Reading FC suffered an embarrassing FA Cup third-round exit at the hands of National League North side Kidderminster Harriers, the hosts scoring twice in the final 20 minutes to come from behind and win 2-1.

After a tame first half, George Puscas gave Reading the lead moments before the break but after failing to build on their advantage, Kidderminster equalised through Sam Austin before grabbing a late winner when Amari Morgan-Smith tapped in from close range.

Veljko Paunovic made eight changes from the team that drew 2-2 with Derby County on Monday night, opting for a youthful cup side as the manager looked to prioritise Tuesday's Championship clash with Fulham at the SCL.

Rafael Cabral came in for Luke Southwood in goal while a much-changed back four saw Dejan Tetek, Ethan Bristow, and debutant Louie Holzman start alongside captain for the day Tom Holmes.

Reading Chronicle: The hosts celebrate their famous victory. Image by: JasonPIXThe hosts celebrate their famous victory. Image by: JasonPIX

In midfield, Danny Drinkwater returned to the side, while teenager Claudio Osorio made his second Reading start alongside the Chelsea loanee. Going forward, Tom Dele-Bashiru was joined by Alen Halilovic and Mamadi Camara behind striker George Puscas.

The opening period was relatively quiet on the pitch despite the vociferous atmosphere from all four corners of the ground, but Reading were very nearly gifted the opening goal in the 10th minute.

Harriers goalkeeper Luke Simpson’s attempted clearance went right to Camara but Simpson managed to recover and save the eventual shot.

Both sides struggled to create much in the opening half an hour until Kidderminster thrice went close with a barrage of attacks. First, Ashley Hemmings couldn’t quite get his shot off when seemingly through on goal before Amari Morgan-Smith saw his follow-up effort saved. 

Reading managed to partially clear the danger but the ball fell to Omari Sterling who tried his luck from 35 yards out. Dipping and swirling it seemed destined for the top corner until Rafael stuck out a hand to tip it over.

Five minutes before the break, Paunovic was forced into his first substitution of the afternoon, Femi Azeez replacing Halilovic after the Croatian went down clutching his leg.

A fairly mediocre first half ended in the best possible way for the visitors as Puscas smashed home his first goal of the season to give Reading the lead. Drinkwater’s ball was cushioned into the path of Puscas by Dele-Bashiru and the striker made no mistake with his big chance.

Reading Chronicle: Puscas fires Reading in front. Image by: JasonPIXPuscas fires Reading in front. Image by: JasonPIX

The hosts should have been level ten minutes after the restart when Sam Austin chased down a long ball, cut inside and fired just wide of the target. From the ensuing goal-kick, Morgan-Smith stole the ball back before seeing his eventual effort saved.

Paunovic reacted to the Kidderminster pressure by making a double-change, Felipe Araruna and Andy Rinomhota replacing Dejan Tetek and Danny Drinkwater. It was to be a bittersweet moment as Rinomhota returned to action after four months out while Araruna himself was stretchered off the pitch just seconds after coming on.

With 20 minutes of normal time remaining, Kidderminster were level. A deep cross was headed back across goal by Caleb Richards allowing Sam Austin to chest it down and fire low towards the bottom corner. The shot lacked power but it somehow squirmed under Rafael to ignite the raucous Aggborough crowd.

Moments later Austin had another chance, this time seeing his shot from the edge of the box hacked away by the Reading defence.

Buoyed by the equaliser, Kidderminster went one further and made it 2-1 in the 82nd minute. A corner bounced around the box before Morgan-Smith stabbed home from close range.

Reading threw bodies forward in a desperate last-ditch attempt to draw level, but in truth, they created little of note as Kidderinster shocked the world to knock the Royals out of the FA Cup.

READING FC XI: Rafael; Tetek (Araruna 60’ (Stickland 63’)), Holzman, Holmes (Laurent 46’), Bristow; Drinkwater (Rinomhota 60’), Osorio; Dele-Bashiru, Camara, Halilovic (Azeez 40’); Puscas