Sigurdsson sinks Baggies before all hell breaks loose

West Bromwich 2 Reading 3 (aet; 2-2 at 90min)
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The Independent Football

Reading, already victorious over Liverpool and Burnley, can now add West Bromwich Albion's name to their list of FA Cup victims after reaching the quarter-final for the first time since 1927 on a chaotic night at The Hawthorns.

Brian Howard equalised at 2-2 deep in stoppage-time, then Gylfi Sigurdsson curled in a 25-yarder to secure victory in extra time. The drama was still not over because Jobi McAnuff was sent off after the final whistle, apparently for a punch at Youssouf Malumbu that prompted more than 20 stewards to race on to the pitch.

The referee, Lee Mason, confirmed the Reading winger's dismissal for violent conduct but would not comment further. It was an astonishing finish and means Aston Villa will visit relegation-threatened Reading, rather than The Hawthorns, on Sunday week.

"The stewards definitely over-reacted," said Reading's manager, Brian McDermott. "There was so much going on and it was a mess. We'll try to pick our way through the footage to see what happened. But it hasn't tainted our night. It was a fantastic tie."

The visitors troubled Albion's flimsy defence all evening and finally induced costly mistakes by Gianni Zuiverloon and Abdoulaye Meite in the build-up to the last two goals. Howard, Barnsley's hero in their famous conquest of Anfield two years ago, calmly steered in the equaliser after Jimmy Kebe had set him up inside the area, then Sigurdsson, a 20-year-old Icelander who has come through the system at the Madejski Stadium, brilliantly took aim and dispatched his 10th goal of the season when fed by Simon Church. Sigurdsson had earlier rattled Albion's bar.

Yet the evening had looked like belonging to Robert Koren. He scored in the original meeting 12 days ago and struck twice here – a fierce close-range shot after seven minutes and a low 22-yard drive that slid under Adam Federici just after the break. Kebe scored Reading's first equaliser.

Albion's Roberto Di Matteo said: "We're destroyed. We put a lot of effort in and threw it away. I'm not going to comment on the incident at the end. The FA can deal with it." And it surely will.

West Bromwich Albion (4-4-2): Carson; Zuiverloon, Meite, Tamas, Mattock; Koren, Mulumbu, Dorrans (Morrison, 70), Moore (Cech, 78); Cox, Bednar (Wood, 39). Substitutes not used: Kiely (gk), Olsson, Brunt, Slory.

Reading (4-5-1): Federici; Griffin, Mills (Pearce, 72), Ingimarsson, Bertrand; Kebe, Tabb, Howard, Sigurdsson, McAnuff; Church. Substitutes not used: Hamer (gk), Matejovsky, Henry, Robson-Kanu, Rasiak, Thorvaldsson.

Referee: L Mason (Lancashire).

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