but if it had been either side of the Danish stopper it would have gone in. Ingimarsson also threatened but his turn and shot was one of those that you wished had fallen to your centre forward not your centre back!
So the stage was set for Sigurdsson to be Readings match winner once more and right back Andy Griffin, making his home debut, played a key part in it. The on loan Stoke man played a fine through ball and Sigurdsson collected the pass well before stroking the ball into the far corner to the delight of those Reading fans that had bothered to turn up!
It was a fantastic win for the Royals and thoroughly deserved, it wouldn`t have been a surprise if we had won by three or four goals. We need to take the confidence from this win though to Sheff Utd on Tuesday night and get a much needed three points. Not wishing to put a downer on the afternoon but Sheff Wed won and we are now four points adrift in the relegation zone.
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Date:Saturday January 23 2010
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