You will not find them belittling the FA Cup at Reading, certainly not their manager and leading striker. Brian McDermott has overseen five victories in the competition inside the calendar year he has been their manager – produce that run in the same season and you're in the final - with Shane Long supplying most of the bullets.
McDermott helped the Royals outwit Liverpool, Burnley and West Brom on their way to the quarter-finals last season after succeeding Brendan Rodgers. Albion were conquered again three weeks ago, with Stevenage added to the list on Saturday. "The FA Cup has been great for me, I love it," said McDermott. Long has scored five goals in that sequence, including the winners in the third and fourth round this time.
The Republic of Ireland international made it 15 for the season when he volleyed home from close range following Jobi McAnuff's deep cross three minutes from time at the Lamex Stadium. "It was nice to get the winner in front of our own fans," said Long. "I was tempted to jump into the crowd but thought better of it. They were going bonkers. It was brilliant they had something to celebrate going home."
The Championship side matched Stevenage physically and led through Mikele Leigertwood's left-foot strike after 23 minutes. The midfielder has yet to be on the losing side in his 10 games since joining on loan from QPR.
However, the Stevenage manager, Graham Westley, reorganised at half-time and pushed the left-back Darius Charles up front, as you do. Charles soon made his presence felt and equalised after 72 minutes with a fine shot from outside the area. But they missed him in defence when Long got round the back and beat Chris Day for the winner.
Stevenage (4-4-2): Day; Henry, Roberts, Ashton, Charles (Odubade, 82); Wilson, Bridges (Sinclair, 51), Bostwick, Laird; Winn (Long, 83), Beardsley. Substitutes not used: Bayes (gk), Foster, Griffin, Daley. Booked Laird.
Reading (4-4-2): Federici; Griffin, Mills, Ingimarsson, Harte; McAnuff, Karacan, Leigertwood, Robson-Kanu (Antonio, 73); Church, Long. Substitutes not used: Tabb, Hunt, Khuizanishvili, Cummings, Armstrong, McCarthy.
Match rating 7/10
Man of match Leigertwood.
Referee A Taylor (Lancashire).
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