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- ALBION 1 READING 0
- Albion in tomorrow's fourth round draw
- Crofts fires deflected winner (32)
- Andrews, March, Barnes all hit bar in first half
- March sparkles on first start
- Greer plays 66 minutes on comeback
- Six pages of coverage in The Argus on Monday
Encouraging full debut from March but Crofts my MoM. He's been everywhere. #bhafc— @AndyNaylorArgus 04 January 2014
Guthrie, an FA Cup loser here with Newcastle two seasons ago, fired high and wide from 25 yards in added time.
Then Brezovan dived full length to produce a superb catch under pressure as the next cross came in.
LuaLua delighted home fans by keeping possession and winning a corner with a range of tricks near the flag.
He was booked when he felt a throw-in decision had been wrongly given against him next time he played keep-ball.
But Albion had done the job.
Final: Albion 1 Reading 0
LuaLua saw a right foot drive slice away from goal.
Gunter was a menace though and Andrews was at full stretch to cut off his next cross before it could get into the goalmouth.
Then, when a ball in from the left ricocheted off a group of players trying to head it, Taylor whisked a close-range shot over the bar.
The chance Reading craved came in the 86th minute but Le Fondre sent a free header off target from Gunter's cross.
RT @OfficialBHAFC: Albion trio of Tomasz Kuszczak, Matt Upson and Liam Bridcutt don't play as a precaution due to minor injuries.— @JemStone 04 January 2014
RT @OfficialBHAFC: A brilliant #FACup third round crowd of 20,696, with an excellent @ReadingFC turnout of 2154. Thank you all for your sup…— @neilhawkins 04 January 2014
Reading sent on striker Pogrebnyak for McCleary
A pre-game club tweet said Bridcutt, Kuszczak and Upson were rested due to minor injuries. Personally I'm dubious sanyway as to how key it would be for Poyet that Bridcutt was not cup-tied!
4:29pm Sat 4 Jan 14
Is Bridcutt rested or are we to read anything further into his omission from todays team???
Warm ovation for March, replaced by LuaLua. 11 to go + stoppages. #bhafc— @AndyNaylorArgus 04 January 2014
Young midfielder Taylor saw glory beckoning on his full debut but sliced a 25-yard drive on the run wide with better options available.
Reading were seeing plenty of the ball though with Drenthe looking to make things happen.
A cross was missed by Le Fondre but flicked off El-Abd for a corner which Chicksen defended at the near post.
Albion countered and Barnes, with no other option, tried his luck from 30 yards – but his shot drifted wide.
March, who had passed the ball to Barnes, made his exit to a standing ovation before play resumed with LuaLua replacing him.
It was becoming a defensive test for Albion now, though, and Barnes got in another solid header when the next free-kick was lofted into their box.
The loose ball fell to LuaLua, who was fouled as he broke away.
As players then faced up to each other, Drenthe was booked.
Barnes produced a terrific defensive header from an inswinging corner as Reading chased an equaliser.
Chicksen did well to cover a dangerous run by Gunter, who was getting forward from right-back, and win a free-kick in the process.
As things opened up at the other end, Forster-Caskey made ground and saw his shot deflect for a corner.
Orlandi’s delivery of the flag kick was spot on but Dunk failed to get proper contact on his header as he jostled for position in front of goal and the ball glanced wide.
Reading made an attack-minded change as Williams replaced Kelly.
Dunk for Greer (67). Not injured, just eased back. #bhafc— @AndyNaylorArgus 04 January 2014
Orlandi's first action was to clear a low cross after a dangerous run down the left by Kelly.
Then Albion sent on Dunk in place of Greer, who had played 66 minutes on his return from injury.
Orlandi, looking to build his fitness after knee problems, was introduced in the 64th minute in place of Agustien.
Brighton still 1-0 up and looking comfortable. Should have put the game to bed already. #BHAFC #RFC— @Joe_Batchelor 04 January 2014
Lovely move ended with Agustien's curler from March pass tipped behind by the diving Federici. #bhafc— @AndyNaylorArgus 04 January 2014
Suddenly Reading – and principally Blackman – engineered an attack which almost dragged them level right in front of their own fans.
He was strong on the ball and spread it out to the left flank for Obita, whose cross seemed set for the head of Blackman right in front of goal until Greer got a glancing touch to take it away from him.
That sparked a much improved spell from Reading which brought a corner and hopeful penalty appeals for handball.
Blackman was at the heart of their best work. He sent Gunter overlapping outside him and the full-back slid in a low cross which Le Fondre looked to have diverted across Brezovan with a clever flick until the big keeper stuck out an arm to keep it out.
