Bitter pill for Bury to swallow

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The Independent Online
SIMON O'HAGAN

Reading 2 Bury 1

Accusations and denials overshadowed a dramatic Coca-Cola Cup third- round tie at Elm Park last night when a last-minute goal by Jimmy Quinn, the player-manager of First Division Reading, consigned Bury of the Third Division to the bitterest of defeats.

Two weeks ago, a first attempt to play the tie ended after 28 minutes when, with Bury leading 2-0, the referee called an abandonment because of torrential rain. Bury were unhappy with the decision, feeling that the home side had tried to press the referee into it, and their frustration spilt over again after the re-match - or so Quinn alleged.

Accusing the Bury players of making threats to his men as they left the field, Quinn said: "It's a bit naive if they think players can influence referees to call a match off. He was a decent ref and for them to call us cheats again is absolutely scandalous." Stan Ternant, the Bury manager, said: "I never heard anything like that. I heard Jimmy Quinn having a go at one of our players. Reading aren't cheats and neither are my players."

One would have felt for Bury even if the background to the occasion had been less contentious. For the opening half-hour they more than matched Reading before a succession of corners began to pin them back. In the 36th minute Lee Nogan brought the first save of the match from Gary Kelly, and five minutes later he should have done better when Chris Lucketti, the Bury central defender, inexplicably let a through-ball go past him. But Nogan's first touch let him down.

Reading went ahead courtesy of a 53rd-minute own goal by Lucketti, the ball glancing in off the back of his head after a free-kick from the left by Mick Gooding. But five minutes later a cleverly worked free-kick brought them level. Shaun Reid nudged the ball to Tony Rigby, who flicked it up to himself to volley home from 20 yards.

Bury then carried much of the game to Reading and perhaps should have had a penalty when James Lambert bundled over Mark Carter. But with a replay apparently secured, Quinn brought himself on with only two minutes left and headed in Lambert's cross with his second touch. Reading will be at home to Southampton in the fourth round.

Reading (3-5-2): Sheppard; McPherson, Holsgrove, Bernal; Brown, Gooding, Parkinson, Codner (Lambert, 73), Gilkes; Lovell (Quinn, 88), Nogan. Substitute not used: Jones.

Bury (4-4-2): Kelly; Cross, Lucketti, Matthewson, Bimson; Rigby (Daws, 83), Hughes, Reid, Pugh; Johnson (Carter, 70), Stant. Substitute not used: Sertori.

Referee: J Kirkby (Sheffield).

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