FA CUP REPORT: CARDIFF 1-2 READING
Cardiff City bowed out of the FA Cup Fourth Round as they fell to a 2-1 defeat to Reading at CCS.
The Bluebirds had the advantage at half time, breaking the deadlock on 25 minutes when Kenwyne Jones powerfully headed home Peter Whittingham’s corner.
However, the scores were levelled in the second half when Oliver Norwood, the Royals’ star man, curled a free-kick past Simon Moore.
Then, in the final minute of the match, Wales international Hal Robson-Kanu rose at the near post to complete the comeback and ensure that Reading would progress to the Fifth Round.
This was a clash between two sides with plenty of FA Cup history, as City beat Reading at Molineux in the semi-finals of the 1927 competition, on their way to lifting the famous trophy.
As the Bluebirds kicked off with a strong line-up, they knew that another win over the Royals at CCS would take them a step closer to Wembley once again.
They started on the front foot too, as Craig Noone drifted in from the wing to evade a couple of markers. The winger’s positive play led to a spell of City pressure, culminating in two corners and an Aron Gunnarsson long throw, all of which were well dealt with by the Royals’ back line.
The visitors soon settled in to things, and gave City a warning shot when Oliver Norwood, playing at the top of their midfield three, curled an effort just over Simon Moore’s bar. Moore was then called into action for the first time as he collected Pavel Pogrebnyak’s tame header.
The game was yet to spring in to life, but half-chances did continue to fall either way. First, Peter Whittingham swung a free-kick past the far post, before Garath McCleary forced Moore to parry his fierce, low drive wide of the goal.
The best passage of the game yet was soon to follow though, as Alex Revell laid the ball off to his strike partner Kenwyne Jones. A beautiful turn from City’s number 9 gave him his first sight of goal, only for Federici to keep the low shot out.
Kenwyne didn’t have to wait long for another chance though, and this time he converted it with aplomb. The Trinidad & Tobago international timed his run perfectly to meet Peter Whittingham’s in-swinging corner – powering his header past Adam Federici.
GOAL: CARDIFF CITY 1-0 READING (Kenwyne Jones, 25 mins)
The Bluebirds managed to restrict the Royals to just one chance in the next quarter of an hour – Simon Moore again on hand to keep out Pogrebnyak following another Norwood effort. With the young ‘keeper in good form, the Bluebirds looked likely to maintain their one goal advantage until the break.
Reading substitution: Steven Kelly replaces Chris Gunter (36 mins)
Cardiff City substitution: Matt Connolly replaces Ben Turner (43mins)
Injuries forced a change apiece for the two sides as former Cardiff man Chris Gunter was replaced by Steven Kelly, before Matt Connolly came on for City skipper Ben Turner.
Gunnarsson was the man to take the armband for the Bluebirds, just before the referee blew his whistle to bring an end to the first half, with the score at 1-0.
HALF TIME: CARDIFF CITY 1-0 READING
Reading came out for the second half looking eager to claw their way back in to proceedings at CCS. Oliver Norwood was looking sharpest for the Royals as he continued to pepper Moore’s goal with long-range efforts. The City stopper did well to keep out one dipping attempt, before Norwood’s second deflected wide of the post.
However, with just over fifteen minutes of the second half played, Reading hit home an equaliser.
There would have been no prizes for guessing the Royals scorer as Norwood, a summer signing from Championship rivals Huddersfield Town, stood over a free-kick given their way for a foul on Pogrebnyak. The Northern Irishman showed his class once again to level things up, wrong-footing Moore as he curled the ball into the corner of the net.
GOAL: CARDIFF CITY 1-1 READING (Oliver Norwood, 64 mins)
Cardiff City substitution: Tom Adeyemi replaces Alex Revell (69 mins)
City looked to increase the tempo of their play as they searched for an instant response. They were fortunate not to concede, however, when Pogrebnyak failed to meet Nick Blackman’s cross in the six yard box – the Russia international deemed to have used his hand as he launched his body at the ball.
The match began to open up more with fifteen minutes remaining on the clock. The Bluebirds showed some signs of netting an equaliser through the attacking play of Noone, Jones and Kadeem Harris. However, neither side were able to maintain a serious period of pressure on the opposition goal.
Reading substitution: Hal Robson-Kanu replaces Nick Blackman (82 mins)
Cardiff City substitution: Kiko Macheda replaces Kadeem Harris (84 mins)
With a replay at the Madejski Stadium looking ever more likely, both sides were unlucky to see gilt-edged opportunities pass them by. After Noone had fired an effort narrowly over the bar from 25 yards, Moore pulled off a sensational save to keep Reading substitute Hal Robson-Kanu off the score sheet.
However, in what was becoming a theme of the match, Robson-Kanu earned himself a second opportunity, and grasped it with both hands. As another cross was driven into the Bluebirds’ area, the Wales international rose highest at the near post to divert it into the back of the net.
GOAL CARDIFF CITY 1-2 READING (Robson-Kanu, 88 mins)
Reading substitution: Jake Cooper replaces Oliver Norwood (89 mins)
With four minutes of injury time signalled by the fourth official, there was still time for a last throw of the dice for Cardiff City. Unfortunately for the Bluebirds faithful though, they were unable to grab a late equaliser. In the last passage of play, Noone’s shot was comfortably dealt with by the Royals, who hung on to progress through to the Fifth Round.
FULL TIME: CARDIFF CITY 1-2 READING
Cardiff City: Moore, Fabio, Morrison, Turner (C) (Connolly), Malone, Harris (Macheda), Whittingham, Gunnarsson, Noone, Jones, Revell (Adeyemi). Subs Not Used: Wilson, John, Ralls, O’Sullivan.
Reading: Federici, Gunter (Kelly), Pearce (C), Hector, Obita, Chalobah, Williams, Norwood (Cooper), McCleary, Blackman (Robson-Kanu), Pogrebnyak. Subs Not Used: Andersen, Cox, Karacan, Taylor.
Attendance: 11, 750