Reading’s fans behind that goal were not in good voice now.
But it was the North Stand which was almost celebrating as, beneath their gaze, March ran onto Crofts’ pass and saw his fierce low shot tipped away from the bottom corner by Federici at his near post.
Reading sent on Drenthe for Blackman.
Then, after terrific build-up work, Agustien looked to curl the ball right-footed inside the far post and Federici dived to his left to push it behind.
There were no changes for the start of the second half as Albion now attacked the North Stand.
Agustien had shot blocked and Chicksen overhit a cross after beating his man and getting to the byline as the hosts made the early running
1-0 to #bhafc at the break. Surely we will see more from Reading second half. They have been pathetic.— @AndyNaylorArgus 04 January 2014
Reading forced a corner down their left in the one added minute. Brezovan met it with a right-handed punch at his far post and ref Foy blew for the interval.
Half: Albion 1 Reading 0
Only concern for #bhafc is only 1-0 up. Shot count so far 8-0.— @AndyNaylorArgus 04 January 2014
Blackman delivered Reading’s best cross so far as he whipped the ball in from the right. Calderon headed it away and Albion latched on to the loose ball to counter.
March produced a trick to cut inside the back-tracking Le Fondre and glory beckoned for a moment - but his left-footed shot sailed a long way high and wide.
Le Fondre was then not too far from getting on the end of a far post cross as Reading showed signs of improvement.
BHAFC 1 READING 0; BBC Sussex's Adam Virgo "Reading have been really poor - they've not really started in the first half"— @BBCSussexSport 04 January 2014
Andrews quick throw to Barnes then trickery from Agustien. Beat 4 players but overdid it and shot was eventually blocked. #bhafc— @AndyNaylorArgus 04 January 2014
Albion were well on top and chasing a second goal. Agustien looked set to shoot right-footed as he latched on to a Barnes lay-off and made his way past tackles on the edge of the area.
But, with fans demanding a shot, he tried to cut back on to his left foot and curl for goal – and the effort was snuffed out.
A goal was coming though – and Albion’s luck turned a little as the breakthrough finally came in the 32nd minute. Agustien chipped the ball into Barnes just inside the box, he laid it off and CROFTS fired in a shot which took a deflection off Pearce to beat Federici.
Albion went quiet for a spell – but then suddenly conjured an attack which saw them hit the crossbar twice in a couple of seconds
March popped up to the left of goal and fired in a shot from the edge of the box which crashed against the bar, possibly with the help of Federici’s fingertips.
The rebound looped out towards Barnes, who looked set to head into an unguarded net with Federici still down but instead hit the bar.
March was going on some tricky, twisting runs down the right, although he had yet to find his range with his final ball.
He coaxed a free-kick out of Obita near the corner flag which came to nothing.
Suddenly Reading threatened as Albion passing broke down in their own half. Obita cruised past Calderon and crossed low into the path of Le Fondre but El-Abd recovered to get a foot in as the striker looked poised to get in a shot.
Albion’s slightly lop-sided shape left room into which Chicksen could venture forward.
He joined the attack for the first time in the 19th minute but miscued his cross behind for a goal kick.
March is already giving the experienced Kelly plenty to think about. #bhafc— @AndyNaylorArgus 04 January 2014
March was tight to the right touchline with Agustien and Crofts looking to get forward in support of Barnes.
Federici kept his side on terms in only the sixth minute as the Seagulls made a lively start.
He back-tracked smartly to somehow tip over an Andrews shot from outside the box which flicked off a defender and was looping under the bar.
As the pressure continued, the ball ran for Andrews to try his luck left-footed on the edge of the box and his effort flicked off the crossbar and behind.
Then March cut inside a tackle and passed to Forster-Caskey for a 20-yarder which flew past the post.
Albion were attacking the South Stand in the first half amid a pretty vibrant atmosphere .
Calderon was first to swing in a cross but it was too clsoe to recalled keeper Federici, who held comfortably to the delight of the Reading fans behind his goal.
Agustien left, Andrews, Crofts, JFC central triangle. #bhafc— @AndyNaylorArgus 04 January 2014
All change? Not quite. But it is a rejigged, shall we say, here today for Oscar Garcia’s FA Cup debut as head coach. No change to the weather though. The customary heavy rain and dark skies to which we have become accustomed in recent games here.
A good atmosphere is building up though and what looks like a very good turnout, helped by sensible pricing of course.
We are under way on third round day.