Andrew Crofts scored with a deflected strike as Brighton claimed a deserved FA Cup third-round win against fellow Championship side Reading.

Keith Andrews, Solomon March and Ashley Barnes all hit the crossbar for a dominant home side in the first half.

The breakthrough finally came as Crofts' 32nd-minute shot went in off Royals defender Alex Pearce.

Pearce had claims for a penalty rejected after the interval, while Kemy Agustien went close for Brighton.

Both sides played out an uninspiring 0-0 draw when they met in the Championship in September, but Brighton started with real purpose this time at Amex Stadium.

FA Cup fourth round draw

When: Sunday, 5 January 2014

Where: Wembley Stadium

Time: 1400 GMT

Who: Cousins Martin and Paul Allen, who both played for West Ham, will make the draw after the Hammers face Nottingham Forest.

Fourth round dates: Ties to be played over the weekend of 25 and 26 January 2014

Andrews was at the centre of the early action, forcing Royals goalkeeper Adam Federici into a brilliant save from a deflected shot before hitting the bar after a driving run into the penalty area.

The Reading crossbar was struck twice more in the same attack soon after, first via the impressive Federici after a 20-yard March shot, and then from Barnes's headed rebound.

Brighton continued to be the stronger side and got the goal their pressure deserved when midfielder Crofts' shot from outside the area took a huge deflection off Pearce.

The defender was involved again at the start of the second half as Reading appealed for a penalty after his header from a corner appeared to strike an arm.

The hosts were soon back in control, and Australia international Federici produced another superb stop to keep out midfielder Agustien's effort from the left.

Reading then went close to forcing an unlikely equaliser late on when striker Adam Le Fondre headed over when unmarked.

Brighton & Hove Albion assistant head coach Nathan Jones told BBC Sussex:

"The first half was as dominant as we've been all season and we must have hit the post and bar three or four times. We had chances that we created and we were fluent. It was very pleasing.

"I want to make a special mention to Adam Chicksen and Solly March because it's been tough on them, they've been training hard and showing great attitude.

"This is a first-team squad, a Championship squad and we know we are proud of the squad and we make changes not to weaken the team. We want to make sure that the to prepare well for the next five games."

Reading manager Nigel Adkins:

"[On links to the West Brom manager's job] West Brom don't have a manager but all my focus is to try and improve Reading. All the energy and focus is to us.

"I wanted a good cup run but unfortunately a deflected goal has done us today.

"We've got a fantastic board and the chairman will do everything that is right for the club. We've got an opportunity to regroup and maybe get one or two in because our focus is to get promoted."

Check out a photo gallery from all of today's FA Cup fixtures on the BBC Sport Facebook page. 

Lineup, Bookings (2) & Substitutions (6)

Brighton & Hove Albion

  • 01 Brezovan
  • 14 Calderón
  • 15 Chicksen
  • 04 Andrews
  • 03 Greer (Dunk - 67' )
  • 06 El-Abd
  • 08 Crofts
  • 10 Agustien (Orlandi - 64' )
  • 09 Barnes
  • 27 March (Lua Lua - 79' Booked )
  • 18 F-Caskey

Substitutes

  • 05 Dunk
  • 11 Orlandi
  • 16 Ankergren
  • 17 Ward
  • 19 Ulloa
  • 25 Lua Lua
  • 38 Ince

Reading

  • 01 Federici
  • 02 Gunter
  • 17 Gorkss
  • 25 Taylor
  • 03 Kelly (Williams - 73' )
  • 05 Pearce
  • 20 Guthrie
  • 37 Obita
  • 09 Le Fondre
  • 22 Blackman (Drenthe - 57' Booked )
  • 12 McCleary (Pogrebnyak - 85' )

Substitutes

  • 07 Pogrebnyak
  • 10 Drenthe
  • 21 McCarthy
  • 23 Williams
  • 39 Tanner
  • 47 Sweeney
  • 49 Long
Ref: Chris Foy
Att: 20,696

Match Stats

Shots

18 5

On target

5 0

Corners

5 5

Fouls

14 11

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Brighton and Hove Albion 1, Reading 0.

90:00 +4:13 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Brighton and Hove Albion 1, Reading 0.

90:00 +3:48 Booking

Booking Kazenga Lua Lua (Brighton and Hove Albion) is shown the yellow card.

90:00 +3:11

Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Danny Guthrie.

90:00 +1:52

Attempt missed. Danny Guthrie (Reading) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right.

90:00 +0:39

Attempt missed. Jake Taylor (Reading) left footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.

88:27

Attempt missed. Kazenga Lua Lua (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

87:59

Attempt missed. Adam Le Fondre (Reading) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses the top right corner.

85:56

Ashley Barnes (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

85:56

Foul by Kaspars Gorkss (Reading).

84:41

Foul by Íñigo Calderón (Brighton and Hove Albion).

84:41

Jordan Obita (Reading) wins a free kick on the right wing.

84:12 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Reading. Pavel Pogrebnyak replaces Garath McCleary.

83:41

Hand ball by Royston Drenthe (Reading).

82:17

Attempt blocked. Kazenga Lua Lua (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

81:35

Íñigo Calderón (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick on the right wing.

