YAKUBU's late strike ended Derby County’s FA Cup run at the fifth hurdle as Reading secured their place in the final eight of the competition with a 2-1 win at the iPro Stadium.
The Rams played more than 50 minutes with 10 men after Stephen Warnock was shown a red card on his debut.
Eight minutes after the interval, Hal Robson-Kanu broke the deadlock, before Derby took control of the game.
Darren Bent fortuitous goal brought Derby level, but Yakubu, a January signing for the Royals, sealed the tie late on to extend the Rams’ 16 year wait for a place in the Quarter Finals of the FA Cup.
Inside the opening exchanges, it appeared the Rams were trying to better the start they had against AFC Bournemouth in midweek as they relentlessly attacked the Reading goal.
Starting with Jesse Lingard and ending with Craig Bryson, the neat interchanges and first time passes were of the highest quality, but the latter’s low shot was turned away by Adam Federici.
Simon Dawkins was denied a minute later with a low drive in the area and after riding out the 10 minute storm, the visitors began to grow into the contest.
Simon Cox’s smart turn in the area deceived the whole Derby backline and the forward drove into the middle and whipped a low left foot shot that was deflected over the top of the crossbar by Stephen Warnock.
Normal service resumed as Omar Mascarell’s teasing free kick evaded everyone in the area but crept wide of Federici’s far post.
In a lively affair, a couple of reckless Derby challenges presented with the Royals with a set piece on the edge of the area. Cox ran from deep and was spotted by Nathaniel Chalobah, but the forward’s low diagonal drive crashed off the post and out for a goal kick.
Jeff Hendrick blazed over at the other end after 26 minutes and Jesse Lingard arrowed a shot at goal that Federici was equal as the home side began to turn the screw.
Steve McClaren’s side should have taken the lead on 33 minutes as a cross from the right found Darren Bent in the six-yard area, but his first time effort was sent straight at Federici who turned the effort away.
In relentless manner, the pendulum swung again as Cox volleyed over inside the area after a cross from the left evaded the Derby backline, before Reading were handed an advantage six minutes from the half time interval.
Booked earlier in the game, Warnock made a rash challenge on the left and was given his marching orders by Craig Pawson, the match referee, to bring his Rams debut to an abrupt end.
On came Craig Forsyth for Mascarell, who was also shown an earlier yellow card in the contest and eights minute after the restart, after Derby had started the second 45 minutes on the front foot, they found themselves behind.
On the ball, Derby looked a threat, but off it, the space was there to be exploited and down the right, Reading made headway towards goal through Jamie Mackie.
The on-loan Nottingham Forest man played the ball into the feet of Hal Robson-Kanu, who took a touch, turned and hit a left foot shot drive beyond Kelle Roos and into the back of the net.
Reading assumed control without seriously troubling the Derby backline and they were made to pay on 61 minutes as Derby equalised in a somewhat fortuitous manner.
Good build up on the right led to Cyrus Christie delivering a deep cross into the area. The ball evaded Bent, but fell to the feet of Forsyth’s who return ball fell to the feet of Lingard whose first effort deflected off Bent into the back of the net.
Reading tried to reassert themselves almost instantly as Pavel Pogrebnyak forced Roos into a fine save, before Cox, again, sent an effort narrowly wide of goal.
Roos came to Derby’s rescue with 20 minutes as a deep cross from the left dropped on to the head of Pogrebnyak, but the Derby ‘keeper got down low to block the effort before it was turned to safety.
The pendulum swung again as Lingard sent Jamie Ward, the substitute, through on goal, but Federici came to the Royals’ rescue to palm the effort away.
Ward sent a free kick narrowly wide of goal as time ticked down, but with Derby pushing for a winner, Reading struck a late blow to Derby’s chances of progressing.
Dispossessed and with eight men forward, the Royals broke at pace and Yakubu was sent clear on goal. The big striker, a January signing for the visitors, held of Forsyth and struck a low left foot effort beyond Roos and into the bottom corner.
The Rams huffed and puffed with little success as Derby’s long wait for a place in the Quarter Finals of the FA Cup was forced to be put on hold for another year.
Derby County: Roos, Christie, Keogh, Shotton, Warnock, Mascarell (Forsyth, 43), Hendrick, Bryson (Thomas, 83), Lingard, Dawkins (Ward, 67), Bent
Substitutes not used: Mitchell, Buxton, Hughes, Thorne
Reading: Federici, Kelly, Pearce (C), Pogrebnyak (Blackman, 70), Robson-Kanu, Cox, Obita, Chalobah (Akpan, 78), Hector, Mackie (Yakubu, 70), Williams
Substitutes not used: Norwood, Taylor, Andersen, Cooper