MATCH REPORT: 2006/2007 Season

27 January 2007: FA CUP ROUND 4
Reading: Kitson (3 mins), Lita (41 mins, 82 mins).
Birmingham City: Martin Taylor (47 mins), Larsson (90 mins).
Half Time: 0-2
Attendance: 20,041

Pos Team P Pts GD
6 Portsmouth 24 37 +10
7 READING 24 34 +2
8 Tottenham 24 33 -3
Reading: Federici, Murty, Bikey, Sodje, De la Cruz, Ki-Hyeon, Harper (Osano 90), Oster, Convey, Lita, Kitson (Cox 78). Subs Not Used: Hahnemann, Hunt, Ingimarsson.
Birmingham City: Maik Taylor, N'Gotty (Danns 80), Martin Taylor, Upson, Sadler, Larsson, Johnson, Muamba (Kilkenny 80), McSheffrey, Jerome, Campbell (Bendtner 68). Subs Not Used: Doyle, Nafti.
Reading: Kitson, Federici, Harper, Bikey.
Birmingham City: Upson.
Ref: P Dowd (Staffordshire).
Reading booked a rare appearance in round five of the FA Cup with a 3-2 victory at Championship Birmingham City. This was an impressive result for Reading who rested several key players but still produced a convincing performance to earn a big win. Dave Kitson made another return from injury to start the game and complete his first full forty-five minutes of the season for the first team. That was good news alone, but it was better in the opening three minutes for Kitson as he scored the first goal of the game to send Reading on their way. It was a solid start for Reading with Seol immediately causing problems for the home side down the wing before crossing to Kitson. Kitson made no mistake in the middle, making the most of his chance to put Reading ahead. It was a key point in the game with Reading showing they would take their chances - while Birmingham wasted more than enough chances to get back in the game - and it cost them dearly. Firstly they managed to put the ball wide from close range and then headed directly at Federici from just six yards out. Federici was having another good FA Cup game, as was the defence in front of him as Reading defended their lead. City should have pulled level again before Reading went down the other end and doubled their lead with probably only their second clear chance of the half. Convey crossed from the left and Lita accepted the opportunity in the middle to put the ball into the back of the net.

Birmingham pulled a goal back after the break to set up an entertaining second half but Reading remained solid in all areas. City were struggling to break through and Reading looked dangerous on the counter attack. With eight minutes on the clock, Reading wrapped up the win when Leroy Lita broke free to stride towards goal and finish for his second of the game to make it 3-1. The game was won at that point, but City did manage a late consolation goal when Larsson scored from a free-kick.

What a fantastic performance by our so called second string against a full strength Birmingham side in their own back yard. I'm getting to the stage where I'm not sure what's going to happen next in these amazing times as a Reading FC loyal supporter. Who'd have thought we'd see the day when Reading would go to a place like Birmingham, rest seven players and still put in a performance like that and return victorious, simply brilliant. Yes in the main it was a defensive display, but what do you expect away from home and after the way Brum demolished Newcastle. Lita will take the headlines and had a good game capped by two goals and good to see him do what he does best rather that swallow diving all over the place, but for me Federici, Bikey and Sodje were quite outstanding . Sodje made a couple of brilliant tackles when Brum looked to have a great scoring chance and Bikey was as solid as a rock. Harper and Oster also deserve paludits and both worked their socks off , well played lads. Federici looks a great prospect and will be good competition for Hahnemann. On pitch that looked like it had glue spread all over it , we played with confidence and authority and with Kitson starting and in the fray plus the ever dependable Murty marshalling the troops it was a great all round performance. A tremedous cup tie palyed from end to end and a great result that was capped by my mate Big Bob catching Kitsons shirt as he hurled it into the crowd at the end, we spent the happy journey home with the shirt draped over the dashboard of the car with the aroma of Kits sweat and embrocation wafting around the car, oh happy days! Let's all pray for a good home draw in the next round and then who knows!
Nick Newbury

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