81:35

Foul by Garath McCleary (Reading).

80:58 Booking

Booking Royston Drenthe (Reading) is shown the yellow card.

80:54

Ashley Barnes (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

80:54

Foul by Royston Drenthe (Reading).

79:43

Foul by Keith Andrews (Brighton and Hove Albion).

79:43

Daniel Williams (Reading) wins a free kick on the left wing.

78:35 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. Kazenga Lua Lua replaces Solly March.

78:17

Attempt missed. Ashley Barnes (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

77:17

Corner, Reading. Conceded by Adam El-Abd.

76:12

Foul by Ashley Barnes (Brighton and Hove Albion).

76:12

Kaspars Gorkss (Reading) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

75:25

Attempt missed. Jake Taylor (Reading) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

75:07

Foul by Keith Andrews (Brighton and Hove Albion).

75:07

Royston Drenthe (Reading) wins a free kick on the left wing.

73:38

Corner, Reading. Conceded by Adam El-Abd.

72:34 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Reading. Daniel Williams replaces Stephen Kelly.

70:54

Attempt missed. Lewis Dunk (Brighton and Hove Albion) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.

70:31

Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Alex Pearce.

70:21

Attempt blocked. Jake Forster-Caskey (Brighton and Hove Albion) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

69:37

Adam Chicksen (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick on the right wing.

69:37

Foul by Chris Gunter (Reading).

68:46

Foul by Jake Forster-Caskey (Brighton and Hove Albion).

68:46

Danny Guthrie (Reading) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

67:19

Corner, Reading. Conceded by Íñigo Calderón.

66:01 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. Lewis Dunk replaces Gordon Greer.

65:32

Attempt missed. Royston Drenthe (Reading) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

64:31

Attempt missed. Íñigo Calderón (Brighton and Hove Albion) left footed shot from outside the box is too high.

63:57 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. Andrea Orlandi replaces Kemy Agustien.

62:52

Ashley Barnes (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

62:52

Foul by Alex Pearce (Reading).

59:03

Attempt missed. Andrew Crofts (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

58:14

Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Adam Federici.

57:53

Attempt saved. Kemy Agustien (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

56:30 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Reading. Royston Drenthe replaces Nick Blackman because of an injury.

55:25

Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Adam Federici.

55:11

Attempt saved. Solly March (Brighton and Hove Albion) left footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

54:52

Solly March (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

54:52

Foul by Kaspars Gorkss (Reading).

52:32

Foul by Jake Forster-Caskey (Brighton and Hove Albion).

52:32

Jake Taylor (Reading) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

52:01

Íñigo Calderón (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick on the left wing.

52:01

Foul by Garath McCleary (Reading).

49:39

Corner, Reading. Conceded by Ashley Barnes.

49:00

Chris Gunter (Reading) wins a free kick on the right wing.

48:58

Foul by Kemy Agustien (Brighton and Hove Albion).

48:27

Foul by Jake Forster-Caskey (Brighton and Hove Albion).

48:27

Jake Taylor (Reading) wins a free kick on the left wing.

47:25

Attempt blocked. Kemy Agustien (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

45:00

Second Half begins Brighton and Hove Albion 1, Reading 0.

45:00 +1:16 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Brighton and Hove Albion 1, Reading 0.

45:00 +0:53

Corner, Reading. Conceded by Íñigo Calderón.

39:59

Attempt missed. Solly March (Brighton and Hove Albion) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left.

36:46

Attempt blocked. Kemy Agustien (Brighton and Hove Albion) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

35:52

Foul by Ashley Barnes (Brighton and Hove Albion).

35:52

Nick Blackman (Reading) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

33:16

Foul by Adam Chicksen (Brighton and Hove Albion).

33:16

Nick Blackman (Reading) wins a free kick on the right wing.

32:29

Foul by Jake Forster-Caskey (Brighton and Hove Albion).

32:29

Danny Guthrie (Reading) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

31:24 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Brighton and Hove Albion 1, Reading 0. Andrew Crofts (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Ashley Barnes.

26:22

Ashley Barnes (Brighton and Hove Albion) hits the bar with a header from the centre of the box.

25:57

Attempt saved. Jake Forster-Caskey (Brighton and Hove Albion) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

18:35

Solly March (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

18:35

Foul by Stephen Kelly (Reading).

15:05

Foul by Jordan Obita (Reading).

15:05

Solly March (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

13:32

Foul by Solly March (Brighton and Hove Albion).

13:32

Stephen Kelly (Reading) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

10:57

Foul by Íñigo Calderón (Brighton and Hove Albion).

10:57

Garath McCleary (Reading) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

9:09

Attempt missed. Jake Forster-Caskey (Brighton and Hove Albion) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

7:27

Keith Andrews (Brighton and Hove Albion) hits the bar with a left footed shot from outside the box.

6:43

Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Adam Federici.

6:22

Attempt saved. Keith Andrews (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

4:35

Foul by Kemy Agustien (Brighton and Hove Albion).

4:35

Jake Taylor (Reading) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

3:00

Ashley Barnes (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick on the right wing.

2:56

Foul by Kaspars Gorkss (Reading).

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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