Reading 3 Burnley 2

By Footymad Previewer
Last updated : 11 January 2007
A late Burnley fight back failed to put the brakes on Reading's cruise into the fourth round of the FA Cup where they now travel to Newcastle or Birmingham.

A stunning strike from teenage striker Shane Long was the highlight of a three-goal blast that left Reading in cruise control.

But Burnley, who had managed just one goal in their previous ten games, struck twice late on to take the gloss off the win, although substitute Garreth O'Connor's injury-time second came too late to seriously threaten a dramatic fight back.

The Clarets were making their first appearance of 2007 after the weather had twice denied them the chance of a game - most recently the last-minute postponement of this third round tie.

But they were flushed away again by a Reading side who had made nine changes to the line-up that had thrashed West Ham 6-0 in their previous games and at times looked capable of repeating the dose.

Bobby Convey, back in the Reading side for the first time since October, thudded a fourth minute first-time effort against the outside of a post after a neat low cross by Long.

Long is the other part of Reading's Irish double bargain, bought with the pocket change during the £80,000 signing of Kevin Doyle two summers ago.

And the teenage striker showed he can be as big a hit as his pal as he made one and scored one to leave Reading coasting by half-time.

It was Long's flicked header from a Ulises De la Cruz pass on 27 minutes that set Leroy Lita clear for the opener. The striker muscled between two defenders and drilled a low shot beyond Brian Jensen.

Ten minutes later the combination was reversed as Long smashed in a stunning second.

Lita's clever chip over the defence allowed Long to run in behind and round Jensen with a neat first touch, but the angle looked too tight for a cross let alone a shot. Long though had other ideas and turned and smashed a fierce low shot into the far corner of the net.

Ten minutes into the second half Scott Golbourne's lob from the left wing allowed central defender Sam Sodje to steam in and head home his first Reading goal to leave the Royals coasting.

But the home side took their foot off the gas and Burnley responded to pull a goal back 20 minutes from time when Ade Akinbiyi ran on to a hopeful punt forward and took advantage of Adam Federici's hesitancy to lob the keeper from the edge of the box.

A comeback could have been on the cards 15 minutes from the end if Federici had not pushed out a hand to deny Akinbiyi and then save a point-blank Kyle Lafferty header from the resulting corner.

There was still time for substitute Alan Mahon to head over with the goal at his mercy and for James O'Connor's corner to bounce against the foot of a post, before Federici's flap fell kindly for O'Connor to side-foot home and give the result a flattering look.

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