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Goodison Park | 1st March 2011 19:30

Everton v Reading

Everton's FA Cup dream came to an anti-climactic end after a surprise home defeat to Reading.

The Toffees dominated possession but couldn't find an answer to Matt Mills' first half goal.

There had been much excitement about Everton's FA Cup credentials this season after the dramatic penalty shootout win over Chelsea but the Championship side held firm in the face of a second half onslaught from the Blues.

Everton began purposefully and in the ninth minute Ian Harte cleared Mikel Arteta's cross with Jack Rodwell poised to nod home.

Another aerial opportunity arrived moments later but when Leon Osman's deep cross found Seamus Coleman, the Irishman's header somehow bounced down, off the ground and over the bar from just a couple of yards out.

Osman tried his own effort at goal on 18 minutes, his quick feet allowing him space to unleash a left foot effort that McCarthy comfortably saved.

Reading served notice of their threat in the 25th minute when Mikele Leigertwood's effort deflected effort left Howard rooted to the spot but spun wide for a corner.

It proved a key moment as the set-piece wasn't cleared and visiting skipper Mills lashed the loose ball home.

Perhaps shocked at being behind, a mistake by Distin then let in Jimmy Kebe only for Howard to save well with his legs.

On the stroke of half time Leigertwood fouled Saha, Arteta's free-kick was deflected over and Osman headed the corner just over.

Seeking to change his side's fortunes, David Moyes made a double change at the break with Victor Anichebe and Jermaine Beckford replacing Coleman and Diniyar Bilyaletdinov.

Beckford was into the action straight away as he collected Saha's pass and tested McCarthy.

Then Arteta tried his luck from distance with Harte responding with an even better effort from a free-kick.

Beckford headed Baines' cross over after the hour mark then Osman's touch let him down on the edge of the six-yard box.

Shane Long threatened on a Reading counter and Jay Tabb's show was deflected just wide as the visitors aimed to put the tie beyond Everton's reach.

A Baines corner caused mayhem at the other end and Saha's effort on the swivel was inadvertently blocked by Beckford with 13 minutes left.

Soon the ex-Leeds man cushioned a header back across goal and Osman's shot was repelled at point blank range by McCarthy.

Rodwell blasted over from distance and Everton's last throw of the dice was to bring on Jose Baxter for Neville.

But no clear-cut chance arrived and Everton's FA Cup aspirations were quashed.

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