Cup-loving Royals flying high
READING boss Brian McDermott wants his love affair with the FA Cup to put the smiles back on the faces of Royals fans as they reached the fifth round of the competition for the fifth time in seven years after thumping League One promotion chasers Walsall.
The Berkshire club reached the semi-final last year under Steve Clarke but McDermott put out another strong side to see off the Saddlers and insisted the cup is vital to his long-term plans.
Matej Vydra’s double took his tally to six goals in three FA Cup games of the campaign.
And the Royals boss said: “I love this competition.
“Last season we got to the semifinals and the fans had a great day out, and this result keeps our season going.
“We’ve had some special times in the past and we’re trying to recreate them.
“We’re trying to build something here and that takes time. I want to bring the smiles back to people’s faces and make this a happy place to come to work. I want to enjoy coming to work and the best way to do that is by winning.”
McDermott saw his side dispatch Walsall efficiently after an early scare when Saddlers striker Tom Bradshaw’s shot deflected inches wide.
Hal Robson-Kanu opened the scoring when he spun his marker Andrew Taylor to rifle home a left foot shot on 37 minutes and Vydra notched Reading’s second three minutes later when he was on the spot to tap home Stephen Quinn’s cross.
Walsall briefly threatened to claw their way back when Romaine Sawyers’ 55th minute shot crashed against the crossbar, but they were the architects of their own downfall when James O’Connor gifted the ball to Danny Williams who drove on to score. And as defenders closed in on him the resulting collision with Walsall keeper Neil Etheridge resulted in the stopper being stretched off with a gashed knee.
Vydra robbed teammate Williams of a second goal when he tapped in the midfielder’s goalbound effort and was promptly ruled offside, but he made amends a minute later when he arrived at the near post to head home Chris Gunter’s cross.
McDermott added: “I told him at half-time I fancied him for a hattrick and he almost pulled it off. When he came off he was more upset about robbing Danny of a goal than he was at missing out, and that shows what a team player he is.”
Walsall boss Sean O’Driscoll admitted: “We were well in it until the second goal.
“It took us a while to work out what we needed to do and we were well in the game until the second goal.
“Reading are a battle-hardened Championship side who did the right things at the right time and it was a test of our discipline and decision making.
“I thought we were excellent in the second half until our two central defenders made a mistake and we were 3-0 down.
“But what we learn for this will stand us in good stead. Credit to Reading, they were professional and disciplined.
“Neil Etheridge has a nasty gash on his knee where he caught a stud for their third goal.
“Several of our players showed they could play at a high level, and no doubt there will be speculation surrounding them until the transfer window closes.”
DOUBLE TROUBLE: Reading’s Matej Vydra scored twice and could have had a hat-trick