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Reading 2 Aston Villa 4 - Match Report
Published : 07 Mar 2010 16:58:14Rss feed
John Carew scored a second-half hat-trick as Aston Villa staged a remarkable comeback to beat Reading 4-2 and book a place in the FA Cup semi-finals.
Martin O'Neill's side were poor in the opening 45 minutes at the Madejski Stadium and trailed 2-0 at the break thanks to a brace from Reading striker Shane Long.
But O'Neill recorded his first ever win in the month of March as Villa boss thanks to an amazing start to the second half as Ashley Young's strike and then Carew's treble denied Reading a first semi-final since 1927.
Reading started the game brightly, and after 27 minutes Long marked his return from a four-game ban by putting his side ahead. A corner from Brian Howard was headed on by Matt Mills and Long was on hand to nod past Brad Friedel from close range.
Carew thought he had equalised a minute later when he swept home a free-kick from Milner but he was adjudged to have been offside, although TV replays suggested it was a borderline decision.
Then, in the 43rd minute, Long struck for the second time. A fine move down the right flank saw Sigurdsson find Kebe, who outpaced the Villa defence before cutting the ball back across the box to Long, who made no mistake from 12 yards.
Villa boss Martin O'Neill would have demanded a positive response from his side in the second half and Young reduced the deficit within two minutes of the restart. Stewart Downing's cross was helped on by Carew and, although Carlos Cuellar mis-kicked, Young was on hand at the far post.
Villa were looking a completely different side and, in the 51st minute, Downing created another goal. The former Middlesbrough player was found in space by Milner and his cross was inch perfect for Carew to head wide of Adam Federici.
Then, incredibly, after 57 minutes, Carew struck for the second time to put Villa ahead when the over-lapping Stephen Warnock raced onto a pass from Young and his low centre was met by the Norwegian, who deflected the ball into the far corner of the net with the neatest of touches.
Young came to Villa's rescue when he cleared a header from Reading skipper Ivar Ingimarsson off the line, but Carew had the last word in injury time, completing his hat-trick from the penalty spot after being brought down by Ingimarsson.