It's tough to know what to write in the immediate hours after you once again have your heart broken by the beautiful creature that is known as football. Tonight Reading battled like warriors but just couldn't hang on as a controversial late penalty from Yohan Cabaye and a breakaway finish from Frazier Campbell secured Palace a place at Wembley.
There can be few complaints at the result but it's the way it happened that stings right now.
Reading keeper Ali Al-Habsi had pulled off a string of saves to keep his side in the game under an almost constant barrage from Premier League Palace. 23 shots and 15 corners rained in on the Reading goal but for 85 minutes we stood firm until Yanik Bolasie went down in fairly soft circumstances under pressure from Jake Cooper to give Palace a penalty, with Cooper duly sent-off for a second yellow.
Was it a penalty?
I've seen it a few times now and yes it's ridiculously soft but the sad fact is that even if you think 99 times out of 100 it's not a penalty, Jake Cooper has put himself in a position where the referee can give a decision and that's just what Mike Dean did tonight. It's very harsh to say the least and if Alan Pardew was complaining about Liverpool's Christian Benteke last weekend, well his 'luck' evened itself out for this one.
A second goal soon followed as ten-man Reading threw men forward but the game was already over by the time Campbell finished things.
As mentioned and Reading couldn't really argue with coming out on the losing side here. There's a good reason Palace were inside the top six at the turn of the year and tonight they just had too much quality in the midfield for Brian McDermott's side to handle. Ola John had a couple of chances but beyond that we were restricted to set pieces, few of which Olly Norwood managed to deliver with great quality. Reading were brave but let themselves down a bit going forward with too many players giving the ball away cheaply. For 85 minutes they managed to make up for that with guts, spirit and determination but in the end it just wasn't enough.
Heartbreak for Reading Football Club here's some post-match reactionPosted by The Tilehurst End on Friday, 11 March 2016
So that's it for this year's FA Cup shenanigans. Reaching the last eight four times in six years has been a remarkable achievement though and once again its put a few quid in the coffers so that'll help come the summer rebuild.
Right now it hurts but that's the beauty of football, the pain tonight will only make that next triumph feel all the sweeter. We'll be going nowhere here on The Tilehurst End and you can expect plenty more reaction and analysis on the game over the weekend plus full coverage of our remaining Championship fixtures.