Yohan Cabaye and Fraizer Campbell booked Crystal Palace a place in the FA Cup semi-finals thanks to a 2-0 win at ten-man Reading.
PalaceÂ’s Premier League form has been dismal since the turn of the year, but Alan PardewÂ’s men negotiated a tricky tie against the Championship Royals at the Madejski Stadium.
The quarter-final appeared to be heading for a replay until five minutes from time when the Eagles were awarded a soft penalty and the hosts were subsequently reduced to ten men.
Cabaye converted the spot-kick and Campbell put the tie to bed in stoppage time a few minutes after stepping off the bench to put Palace into the last four.
It took until the 28th minute for the first serious effort on target as CabayeÂ’s 25-yard free kick forced Ali Al-Habsi to dive to his right and push it behind for a corner.
Yannick Bolasie then fired a shot into the side-netting before dragging another effort wide of the near post.
Emmanuel Adebayor had PalaceÂ’s best chance to break the deadlock on 35 minutes when he raced into the left of the area but defender Paul McShane hurried him into the shot and Al-Habsi made a good save with his body.
Reading hit back and Ola John had an attempt from the left of the area deflect into the side-netting with Wayne Hennessey rooted to the spot.
Hennessey almost gifted John a goal on 42 minutes when he made a mess of trying to claim a cross from the right and the ball fell to the RoyalsÂ’ man who failed to convert from a very tight angle.
A minute later Cabaye hit a half-volley from the edge of the area which just drifted wide of the far corner, before Al-Habsi saved well from BolasieÂ’s right-foot angled strike and Joe Ledley put the rebound over the bar from six yards.
Palace went close 10 minutes into the second half when a Cabaye free kick from wide on the right was met by the head of Mile Jedinak whose effort was brilliantly saved by Al-Habsi.
From the resultant corner Jedinak again won the header but this time Oliver Norwood cleared his effort off the line on the post.
ReadingÂ’s first attempt of the second half came in the 66th minute when Stephen QuinnÂ’s effort took a slight deflection off the ankle of Scott Dann and forced Hennessey to make the save down to his left.
Al-Habsi was forced into action on 69 minutes when he parried away a Cabaye free kick from just outside of the area.
On 76 minutes John got free at the back post to meet a right-wing cross into the Palace area but his downward header towards the front post was pushed wide by Hennessey.
The key moment in the game came on 85 minutes when Jake Cooper was adjudged to have pulled down Bolasie in the area despite barely touching him.
Referee Mike Dean awarded the penalty and sent off the RoyalsÂ’ defender, before Al-Habsi got a hand to CabayeÂ’s spot-kick but couldnÂ’t keep it out of the net.
Bolasie almost made it 2-0 on 87 minutes but his sizzling strike came back off the crossbar.
However Campbell sealed the win with virtually the last kick of the game when he was teed up by Adebayor and saw his first effort pushed onto the post by Al-Habsi before following up to fire in on the line.