Scowcroft keeps Reading waiting for another year

Reading 1 - Leicester City 2

A last-minute James Scowcroft goal denied Reading a chance of reaching the last 16 of the FA Cup for only the second time in 76 years. Leicester, unbeaten in eight games now, deserved to go through having battered a Reading side who played the last 14 minutes with 10 men after Ricky Newman was sent off.

A last-minute James Scowcroft goal denied Reading a chance of reaching the last 16 of the FA Cup for only the second time in 76 years. Leicester, unbeaten in eight games now, deserved to go through having battered a Reading side who played the last 14 minutes with 10 men after Ricky Newman was sent off.

Reading won 2-0 when these sides met in the Championship at Leicester last month, but Steve Coppell's side have struggled to maintain that form and are yet to win in 2005, while a rejuvenated Leicester have not lost.

The Reading supporters did not seem too bothered and there were big gaps in the crowd. The large number of visiting Leicester fans thankfully gave the game a bit of an edge and some FA Cup atmosphere. Overall, it was a decent tie with a fair result.

Reading started well and deserved to lead through Nicky Forster's well-taken 10th-minute goal following a Graeme Murty pass. Reading's Les Ferdinand could have sent his former club all but out of the competition had he converted the easiest of chances from a couple of yards out soon after, but his miss marked a turning point.

"We all miss chances, so I'm not having a go, but we had Leicester on the rack at that stage and they were arguing with each other," Forster said. Leicester stopped the rot and the rowing, though, when Gareth Williams equalised in the 32nd minute, following up his own saved shot. And it took some great goalkeeping from Reading's American Marcus Hahnemann to stop Leicester from going ahead before the break.

Leicester, relegated from the Premiership last season, then showed the form that could yet help them climb into play-off contention. Reading had the occasional chance on the break, but Hahnemann seemed unbeatable.

Coppell, who admitted afterwards that Leicester had the better second half and that he dreaded a replay harming his promotion ambitions, claimed the turning point was the sending-off.

The referee, Andy D'Urso, had first taken Newman's name on the hour, harshly, for a challenge on the goalscorer Williams, but his later foul on Joey Gudjonsson was more worthy of a booking.

"That was the quickest hand-to-pocket I have ever seen in football," Coppell said. "I don't want to talk about Mr D'Urso. I think his past record speaks volumes." As Reading looked to hang on, Leicester sent on a fresh striker in the form of Mark De Vries for David Connolly. The switch nearly paid off instantly as De Vries ran at goal, only for Hahnemann to make another solid stop.

The Leicester manager, Craig Levein, ended up throwing on Dion Dublin and the kitchen sink too. It all paid off in time added on at the end when Scowcroft headed in from Jordan Stewart's deft cross from the left.

Levein said: "I wouldn't say the dismissal was the turning point because we were well on top by then, but it certainly had an impact.

"We took 15 to 20 minutes to settle down at the start and could have been two goals down, but I think we ultimately deserved to win. I didn't want a replay either. It would have been rewarding financially, but I could see a chance to win this game."

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