The FA Cup - Sixth Round
ReadingReading0Crystal PalaceCrystal Palace2

Reading 0-2 Crystal Palace

By Tom RostanceBBC Sport

Crystal Palace put their Premier League struggles on hold to earn a place in their first FA Cup semi-final in 21 years by beating Championship side Reading with two late goals.

Palace are without a league win in 2016 but will be at Wembley thanks to a Yohan Cabaye penalty and Fraizer Campbell's stoppage-time strike.

Reading had frustrated the Eagles before Jake Cooper was sent off for pulling back Yannick Bolasie. Cabaye converted from the spot before Campbell added a second from close range.

Palace boss Alan Pardew - who won promotion with Reading in his first managerial job - saw the tie as a chance for the Eagles to shake off their woeful league form but despite dominating possession and chances they could not find a way past Ali Al-Habsi in the Reading goal before the late penalty.

Reading took Arsenal to extra time in last year's semi-final but apart from an Ola John header which was well saved by Wayne Hennessey, they rarely threatened a repeat visit and were indebted to a string of fine saves from Al-Habsi.

He kept out Mile Jedinak's powerful header and two Cabaye free-kicks as the tie looked set for a replay, before the goalkeeper almost stopped the penalty awarded by referee Mike Dean for slight contact from Cooper as Bolasie chased a ball into the box.

Turning point for Pardew?

Pardew, 54, has strong FA Cup history with Palace, having scored the winner in the 1990 semi-final win against Liverpool.

And he will now hope to lead them to another final after seeing his side return to their counter-attacking best at times against stubborn opponents.

At the turn of the year Pardew may have been hoping for a place in the Champions League, with Palace four points off the top four in fifth, but they have picked up just two points since.

Premier League

Cup wins against Stoke, Southampton and Tottenham have lightened the gloom though and Pardew will hope this latest win can inspire enough Premier League points to help end any lingering relegation fears.

The front three of Bolasie, Wilfried Zaha and Emmanuel Adebayor were a constant threat as Palace chalked up 23 efforts on goal, with Adebayor spurning a golden chance in the first half and Bolasie twice shooting wide.

Former Tottenham and Arsenal man Adebayor then laid on the late second with a fine ball to find substitute Campbell as Palace wrapped up a professional and well-earned win.

Premier League

A week in the life of Palace penalty shouts

Last Sunday Pardew's side were on the wrong end of a late penalty decision, with the manager subsequently accusing Liverpool striker Christian Benteke of diving at Selhurst Park.

"You've got to be 100% sure," said Pardew at the weekend, before claiming "if it had been us, we would not have got [the decision]".

Five nights on, Pardew was less keen to speak about a contentious late penalty as Reading's 21-year-old defender Cooper was penalised for putting a hand across Bolasie inside the area.

"I haven't seen the penalty again and I am not going to even give it an opinion," he told BBC Sport.

"I have had enough trouble with penalties!"

What the managers said

Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew: "I thought it was going to go to a replay, if I'm honest. We've won, but we've got to win in the league.

"A semi-final in the Cup brings an excitement to you, and we hope that rubs off on our league form.

"We've had to win at Southampton and Tottenham, Stoke at home and now at Reading, and yet we can't get a win in the league.

"We've been pressure conscious of late, but that wasn't there in the Cup. We have 10 games left now and we're looking forward to them."

Reading boss Brian McDermott: "The players are gutted in the dressing room, we want this every week.

Only Coats and Horses... McDermott tickled by Walker's attire

"We went toe to toe with a very good Premier League side.

"Our priority is the league. We don't want it to be a situation where we talk about the FA Cup and FA Cup runs.

"We want to be talking about winning league games. The last 18 months, we've not done that."

Man of the match - Ali Al-Habsi (Reading)

Ali Al-Habsi
Reading goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi made five saves to keep Crystal Palace out before Yohan Cabaye's penalty - and he perhaps should have saved that too

What next?

Palace will learn their semi-final opponents on Monday, with the draw taking place during The One Show on BBC One at 19:00 GMT.

Then they are back in Premier League action against leaders Leicester on 19 March. Reading - 11 points away from the Championship play-offs, nine from the relegation zone - face Brighton on Tuesday.

Line-ups

Reading

Formation 4-1-4-1

  • 26Al Habsi
  • 2GunterBooked at 58mins
  • 5McShane
  • 35CooperBooked at 85mins
  • 11ObitaSubstituted forRakelsat 90'minutes
  • 8HectorBooked at 30mins
  • 9Robson-Kanu
  • 6NorwoodSubstituted forWilliamsat 75'minutes
  • 21Quinn
  • 20John
  • 31CoxSubstituted forVydraat 60'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Bond
  • 7Vydra
  • 10Rakels
  • 12McCleary
  • 15Ferdinand
  • 17Piazon
  • 23Williams

Crystal Palace

Formation 4-4-2

  • 13Hennessey
  • 2Ward
  • 6Dann
  • 27Delaney
  • 23Souaré
  • 11ZahaBooked at 58mins
  • 7Cabaye
  • 15JedinakBooked at 89mins
  • 28LedleySubstituted forSakoat 79'minutes
  • 10BolasieBooked at 62minsSubstituted forCampbellat 90'minutes
  • 25Adebayor

Substitutes

  • 9Campbell
  • 12McCarthy
  • 16Gayle
  • 22Mutch
  • 26Sako
  • 34Kelly
  • 42Puncheon
Referee:
Mike Dean
Attendance:
23,110

Match Stats

Home TeamReadingAway TeamCrystal Palace
Possession
Home49%
Away51%
Shots
Home10
Away23
Shots on Target
Home3
Away9
Corners
Home3
Away15
Fouls
Home14
Away13

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Reading 0, Crystal Palace 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Reading 0, Crystal Palace 2.

  3. Post update

    Corner, Reading. Conceded by Joel Ward.

  4. Goal!

    Goal! Reading 0, Crystal Palace 2. Fraizer Campbell (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from very close range to the high centre of the goal.

  5. Post update

    Attempt saved. Fraizer Campbell (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Emmanuel Adebayor.

  6. Post update

    Offside, Crystal Palace. Yohan Cabaye tries a through ball, but Emmanuel Adebayor is caught offside.

  7. Post update

    Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Michael Hector.

  8. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Danny Williams (Reading) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Stephen Quinn with a headed pass.

  9. Substitution

    Substitution, Reading. Deniss Rakels replaces Jordan Obita.

  10. Substitution

    Substitution, Crystal Palace. Fraizer Campbell replaces Yannick Bolasie.

  11. Booking

    Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace).

  13. Post update

    Danny Williams (Reading) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  14. Post update

    Yannick Bolasie (Crystal Palace) hits the bar with a right footed shot from the left side of the box. Assisted by Pape Souaré.

  15. Goal!

    Goal! Reading 0, Crystal Palace 1. Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the centre of the goal.

  16. Dismissal

    Second yellow card to Jake Cooper (Reading) for a bad foul.

  17. Post update

    Penalty Crystal Palace. Yannick Bolasie draws a foul in the penalty area.

  18. Post update

    Penalty conceded by Jake Cooper (Reading) after a foul in the penalty area.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Hal Robson-Kanu (Reading).

  20. Post update

    Emmanuel Adebayor (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick on the left wing.

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