Royals denied in cup thriller
Both sides reduced to ten men in cup encounter
By Hayley Paterson. Last Updated: 13/02/10 6:03pm
Kebe: Quickest off mark
Reading's Jimmy Kebe scored one of the fastest goals in FA Cup history but West Brom forced a replay with three minutes to spare.
Kebe scored after just seven seconds at the Madejski Stadium to kick-start a thrilling cup tie which saw both sides reduced to ten men in the second-half.
Robert Koren was a last-minute selection by Robert Di Matteo for the tie and repaid his manager's faith with an 18th minute equaliser. However Reading substitute Simon Church seemed to have put Brian McDermott's side into the last eight for the first time since 1927.
But the Baggies had a sucker punch of their own when left-back Joe Mattock forced a replay at The Hawthorns in ten days time when he rifled home an 87th-minute strike.
Reading forward Shane Long was dismissed in the 48th minute for a lunge on Abdoulaye Meite. He was soon joined on the sidelines by Albion substitute Youssouf Mulumbu who lasted just 16 minutes before seeing red.
Di Matteo scored in two final wins for Chelsea but saw his plans disrupted late on when winger Andwele Slory injured his heel in the warm-up, so Koren took his place in midfield.
The Slovenian barely had time to lace his boots when the hosts were ahead as Kebe struck with just seven seconds on the clock.
Kebe capitalised on Gianni Zuiverloon's hesitation on the ball and challenged the right-back on the edge of the area.
The Mali international swept into the box and steered the ball under goalkeeper Scott Carson to give the Royals a historical start.
Non-league Ashton United midfielder Gareth Morris notched after only four seconds of a first qualifying round tie against Skelmersdale United in 2001, but Kebe's strike is believed to be the quickest in the FA Cup proper.
Kebe could have doubled his tally but wasted a free header. His miss was soon punished as Koren levelled in the 18th minute after great work from Chris Brunt.
The Northern Irish winger cut inside onto his favoured left foot from the right and delivered an inch-perfect cross over goalkeeper Adam Federici for Koren to tap in from close range.
Koren's stinging volley crashed against the woodwork as the visitors ended the first half the strongest before the game exploded back into life after the break.
Mulumbu came on at the interval to replace the injured Gonzalo Jara and was booked within 60 seconds.
However it was Reading who were first to be reduced to ten men when Long, a match hero for scoring the winner against Liverpool in the previous round, turned villain when he was dismissed three minutes into the second-half for jumping into a challenge on Abdoulaye Meite.
The away side were almost quick to make their man advantage count as Roman Bednar grazed the post with a measured effort following a flowing move involving Simon Cox and Graham Dorrans.
Brunt crashed two long-range shots just wide as the pressure mounted on Federici's goal until Mulumbu saw red just past the hour mark.
The midfielder was already on a yellow for his earlier challenge when he carelessly checked the run of Brynjar Gunnarsson and was given his marching orders.
Albion continued to pepper the Reading goal but it was the Royals who forged ahead in the 73rd minute.
Grzegorz Rasiak unlocked a shaky offside trap with a lofted pass forward and fellow substitute Church was left one-on-one with Carson.
His initial chip was saved by the former England goalkeeper but Church latched onto the loose ball and fired into an open goal.
The visitors remained calm as they looked for the equaliser to force a replay. They got it in dramatic fashion with three minutes left thanks to Mattock's sublime finish.
Dorrans carried the ball forward and shaped to shoot but instead played in Cox on the edge of the area.
The former Reading forward picked out Mattock in space on the left and he thundered a first-time drive past Federici into the far corner.