Last Updated: 22/09/12 4:53pm
And that's it! Romelu Lukaku's goal is enough to separate the two sides. Inspired substitutions from Steve Clarke sees Graham Dorrans and Shane Long combine to allow Lukaku to drill the ball past McCarthy. The visiting keeper was in great form throughout but could do nothing about the solitary finish. Reading had few chances, the best being McCleary's first-half overheader in the box. 1-0 West Brom.
Foster is taking his time with this free-kick following an offside flag in the West Brom half. They're just running down the clock now it seems.
Dorrans goes for a hopeful ball into the box and launches it high and wide gifting possession back to Reading.
It's Lukaku's solitary goal separating the two in what is his first start for the Baggies since his loan move from Chelsea. Can the hosts hang on?
Time is slowly running out for McDermott's men. They're looking a little like they're running out of ideas too.
Le Fondre goes for a header in the box, Hunt's in there too and it comes off the back of Ridgewell and nestles into Foster's arms. Decent chance out of nothing there.
Robson-Kanu slips at the vital moment as he's released down the left and has the perfect opportunity to drill the ball back across goal. The sub loses his footing just before though and the chance goes begging.
Long goes down quite cheaply under a Long challenge. It's just robust, not a foul. The Royals man has hit the deck a fair few times today.
McAnuff is doing his defensive duties well at right-back. It's unfamiliar territory for the skipper but he's proving solid.
The linesman has had a 'mare there! Flagged one way and then the other when the ball went out for a throw-in - much to the dismay of Rosenberg!
The Baggies have made all their changes but Mulumbu looks in agony after a McCleary challenge. Looks like a dead leg. He's on his feet but may need a few minutes to get going again.
Robson-Kanu gets on the end of a beautiful clipped in ball towards the backpost from McCleary, the substitute connects but it loops on to the top of the net. Great effort.
There's still plenty to play for in this game, Reading are by no means beaten yet and with a more attacking force following the substitutions - Clarke's men will have a job on their hands to see this lead out.
That's the intent from McDermott then - McAnuff has gone into defence with Robson-Kanu providing the width.
Or will it be the introduction of Long to fire the Albion further ahead? Extremely important last ten minutes to come.
Can Reading get back into this through the new strike force of ALF and Hunt? They're desperate for some decent service.
Off comes goalscorer Romelu Lukaku - that strike will do his confidence the world of good. He comes off for Swedish international Markus Rosenberg.
It is infact all Reading at the moment, they're looking for pockets of space to exploit the Baggies and get back into this game.
Clarke's inspired substitutions have proved to be the turning point so far, McDermott needs a reply.
That goal has stunned Reading who appeared to be getting into this game. Let's see how they respond - perfect time for Hunt to signal his intent for a start.
Well they weren't bad substitutions were they! Dorrans and Long changing the face of this game instantly.
GOAL WEST BROM!!! Lukaku brings the ball down on the edge of the box, shifts it on to his left and drills the ball past a helpless Alex McCarthy. Dorrans' ball initially was glorious, Shane Long headed the ball down to the Belgian who made no mistake.
McAnuff seems a little frustrated - partly because he's getting very few decisions from the referee but those from Foy seem justified. Needs to stay on his feet more.
Shane Long comes on for James Morrison. The Reading faithful are also on their feet to cheer on their former hotshot striker.
It's all going through Lukaku at the minute. You can't fault his tenacity, he just needs to work on weighting his passes a little better - there's been opportunities when he's over-shot passes in good areas.
Gunter goes to ground under a tenacious Lukaku, it's not a foul but McCarthy is straight out of the blocks and tackles the forward in the box. The ball also cannons back off the Belgian for a goal-kick. Well done McCarthy!
Good bending effort from Nicky Shorey with his left peg. It's always on the rise though and sails over the bar.
Chris Foy pulls Yacob up for a late foul on Guthrie after a poor clearance from Olsson. Opportunity for Reading here - central free-kick, 25 yards out.
McCleary and Gorkss help to clear the set-piece as the Royals look to get back into the swing of retaining possession.
It's floated towards Liam Ridgewell but the centre-back-cum-left-back can't connect. It eventually goes out for another corner from the other side.
McAnuff is not happy with Chris Foy as he jinks passed a couple of Baggies players, he falls into Jones who barely moves and goes down in the box. Nothing given and rightly so.
That has hopefully livened things up a little, Reading have a promising 'keeper on their hands if today is anything to go by - McCarthy's been outstanding when called upon.
Great effort from Morrison on the volley! Superb tekkers from the Scotsman! Brilliantly saved by McCarthy to his right too - even better tekkers. Great passage of play from the edge of the box.
