Writer: Chris Kitley
Date:Saturday January 5 2008
White Hart Lane
A Stephen Hunt brace silenced the critics and earned a weakened Reading side a well deserved draw at White Hart Lane.
Reading made eight changes to the team that lost at Spurs a week ago, but the fringe players put in an impressive display, and earned themselves a replay with a little help from Spurs 'keeper Paul Robinson.
The Royals second string took a shock lead when a harmless Stephen Hunt free kick was easily caught by Robinson, only for his momentum to take him over the line. Despite Robinson's protests, the linesman was adamant the ball had crossed the line and gave the goal.
The lead didn't last long however and you'd be forgiven for thinking a bout of dejavu was sinking in.
Much like a week ago, Spurs hit straight back, again through that man Dimitar Berbatov. His excellent finish found the top corner, just three minutes after Reading had taken the lead.
The home team deservedly went in front early in the second half. The lively Robbie Keane latched onto a long ball from Michael Dawson, and he was felled by Liam Rosenior before he could get a shot off.
Referee Mark Clattenburg had no option but to give the penalty, and Berbatov calmly slotted it past Adam Federici to score his sixth goal against Reading in a week.
It looked like Spurs were going to win the game comfortably after that and Robbie Keane had a goal disallowed soon after.
Berbatov could have had a third to put the game beyond doubt, but he was unable to control a teasing cross from the excellent Aaron Lennon.
The missed opportunities from Tottenham seemed to spur Reading on, and with twelve minutes to play they grabbed an unlikely equaliser. Some good work from Leroy Lita resulted in a shot which Robinson could only parry into the path of Stephen Hunt. It would have been harder to miss as Hunt tucked the ball away for his second of the game.
The Royals could have gone on to win the game after that and were given a boost when Tom Huddlestone was sent off with seven minutes to go.
Huddlestone had only been on the pitch a matter of minutes and as he argued with Convey, he was deemed to have aimed a head butt and was consequently shown the red card.
Reading pressed on for the last few minutes, but were unable to create any clear cut chances.
A good draw for the team that were completely written off before the game and we can look forward to another high scoring bout between these two, a week on tuesday at the Madejski for the replay.
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Date:Saturday January 5 2008
|4. Derby County||18||9||4||5||10||31|
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