Cup-lov­ing Roy­als fly­ing high

The Football League Paper - - FA CUP FOURTH ROUND - By John May

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.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

DOU­BLE TROU­BLE: Read­ing’s Matej Vy­dra scored twice and could have had a hat-trick

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