Royals lose at AFC Bournemouth
- Both teams hit woodwork in the first half
- Wilson heads the hosts into a 50th minute lead
- Pitman scores twice to take game away from Royals
- Federici makes string of late saves
Reading had done well in the first half, beating their opponents to the ball and hitting the woodwork as they threatened to take the lead.
But Callum Wilson was allowed to head the hosts into a 50th minute lead and less than five minutes later Brett Pitman dealt a hammer blow by stroking home a second.
Pitman then added a third with a volley from Matt Ritchie's corner and though the Royals tried to respond, the deficit was too much to begin to claw back and only an inspired display from Adam Federici prevented the Cherries from adding to the scoreline.
Bournemouth: Boruc, Francis, Cook, Elphick, Daniels, Ritchie (Fraser 79), Arter, Surman, Pugh (Gosling 90), Pitman, Wilson (Rantie 85).
Subs: Camp, Smith, Harte, Stanislas.
Reading: Federici, Gunter (c), Obita, Hector, Pearce, Norwood, Akpan,Blackman, Mackie, Cox (Taylor 71),Robson-Kanu (Pogrebnyak 84).
Subs: Andersen, S Kelly, Cooper, Kuhl, Stacey.
Referee: Mr M Haywood
Attendance: 8,899 (1,073 away)
The first attack of the game was made by Reading, Mackie releasing the underlapping Gunter with a lovely ball but before the skipper could cross or shoot from a tight angle a sliding tackle came in to concede the first corner of the match.
Moments later, Robson-Kanu made good progress down the opposite flank, but his cross fizzed across the Bournemouth box without a Reading leg able to get the decisive touch.
The visitors were dominating and Akpan tried his luck from the edge of the box, only for the ball to deflect wide and behind for a corner. Callum Wilson, meanwhile threatened to get in behind the Royals back line when Alex Pearce stumbled, but his low cross skidded across the area without finding a red sock.
Mackie, Norwood and Gunter combined well to win a corner on the left side, but Bournemouth cleared their lines in windy conditions, the move ending in a speculative hooked volley from Robson-Kanu that sailed high over the bar.
At the other end, Pearce struggled to head clear an up and under and with Pitman bearing down on the bouncing ball it took a timely punch from Federici to clear the danger midway through the half.
How the Royals didn't take the lead in the 37th minute will need video replays. A Gunter cross to the far post was knocked towards goal by Blackman, it beat Artur Boruc and cannoned into the stanchion. Mackie's follow-up hook was flying just wide but Robson-Kanu arched his neck to try to deflect it in from close range, but he was only able to angle it over the bar.
A well-worked corner almost allowed Pitman to break the deadlock, the low corner dummied into the striker's feet and his first time shot brilliantly blocked by a sliding Norwood. Then, just before the break, a Pugh cross beat everyone and glanced the far post on its way behind for a goal kick.
Early after the break, Cox played a nice one-two with Robson-Kanu inside the box and arrowed an effort towards the bottom right corner, but it didn't carry enough sting to trouble Boruc too much, who got down well to save.
And the first goal came for the hosts only a minute or two later. A break down the left resulted in a floated cross into the box where Wilson was unmarked and headed into a gaping net to make it 1-0.
Reading almost responded immediately, Robson-Kanu's burst down the left leading to a far post cross that was just too deep for Mackie arriving late into the area. Then a mistake from the home side almost allowed Reading in, Blackman's drive charged down before Boruc had to make a save.
But Reading were struck with a second killer blow minutes later. Brett Pitman got in behind and a well-weighted ball found the striker in space with only Federici to beat. That he did, stroking it into the bottom right corner to double the hosts' advantage.
The Royals were stunned and even though Federici pushed a Daniels effort from range around his post, Pitman added a third from the resultant corner, volleying home Matt Ritchie's corner send the home fans into raptures.
Hope Akpan came close to pulling one back with a right-footed sweep that Boruc did well to tip over his crossbar - the Nigerian international taking aim from the edge of the area after good work from Mackie had teed him up.
An exceptional save from Federici prevented Marc Pugh from adding another when he was unmarked at the far post and had the goal to aim at when a cross from the right fell to his feet.
Then Federici somehow parried a near post effort from Pitman, searching for his hat-trick, but denied by the Aussie stopper's chest. And Federici was in action again to save from substitute Tokelo Rantie as the final five minutes ticked away.
Royals fans filed out as four minutes of injury time were signalled, hoping to see a response when their side return to Madejski Stadium for a home fixture with Blackpool on Saturday.