Four different goal scorers helped Reading to a win over Peterborough in their penultimate pre-season friendly at Madejski Stadium.
Newly appointed shot stopper Joao Virginia guarded the posts for Reading in his first start at Madejski Stadium, while new signings Charlie Adam and Michael Morrison both featured in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Birmingham City at Hogwood earlier in the day.
The Royals would have been in good stead heading into the game, with temperatures soaring not too far off what they would have experienced during their extensive two-week training camp out in Spain.
A rather tentative opening to the game saw both sides fail to create any real clear cut chances. Marcus Maddison’s shot produced the first effort on goal, minutes before Mo Eisa’s cross found Ivan Toney in the middle, but the striker could only tamely find the hands of Virginia.
The Royals looked to take advantage of Mo Barrow’s pace on the wings, but the few times that they did find the winger in space out wide, the linesman’s flag deemed offside.
Peterborough were dictating the play for large parts of the early exchanges, but a Reading corner proved to be their downfall 20 minutes in when a flick-on from the near post found its way to Tyler Blackett – the defender positioning his body perfectly to guide the ball home past a stationary Christy Pym.
A water break was soon required due to the sweltering heat in Berkshire, but when the game resumed it was a much more even affair, with José Gomes’ men pushing to add to their advantage.
Barrow next came close for Reading as he broke past the Posh defence and into the penalty area, but with Pym bearing down on his path, his attempted centre was overhit and resulted in a goal-kick.
The winger soon found himself on the scoresheet however, when John Swift’s adept through ball on the counter found Barrow with plenty of space 12 yards out. A clever first-touch and finish was enough to double Reading’s lead on the afternoon, although it wasn’t to last as Peterborough soon found a foothold in the game.
With minutes to go before the interval, a low cross from the right wasn’t dealt with, and Ivan Toney managed to pull one back for the visitors with a side-footed finish from close range.
A tightly contested first half ended with Reading in front, although chances were at a premium for both sides.
Half Time | Reading 2-1 Peterborough United
It was all action in the opening minutes of the second half, when a Peterborough corner fell to the feet of Eisa, but his swivel and shot came bounding off the crossbar and away.
The woodwork wasn’t to deny Posh a leveller in the game, and Eisa soon had his goal when he picked up a loose ball on the edge of the area, powering home low to Virginia’s right.
The goals didn’t stop there, as moments later John Swift found an immediate reply for the Royals. With the ball put on a tee for the midfielder, his curling effort was no match for Pym, and Reading’s advantage was soon restored.
Not only that, but it wasn’t long before it was doubled – Josh Barrett’s quick footwork inside the Posh box enabled him to elude his marker, before slotting home to regain his side a two goal cushion in the tie.
The pace of the play began to die down as the players entered the final 20 minutes. Meite’s burst forward was denied by the gloves of Pym before his trickery down the left won his side a corner, though the resulting set-piece was well cleared.
With the heat testing the player's fitness to the limit, goals from Blackett, Barrow, Swift and Barrett were enough to overcome a strong Peterborough side come the final whistle.
Gomes' side now face one last test before the new season when they play the Premier League's Chelsea at Madejski Stadium on Sunday 28th July.
Full Time | Reading 4-2 Peterborough United
Reading: Virgínia, Blackett, Moore (c), McIntyre, Yiadom, Rinomhota, Swift, Barret, Olise, Méïté, Barrow.
Subs: Watson, Andresson, Odimayo.
Goals: Blackett, Barrow, Swift, Barrett
Peterborough: Pym, Butler, Beevers, Kent, Mason, Maddison, Woodyard, Boyd, Dembele, Eisa, Toney.
Subs: Jones, Fosu, Burrows, Barker, Rolt.
Goals: Toney, Eisa