Tuesday, 1 March 2011

F.A.Cup Everton 0 - 1 Reading

Matt Mills's first-half strike was enough to give Championship Reading victory over Premier League Everton and take them into the FA Cup last eight.The defender fired in low from 12 yards out when an Everton clearance from his initial goalbound header fell back into his path.Everton went closest when Royals keeper Alex McCarthy made a sensational one-handed save from Leon Osman.Osman and Seamus Coleman also headed narrowly wide for the Toffees.The home side were greeted with boos at the full-time whistle following what had been largely a passionless performance.
Reading, meanwhile, celebrated as they reached only their third ever FA Cup quarter-final, where they will face either Manchester City or Aston Villa. A repeat performance could see them go even further in the competition.The Championship outfit were a clear second best for the first 25 minutes as Everton controlled the flow of the traffic. However, the home side only produced one chance worthy of note.Osman, one of their few bright lights, delivered a delicious ball to the far post which Coleman managed to head towards goal only for his effort to bounce into the ground and over the Reading bar.The Royals's sortees forward were dependent on their midfield picking up scraps left by a dominant Everton.But they also had a brilliant dead-ball specialist among them in the figure of former Leeds full-back Ian Harte.He was the provider for his side's goal when his corner-ball found Mills, whose initial header was cleared by Osman but only back to the spot where the Royals captain was standing - Mills made no mistake with the follow-up.
The Berkshire side should have increased their lead a few moments later when Sylvain Distin failed to control a ball played back to him and the pacy Kebe stole in, only to place his shot into the clutches of the on-rushing Tim Howard.
Everton, like Reading, have players who can deliver accurate crosses into the area but it was a night when they missed Tim Cahill's anticipation and potency in those dangerous areas.
One such occasion saw Osman head Leighton Baines' cross over the bar, which his injured Australian team-mate would have probably powered in.
Reading, six points shy of a play-off place, were very well-organised on the night and their defence admirably coped with the Everton attack.
But they needed the largely inactive McCarthy to produce a stunning save 12 minutes before time to keep the status quo.
Baines' cross from the left was headed back in the direction of Osman whose ferocious snapshot was swiped away by the England Under-21 stopper.
Everton were also out of luck when Louis Saha's hooked shot from a corner was blocked on the line by his own player Beckford.
There were five minutes of staoppge time and shrieks could be heard from the Everton fans as balls were launched into the Reading area.
But McDermott's visitors defended admirably and it was only appropriate that it was hero Mills who was the one who prevented Mikel Arteta from providing a goalscoring opportunity with a brilliant block at the death.

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