Reading don't really make enough of the set-piece and Pogrebnyak goes for a half volley from a tight angle in the box which blazes over - he's also offside.
Ridgewall has a right pop at the official as Pogrebnyak goes down to the floor, very easily indeed. He's adamant he didn't touch the striker and on the replay it does look harsh to say the least. Free-kick Reading.
Lukaku finds himself offside after another promising attack. Morrison seemed to stall on the ball too which didn't help the Belgian flying down the left wing.
Olsson attempts to get to an in-swinging corner but to no avail, Gunter's bravery to prevent a goal has also seen him face plant in the process. He's back up, albeit groggily.
McAuley's boot gets in the way of an advancing Le Fondre - he's smashed in the process but Chris Foy doesn't give anything. Clear free-kick in my eyes.
Brunt delivers a delicious ball - yes I said delicious - into the box from the left channel, it's begging to be headed goalwards but with little options up top, the Baggies are outnumbered once more.
It's ALF now with the chance who attacks a dangerous McAnuff cross from the left, Foster rises highest and parries the ball away and in turn damages himself in the process. It's a hell of a clattering between the two.
Excellent build-up from West Brom, the final ball from Lukaku to Brunt on the left was a little wide but the midfielder manages to whip in a great ball towards his frontman who attempts a header. Reading manage to shadow the Belgian out.
Pearce anticipates an early ball to Lukaku, the pass wasn't accurate enough giving the defender the edge to head back to his 'keeper.
That's it for the half. West Brom have had the best chances of the game with Olsson's header striking the post, Morrison bringing out a top drawer save from McCarthy and Lukaku coming close before being denied by Gunter. At the other end, McCleary's audacious overhead kick is the best effort for the Royals. 0-0
Two great opportunities from the Albion there, they will be wondering how they haven't quite opened the scoring yet.
Hits the bar! Great header from Olsson, it's well directed to McCarthy's right-hand post and the Swede sees his effort cannon back off the woodwork.
Chris Gunter flies in for a last-ditch tackle to deny an advancing Lukaku who tried to slide the ball past McCarthy from eight yards out.
McAnuff is brought down around 20 yards out just to the left of the box. Shorey lofts a teasing ball to the back post which meets the head of Pearce - however the defender loops his chance over the bar.
There's far too many loose passes in this game, the managers need to fire these sides up during the interval - it's far too sloppy at the moment.
Former Newcastle man Guthrie steps up for the curler and smashes it well over the bar and in turn hears the ironic 'Waheey' cheers from the stands.
Great position for Reading from a free-kick. It's pretty central, around 25 yards out. Guthrie and Gunter step over it.
Awful ball to Lukaku after a great run from Morrison, the Scotsman just over-hits his delivery and the forward struggles to get his head to it in the box. Golden opportunity wasted!
It's a bit stop-start for West Brom, the crowd are making them know it too. They seem to be a bit lacking in options upfront with Lukaku the lone man.
McAnuff is desperately trying to drive his team forward from the flanks. The game is really opening up now.
McAnuff may have had a penalty shout there, he's gone down in the box under a robust challenge but on the replay it looks like Chris Foy has the decision spot on as he blows for a goal-kick. It's clearly not a penalty either, even if it was a foul - it was outside the box.
Gunter tries a cross which cannons back into his feet and he swings in another with his left into the danger area. It's just about cleared. Good play Reading.
ALF goes for a ridiculous effort on the volley from outside the box - but fair play to the confident striker, he didn't really have any other options.
The beast that is Leigertwood clears the in-swinging corner, superb positioning from the defender. Olsson was lurking just behind him too.
West Brom win a corner after McCarthy can't quite keep his cross in play. Can they make their pressure count?
Gera is slowly getting into this game and proving to be a threat in the final third. Plenty for the visitors to think about.
Great chance for the Baggies there, will be interesting to see how Reading react because they should've been 1-0 down.
Should've been! Great exchanges between Gera and Morrison. The move eventually sees Morrison disguise his pass and thread through Gera in the box who takes a touch on his left and drags it across McCarthy's post with his right. Should've been a goal!
The delivery looks for Olsson who is well marked in the box, he's no chance of getting his bonce onto that ball. Nicely done Reading, off they go on the attack.
Ridgewell finds himself as the left winger and attempts a cross which is charged down for a corner. Great chance.
Very little to shout about in either penalty box though, let's hope that changes so I've got some goals to bring you!
It's settled nicely now, West Brom are having the lion's share of possession - to be expected being the home side. But it's pretty even so far.
Reading win a free-kick in the West Brom half. It's a decent position for a right-footer - Guthrie looks favourite.
