Baggies suffer fourth FA Cup exit to Royals since 2006
- Skipper Fletcher hands Albion the lead (54)
- Former Baggies defender McShane levels (59)
- Royals triumph through Hector (72) and Piazon (90+3)
- Attendance: 19,566
- Albion Star Man: Jonny Evans
ALBION’s FA Cup Reading bogey struck again to end their hopes of making a second successive appearance in the quarter-finals.
The Baggies looked to be on course when Darren Fletcher fired them into a 54th minute lead with a well-worked and well-taken goal.
But Albion’s afternoon, and that of nearly 4,000 travelling fans, was ruined by two goals headed in direct from free-kicks by ex-Hawthorns man Paul McShane and Michael Hector.
Their misery was complete in the dying seconds of added time when, with Albion desperate seeking an equaliser, they were punished on the break by a third Reading goal from substitute Lucas Piazon.
And that made it four times in a row that the Championship club have eliminated Albion from the FA Cup since 2006.
Albion had the chances to force a third successive replay after falling behind in an eventful second half triggered by Fletcher’s cross-shot from a fine pass from Salomon Rondon.
For five minutes all seemed well but that’s as long as Albion’s lead lasted as McShane and Hector stole in to head home free kicks in the 59th and 72nd minutes.
Albion forced chances to save the day but Saido Berahino, Fletcher and Stephane Sessegnon could not find a clinical finish from good openings - leaving Baggies to suffer the final blow from Piazon on a hugely disappointing afternoon.
READING: Al Habsi; Gunter, McShane, Norwood, Hector; Robson-Kanu, Rakels (John 59), Obita, Quinn, Cox (Vydra 59 ), Cooper.
Subs: Bond, McCleary, Ferdinand, Piazon, Barrett
ALBION: Foster; Chester, Evans, Olsson, Brunt; Sessegnon, Fletcher, Sandro (Pritchard 82) , McClean (Anichebe 75); Berahino, Rondon.
Subs: Myhill, Gardner, Yacob, Lambert, Pocognoli.
Bookings: Evans (foul 87)
Referee: Anthony Taylor (Wythenshawe)