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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
15:39 5th November 2016

Quickfire McCleary brace stuns Latics

Two Garath McCleary goals in the opening five minutes earned Jaap Stam's Royals their first win in Wigan since a Nicky Forster brace in 2003, Reading controlling proceedings from the moment they took the lead after 57 seconds.

McCleary's opener became the fastest goal scored in the Championship this season, the winger lofting an Evans ball forward over the onrushing Adam Bogdan, before doubling his tally with a low right-footed drive four minutes later. Yann Kermorgant made it 3-0 from the penalty spot after Swift had been tripped by Max Power in the box and the visitors were comfortable in their lead and three more points were ours.

Manager Jaap Stam made two changes to the side that beat Nottingham Forest last weekend, re-introducing George Evans into midfield while handing Callum Harriott a start in place of Roy Beerens. Yakou Meite took a place on the bench.

It took just 57 seconds for the opening goal to come and it was scored by one of the match-winners seven days previously. George Evans hooked a well-weighted ball over the top for Garath McCleary to scamper after and he preyed upon hesitation from goalkeeper Adam Bogdan, nipping in to lift a bouncing ball over the opposing stopper's head and into the open net. A lightning quick start from the Royals.

Within five minutes and it was 2-0! Liam Moore won the ball at the back and strode out with it before feeding McCleary. Moore continued his run and drew defenders to him in the process, allowing McCleary to turn onto his right boot and drill low past the helpless dive of Bogdan.

A startled Wigan side got their first glimpse of goal when Tyler Blackett's header clear fell to the feet of Reece Burke who lashed high over the bar without troubling former Athletic stopper Ali Al Habsi.

Reading were in command and Swift's inswinging free kick floated across the area and just over the head of Moore in the middle. Gomez had half a chance at the other end meanwhile, heading a lofted Jacobs cross into the arms of Al Habsi at the back post.

With 20 minutes gone, it was nearly three! Gunter dinked a ball to the far post where Blackett chested it down for Kermorgant to drill a half-volley just wide via a deflection from a Wigan toe.

And Kermorgant came close moments later too, Swift this time the provider after a brilliant run along the byline and a cut back for the striker who again saw a deflection off a Wigan boot divert the ball over the bar and onto the roof of the net.

Danny Williams charged down an effort from the edge of the area from Shaun MacDonald and Al Habsi scooped up a low shot from Gomez with ten minutes of the first half remaining. But the away side went in comfortable in their lead.

Half-time: Wigan 0-2 Reading

Yanic Wildschut was brought on for the home side at half-time but Max Power had the first shot at goal of the second period, dragging an effort well wide from 25 yards out.

And Wildschut introduced himself to the game with a pacy burst down the left that saw him beat Chris Gunter and fizz a low cross across the six yard box but just in front of the sliding body of Le Fondre.

Al Habsi cleanly held onto a shot from Le Fondre ten minutes into the second half, then the former Latic needed to punch clear a Wildschut cross from the right as Wigan began the half the better.

Le Fondre came close to a goal that would have got Wigan back into the game, taking aim from just outside the box but a combination of a Moore block and a palm from Al Habsi saw the ball drop wide of the right post. Al Habsi was in action again to gather in a Jake Buxton shot from a narrow angle at his near post.

But Reading always looked a threat in the final third. A pacy break saw Kermorgant sweep the ball into the stride of Harriott who was bursting down the left. And early ball into the middle looked for Swift who had joined him in the counter attack, but the Royals midfielder tripped under the challenge of Power and referee Coote pointed to the spot. Kermorgant stepped up and stroked the ball past Bogdan to make it 3-0 with a fine finish.

It could have been 4-0 soon after. Another counter attack saw Swift turn his man and slide the ball into the feet of Williams, who took a touch to control it but then drilled over the bar.

Will Grigg replaced Le Fondre with 20 minutes remaining and got a shot away with his first touch, swivelling inside the Royals area only to see his stabbed effort blocked by McShane.

Dominic Samuel and Yakou Miete came off the bench towards the end and the latter forced a save from Bogdan when he cut in from the right and fired a shot at goal that had the sting taken out of it by a Wigan leg. And in the last minute of the ninety, Samuel saw a deflected effort skid off the surface and into the palms of Bogdan too.

Wildschut whistled a sweetly struck effort wide of the right post in injury time, and a committed block from Moore preserved Reading's clean sheet when Grigg turned and shot moments later...but Wigan were well beaten and Reading came away with all three points in the bag.

Meite had the ball in the back of the net with a volley from Gunter's cross into the box, but celebrations were cut short by the offside flag, followed by the final whistle.

Full-time: Wigan 0-3 Reading

Wigan: Bogdan, Warnock (c), Buxton (Byrne 60), Perkins, Power, Gomez (Wildschut HT), MacDonald, Jacobs, Burke, Burn, Le Fondre (Grigg 71).
Subs: Jaaskelainen, Garbutt, Morgan, Davies.
Yellow: MacDonald, Perkins

Reading: Al-Habsi, Gunter, Blackett, McShane (c), L Moore, Evans, Swift (Van den Berg 77), Williams, Harriott (Samuel 82), McCleary (Meite 85), Kermorgant.
Subs: S Moore, Watson, Obita, Kelly.
Yellow: McShane, Blackett
Goals: McCleary (1, 5), Kermorgant (63 pen)

Att: 10,277 (462 away)