Stoke City goalkeeper Steve Simonsen was the hero after making a vital contribution in last night's Carling Cup third-round penalty shoot-out victory against Reading.

The Potters won 4-3 on spot-kicks after Simonsen saved from Reading's two-goal teenager James Henry and Leroy Lita fired their fifth and final effort over the crossbar.

Stoke converted four of their five penalties to progress into the last 16 of the competition and Kemp was quick to pay tribute to Simonsen after he came in from the cold to remind everyone of his abilities.

The former Everton and Tranmere stopper has been dislodged as Stoke's number one since the summer arrival of Thomas Sorensen but he made the most of his return to action.

"Simmo has come in tonight and has had a really good game," said Stoke assistant boss Dave Kemp.

"He's obviously been out of the team for a while, apart from the Cheltenham game in the previous round of the competition, but he's come back in and done well in front of our own fans.

"He made a great save for the penalty and tonight was a chance for a few of the lads to make an impression. They will be pleased with themselves."