Liverpool held 1-1 by Reading in FA Cup

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Liverpool needed an equalizer from Steven Gerrard to draw 1-1 with second-tier club Reading on Saturday and keep its FA Cup hopes alive.

Updated: January 03, 2010 09:56 IST
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Liverpool needed an equalizer from Steven Gerrard to draw 1-1 with second-tier club Reading on Saturday and keep its FA Cup hopes alive.

Simon Church threatened an upset by giving Reading a 24th-minute lead from close range after Grzegorz Rasiak had skilfully pulled the ball back from wide of the far post.

But Gerrard leveled with a long-range shot in the 36th when teammate Dirk Kuyt let the ball go past him in front of goal and saw it fly inside the far post. The result means that the two teams will meet again at Anfield in a replay.

Portsmouth was also held 1-1 by a League Championship club, at home to Coventry. Birmingham could only draw 0-0 at Nottingham Forest, while Aston Villa and Wigan outplayed Premier League rivals to reach the fourth round.

There were comfortable victories too for Tottenham, Bolton, Everton, Sunderland, Stoke and Burnley against opponents from the lower divisions.

Last in the top flight and struggling with cashflow problems, Portsmouth fell behind to David Bell's strike at Fratton Park but earned a replay through Kevin-Prince Boateng's header in the final minute of the first half.

"We missed some opportunities, the two goalkeepers did great, but we're still in the cup," said Portsmouth manager Avram Grant, whose players are still waiting to be paid their wages from last week.

"It's not easy (to motivate the players) but they have two choices _ to give up or not. I never did it in my life. When they came to the pitch they gave everything."

Asked if the players would be paid this week, Grant replied: "I hope so."

In one of the few all Premier League meetings, Villa beat Blackburn 3-1 with goals by Nathan Delfouneso, Carlos Cuellar and John Carew's late penalty. Nikola Kalinic replied for Rovers, which had El-Hadji Diouf sent off just before halftime, but Villa's American 'keeper Brad Guzan saved a penalty from David Dunn.

Charles N'Zogbia came off the bench at halftime to score twice in Wigan's 4-1 victory over Hull which had taken the lead through a free kick by Geovanni. Only 5,335 fans showed up to watch the meeting of the two top flight teams.

In a meeting of two teams on long unbeaten runs, Birmingham was held 0-0 at Nottingham Forest, which is third in the second tier League Championship. Forest striker Rob Earnshaw had the chance to secure an upset victory but fired a penalty over the bar. Birmingham is now unbeaten in 12 games and Forest in 17.

Manchester City won 1-0 at Championship club Middlesbrough with a first half goal by Benjani Mwaruwari and Bobby Zamora's 16th minute strike gave Fulham a 1-0 victory over Swindon from the third tier League One.

Niko Krancjar scored twice as Spurs beat Peterborough 4-0, Bolton trounced Lincoln 4-0, Everton knocked out Carlisle 3-1 and Sunderland beat non-league Barrow 3-0. Stoke came from behind to beat non-league York 3-1.

Burnley won 2-1 at Milton Keynes Dons after a penalty by Graham Alexander and a second from Steven Fletcher.

Three third round games were among the nine matches called off because of frozen pitches but none involved top flight clubs.

Chelsea begins its defense of the title at home to second tier Watford on Sunday when Manchester United welcomes League One leader Leeds, Arsenal visits West Ham and Wolves travels to Tranmere.

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