Hunt on target but Birmingham oust Royals - 11/02/2006
Reading winger Stephen Hunt marked his return to the starting line-up with a cracking goal against Birmingham City in Tuesday night’s FA Cup fourth round replay, but the Championship leaders’ interest in the competition was ended by Julian Gray’s winner.
Hunt, the former Brentford and Crystal Palace man, has been restricted to a bit-part role since making the move to the Madejski Stadium last summer.
However, the Waterford native underlined his ability with a stunning half-volley past Birmingham keeper Maik Taylor early in the second half, cancelling out Mikael Forssell’s opener.
Gray headed home Jiri Jarosik’s cross 22 minutes from time and Reading were unable to find a leveller in the final quarter.
Apart from Hunt, there was plenty other Irish interest in the game, with the Birmingham central defence and Reading forward line a potentially all-Irish match-up.
Steve Bruce started with son Alex – who declared for the Republic of Ireland last week – alongside Irish under-21 international Marcos Painter in a young central defensive axis, where they came up against Shane Long, the Irish under-19 and former Cork City forward, and Dave Kitson, who qualifies for Ireland but has said he is not interested in pursuing that avenue.
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