On-song stop­per beaten at last from penalty spot

The Football League Paper - - FA CUP QUARTER-FINALS -

lous saves and he de­serves all the credit be­cause he’s just a fan­tas­tic hu­man be­ing.

“He’s al­ways got a smile on his face. He’s re­ally good with the younger play­ers. Ev­ery­thing about him as a per­son is top drawer and it is char­ac­ters like him who will move this club for­ward.”

As Al-Habsi will at­test, Palace cer­tainly dom­i­nated in terms of clear chances. In ad­di­tion to the keeper’s hero­ics, Joe Led­ley twice went close, first ex­pertly blocked by Cooper and then scoop­ing over the top. Bo­lasie hit the bar, Je­d­i­nak had an­other header cleared.

Yet Read­ing, or­gan­ised and dogged, dan­ger­ous on the counter through Hal Rob­son-Kanu, had chances of their own. The best both fell to winger Ola John, who latched onto a Wayne Hen­nessey flap be­fore lamp­ing a shot into the sidenet­ting, then headed low to force a fine save from the Ea­gles keeper.

Sadly, his profli­gacy would prove costly when Bo­lasie tum­bled chas­ing a ball over the top that, in all like­li­hood, would have reached Al-Habsi with­out any in­ter­ven­tion from Cooper. Read­ing did rally but when Bo­lasie and Ade­bayor linked to play in Camp­bell, the for­mer Manch­ester United striker bun­dled home. Mind you, Al-Habsi nearly stopped that one too.

“You know that Brian will set up a team to be on the front foot,” said Palace boss Alan Pardew, the for­mer Roy­als man­ager who brought McDer­mott to the club as a scout in 2000.

“His side work hard, they put crosses in. They did all of that and they had a great chance through Ola John’s header at 0-0. If that goes in, it might have been a very dif­fer­ent night. Those are the mar­gins at this level but we were good. I’m very pleased for the lads and the fans.”

CRYS­TAL CLEAR: Yohan Cabaye fires in his penalty for Palace



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