Morley turns the tide for Reading

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The Independent Online
Having narrowly failed to win promotion from the First Division last season, Reading last night had the consolation of reaching the quarter- finals of the Coca-Cola Cup for the first time, showing more of the required spirit in seeing off Premiership opposition.

This was a match Reading were perhaps fortunate to be involved in after the drama and controversy that accompanied their third-round tie against Third Division Bury. Benefiting from the abandonment of their first meeting when Bury were leading 2-0, Reading went on to win the rescheduled match thanks to a last-minute goal by their joint player-manager Jimmy Quinn.

The conditions were again wet for the visit of Southampton, and again the circumstances surrounding the fixture were contentious, Southampton having received a hoax telephone call during the afternoon informing them the match was off.

Their players still made it on time, but the late arrival of coaches bringing supporters up from the south coast caused the kick-off to be delayed by 15 minutes. By then a rousing atmosphere had built up in a packed Elm Park, and the home team responded with a second-minute raid which ended when Lee Nogan shot wide from the edge of the penalty area.

In defiance of the conditions, Southampton made intricate attempts to play their way into a position of control and made life uncomfortable for the Reading goalkeeper, Simon Sheppard, with a series of awkward crosses. But with Matthew Le Tissier swamped in more senses than one, progress was only fitful.

The first clear-cut chance fell to Reading after 20 minutes, but Kenny Brown headed straight at Dave Beasant. Southampton, however, were looking vulnerable, and with 29 minutes gone Reading went ahead. The quality of Mick Gooding's through-ball improved when Jason Dodd slipped on the sticky surface, and Nogan gave Beasant no chance with a well-executed chip.

It was not surprising that when Southampton equalised, on the stroke of half-time, the goal came from a free-kick. Le Tissier, naturally, was the provider, curling the ball over from the right, and Ken Monkou was left with an easy header at the far post.

Reading were unperturbed by this set-back, and in the 64th minute Trevor Morley, the striker they bought from West Ham in the summer, headed the winner from Tom Jones's cross.

Reading (5-3-2): Sheppard; Brown, McPherson, Holsgrove, Bernal (Swales, 68), Wdowczyk; Gooding, Parkinson, Jones (Gilkes, 80); Morley (Quinn, 88), Nogan.

Southampton (4-4-2): Beasant; Dodd, Hall, Monkou, Benali; Le Tissier, Magilton, Venison, Hughes (Watson, 66); Shipperley, Warren (Heaney, 66). Substitute not used: Maddison.

Referee: M Reed (Birmingham).