Reading striker Shane Long sent Premier League club West Brom crashing out of the FA Cup as his goal clinched a 1-0 win in the third round today. Albion manager Roberto Di Matteo twice scored in FA Cup final victories for Chelsea, but there was no FA Cup magic for the Italian this time as his team slumped to a disappointing defeat against Championship opposition at the Madejski Stadium.
The Baggies have now lost six successive matches after Long made it seven goals in six games with a cool first-half finish before Albion substitute Jonas Olsson was sent off for two bookings. Di Matteo gave Boaz Myhill a rare start after Scott Carson's costly blunder at Fulham in midweek and the goalkeeper was greeted with chants of "Albion's number one" from the visiting supporters after a stunning early save to deny Noel Hunt.
But Albion's problems at the back were ruthlessly exposed as Reading took the lead four minutes before half-time. Hunt won a flick-on and Long was able to cruise past stand-in centre-half Gianni Zuiverloon and steer beyond Myhill.
Albion's attacking play did at least threaten occasionally, with Ishmael Miller twice going close on his first start of the season and James Morrison hitting the top of the crossbar. But Reading boss Brian McDermott led his side to Cup wins over Liverpool and Burnley last season and the Royals always looked likely to add another scalp.
Long has been linked with a move to West Ham in the transfer window and excelled, his movement too sharp for the visitors all afternoon as he added to his goal by being the recipient of both challenges which saw Olsson dismissed.
Olsson scythed through Long less than two minutes after coming on at the interval, and then saw red in the 60th minute after more bright play from Long. A bad touch from the Swede was seized upon by Long and after the Republic of Ireland international nicked the ball away he was caught by Olsson's attempted challenge. Referee Jon Moss had no option but to show a second yellow and leave Di Matteo with yet more problems at the back.