Reading are developing a reputation for being Cup specialists after last years run to the semi’s and a good record in the FA Cup. However it all came down to earth with a bump on Friday when visitors Crystal Palace left the Madjeski with a place in the Semis’ and a date at Wembley in April.
If we are being fair about things then a draw probably would have flattered a valiant Reading side, however the manner in which we went out was the focus of the highlights and 90% of the views on Twitter.
So what was being said? The penalty obviously drew most headlines and comments, but some rather heavy handed policing did get a mention amongst the Reading fans, along with some famous(!) fans and a re-enactment of Dirty Dancing.
Only one place to start that "penalty"
More I see the penalty the more contact I see! Still a very harsh a soft penalty but oh well! #cpfc— Chung-Yong Lee (@cpfctom99) March 12, 2016
Pardew taking lessons of Wenger – "No comment"
I love my team and feel we fully deserved the win last night but Pardew has to condemn Bolasie as he did Benteke #cpfc— Gary Byfield (@GaryBizzle) March 12, 2016
Petitions – Right where do I sign?
No one puts McShane in the corner
Famous fans, go on Steve who, bonus points for getting his No.1 song
Tbh I don't think it was a penalty. But the best team won #cpfc about time we had some luck.— Steve Brookstein (@stevebrookstein) March 11, 2016
Don’t forget where you come from...
Over zealous Police?
I just called to say...
Mike Dean proving the point that Stevie Wonder still has a chance of becoming a professional referee #cpfc— Sport Uncovered (@SportUnc) March 11, 2016
As always it’s the FA Cup so once again we can look abroad and nationally for coverage on this game. Obviously the penalty takes precedence over everything, and is the one thing that gets the most column inches.
Fox Sports are on the "it should have been a pen" crusade, and carry an article which is the also on RTE Sports. Not a bad summary of the game, indeed they comment that a replay looked the most likely of options!
The second version of this report is carried by TSN and USA Today, is slightly more abridged and Palaces, FA Cup form continued at tier-two Reading (!) (Sure we had won more games in the FA Cup prior to Friday’s game!!).
One of the better verdicts and reports is from NBC Sports who actually have a good write up. Having an Austrailian on the pitch always picks up the local papers and Mile Jedinak's contribution is mentioned with Football Australia calling it a hard fought win.
Similar reports are in the Hub (NZ) and the Irish Indpendent, where the National in the UAE carry a more detailed report with an interview from Pardew where he admits that he thought the tie was heading for a replay. The Gulf Today says that Al Habsi made a series of saves, as do Sports NZ and Japan Today who carry the same report as everyone else!
Looking at the national papers, then; the Mirror, The Express and The Daily Star all follow a similar theme, with praise for Al Habsi, wasteful finishing by Palace and a "soft" penalty award given. The Mail however focuses more on Alan Pardew, and his "history" with Reading.
Over at the online outlets and ESPN are saying that this could save Pardew's job, BT Sport carry an extended interview with the man himself while Brian McDermott mentions that we went "toe to toe with a good Premiership side."
HITC focus on the goalkeepers, saying that Palace fans want to sign Al Habsi, and also carry tweets from Gary Lineker and Ian Wright. TeamTalk focus on the fact that Alan Pardew was expecting it to be a draw.
The BBC carry 3 minutes and eight seconds of highlights and concentrate on Palace's league form versus FA Cup form and obviously the penalty, whereas Skysports call it a fair reflection of the game but Al Habsi was superb.
With the local outlets then it’s no surprise that London Evening Standard are a little scathing of Reading, and full of praise for Palace, however if the most blinkered fan could hardly accuse Jake Cooper of "dragging down Bolasie." How can you drag someone down by hardly touching them?
Over at GetReading and Charles Watts is a little more direct (and rightly so) than the national press, calling Bolasie’s penalty incident as a "disgrace" and that the player "conned" the ref, he also goes on to say that the Pardew got on his soap box earlier but not this time!
So that's the FA Cup exploits over for another season, and unless something very dramatic happens, also Reading's season as we lurch to mid table obscurity. Another midweek game at Brighton is one where we can try and breathe a little hope back into the season however it does look now that we are making up the numbers.