LIVERPOOL, March 1, 2011 (AFP) - Everton manager David Moyes admitted his side deserved to lose after the Toffees were sent tumbling out of the FA Cup by Championship side Reading here Tuesday.
After stunning Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the previous round, Everton had entertained hopes of a lengthy run in the FA Cup and were expected to progress safely to the quarter-finals against Reading.
|Everton's Phil Neville leaves the pitch after being substituted during the FA Cup match against Reading. AFP|
But a first-half goal from Reading defender Matt Mills stunned Goodison Park into silence and ultimately sent the Royals into a last eight tie against either Manchester City or Aston Villa.
It was a bitterly disappointing exit for Everton, who left the field to a chorus of boos as Reading's players celebrated a famous win.
"It's a massive disappointment for us because we did so well in the previous round," Moyes said afterwards. "You can only ask for a home tie and we didn't take advantage of it."
Moyes said poor defending and a lack of creativity in the opposition half had weighed against his side.
"We could have defended the set piece for the goal, our attacking wasn't good enough. I think they defended really well," Moyes said.
"They got back behind the ball and we didn't have enough craft at the top of the pitch to make things happen."
Moyes also paid tribute to Reading's performance. "Terrific the way they got about their job," he said.
"The longer it went on the more desperate we became."
Reading manager Brian McDermott meanwhile said his team had been quietly confident of scoring an upset just as they did last year when they knocked out Everton's city rivals Liverpool in the third round.
"We thought there was an opportunity for us," McDermott said.
"We've got such a good bunch of players and spirit and we wanted to take the game to Everton.
"It didn't work for the first 15 minutes, they passed around us. But we got the goal and once you've scored it gives you something to hang on to."
McDermott believes the result will lift the club as they mount a late push for a Championship play-off place.
"We are close. If you can come to Goodison and put on a performance like that it gives you a lot of hope for the future," he said. "Nights like that are just going to galvanise the club."
Reading grabbed a shock lead after 26 minutes, when Mills stabbed home from eight yards after the Everton defence failed to clear a corner.
The goal infused Reading with confidence and Jimmy Kebe had a golden chance to make it 2-0 when clean through on Everton's goal.
Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard was alert to the danger however, snuffing out what looked like a certain Reading goal and keeping the home side in the match.
Leon Osman had a clear chance to level it for Everton just before half-time only for the midfielder to head just over after being picked out by a Leighton Baines cross.