Pearce has his work cut out today up against Lukaku, he's winning a few battles though so far. The forward is mostly gambling on loose passes.
Again they stand off Morrison who doesn't take too many invites to shoot - however his 25-yarder this time spoons off his foot and into Row Z.
West Brom are themselves guilty of losing possession in promising positions, it's a bit scrappy at the moment from both sides. Much to the disappointment of the Hawthorns' faithful.
Reading need to get their wingers into this game more, Le Fondre and Pogrebnyak are anonymous at the moment with no service from the flanks.
After good play from Mulumbu to find Lukaku, the forward tries one too many tricks and runs into trouble breaking down play on the edge of the box.
Gorkss bundles his way through challenges and goes for an ambitious 30-yarder... it's dragged well, well wide of Foster's left-hand post.
Reading are slowly getting into this game now, they seem to have weathered an early West Brom storm and are looking more comfortable in possession.
It's the first time I've heard Pogrebnyak on the ball, both he and Le Fondre have been very quiet in these opening exchanges.
Lukaku stands up a cross to the far stick from the right towards the head of Brunt, it's a teaser but McCarthy dives and punches the danger away... the ball that is, not Brunt.
The protests are still continuing from the sidelines following that Pearce challenge. On the field, Brunt tries to slip in Lukaku through the eye of a needles and just over-hits the pass.
Pearce gets lucky with what looked like a foul and ultimately broke down a West Brom attack as he hauled down Morrison in their half. Clarke's not happy with that decision!
McCleary goes for the audacious and bicycle kicks a cross from McAnuff just inside the box. It's straight into the arms of Foster but it's one for the cameras that he should be proud of.
There's so much space for the hosts, they're picking passes out across the park and stretching Reading to the maximum it seems.
The visitors will have to tighten up and close down the Baggies midfield more if they are to stifle the play from Morrison and Brunt - the pair are dictating the game at the moment.
Great save from McCarthy, he pushes a drilled effort from Morrison past his right-hand post. The Reading defence just stood off the Baggies midfielder who made the most of the space from 20 yards out.
The Baggies are trying the early ball everytime they receive possession so they can release Lukaku and use the dangerman's pace to full advantage.
Ridgewell fires a dangerous ball into the head of Lukaku who strays offside. McCarthy collected the danger ball regardless of the linesman's call.
It's well cleared by Reading. But the ball eventually falls to Brunt who releases Lukaku down the right flank. The forward skips past his marker and drills in a cross which Reading do well to clear.
McAnuff will be looking to get on the ball as much as possible, it's imperative the Royals use him to their advantage.
Lukaku is looking hungry, chasing every ball down in these early stages - he'll be looking to impress in his first start for the Baggies.
Foster gets his first couple of touches of the ball following a loose pass. Sun is blazing at The Hawthorns today!
So there you have it, West Brom manager Steve Clarke has opted to leave out former Royals hitman Shane Long and has instead brought in on-loan Chelsea forward Romelu Lukaku. The suspended Peter Odemwingie and fellow forward Marc-Antoine Fortune have also made way for Zoltan Gera and fit-again skipper Chris Brunt respectively in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Meanwhile, former Albion defender Nicky Shorey makes his first start since returning to Reading from The Hawthorns during the summer.
Reading: McCarthy, Gunter, Gorkss, Pearce, Shorey, McCleary, Guthrie, Leigertwood, McAnuff, Pogrebnyak, Le Fondre. Subs: Taylor, Karacan, Mariappa, Hunt, Church, Robson-Kanu and Cummings.
West Brom: Foster, Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell, Morrison, Mulumbu, Yacob, Brunt, Gera, Lukaku. Subs: Myhill, Rosenberg, Long, Dorrans, Jara, Dawson and Fortune.
Couple of score predictions coming in early doors via Twitter. Daniel Harte says 'West Brom 2-0 Reading' and Gabriel Sutton adds: 'Fancy a draw for this. West Brom will miss Odemwingie, Reading to bounce back from Spurs game. 1-1 Lukaku and Le Fondre. Thanks chaps, what does everybody else think? Tweet me @HayleyP_11
Today also marks a big occasion for Nicky Shorey - now at Reading - and West Brom's Shane Long who will be facing their old clubs.
On the other side of the coin, West Brom go into the tie with a near-perfect record on home soil having won seven and lost none of their last eight league meetings at The Hawthorns against Reading.
In the run-up to kick-off, I'll offer you some match facts - tell them to people at parties, you're sure to be a hit. So, here goes... In all competitions Reading have won five and lost just one of their last 10 matches vs West Brom.