Wolves tamed by impressive Royals
- Pog volleys opener after 19 seconds
- Ex-Royal Afobe heads hosts level
- Williams fires Royals back into lead
- Akpan returns from injury as substitute
Steve Clarke's men took the lead with the game only 19 seconds old, Cox lofting the ball over the back line and Pavel Pogrebnyak demonstrating superb technique to watch it drop over his shoulder and then volleying past Tomasz Kuszczak.
Former Royals loanee Benik Afobe restored parity with a near post header, but after the break Reading pressed and pressed for a goal that would restore their advantage and it came when Danny Williams sidefooted home Garath McCleary's pull back on the edge of the box.
Reading could have added to the scoreline, Blackman, McCleary and Cox all forcing the Wanderers keeper into saves, but the Royals took all three points away from Molineux thanks to a very professional and highly impressive away display.
Wolves: Kuszczak, Doherty, Batth (c), Stearman, Hause; McDonald, Evans (Dicko 61), van La Parra (Henry 69), Edwards (Price 69), Sako, Afobe.
Subs: Flatt, Golbourne, Ebanks-Landell, Price, Iorfa.
Reading: Federici, Kelly, Obita, Hector, Pearce (c), Chalobah (Norwood 57), Williams, Robson-Kanu (Blackman 71), McCleary, Cox (Akpan 82), Pogrebnyak.
Subs: Andersen, Cooper, Mackie, Yakubu.
Yellow: Williams, Kelly, Robson-Kanu, Pogrebnyak.
It took the visitors just 19 seconds to score the opening goal. A long ball forward looking for McCleary was only headed as far as Cox who dinked the ball over the back line for Pavel Pogrebnyak to run onto. He watched the ball drop over his shoulder and volleyed past Tomasz Kuszczak to stun Molineux.
A nice exchange of passes almost saw the Royals find a way through the Wanderers' defences soon after, but Cox's final ball was just too close to Kuszczak for Robson-Kanu to get on the end of. Bakaray Sako, just back from the African Cup of Nations, then beat two in midfield to rifle a 25-yard effort high over the bar.
Reading were playing some very nice stuff though and Chalobah's scuffed effort fell to the feet of Cox inside the area, who shot and forced Kuszczak into a good save only for the offside flag to go up against the Royals striker.
Then good work from Cox allowed Chalobah to race into space down the right, but his low passed cross was cut out before it could reach Pogrebnyak at the far post.
Wolves then enjoyed five minutes of pressure. First Chalobah had to clear a header off the line, after a header from a corner had been half saved by Federici. Then, moments later, former Royals loanee Benik Afobe directed a near post header past Federici, connecting well with a dangerous cross from the right to equalise.
Simon Cox earned a free kick with less than ten minutes of the first half remaining when he was tripped by Matt Doherty on the edge of the area, but Obita arced his set piece harmlessly over the crossbar. At the other end, Afobe got on the end of a high Sako free kick but couldn't keep his header down on this occasion.
A nice move down the left almost created a goalscoring opportunity for Reading. Williams scampered into the box, toed the ball across the area and McCleary arriving late into the area tried to angle a low drive back across the goalkeeper only for it to cannon into a Wolves defender and bobble clear of danger.
Danny Williams then drilled just over from distance and Pogrebnyak was almost in behind the back line and onto a ball from Hector only to be flagged offside in what must have been a marginal decision.
The first chance of the second half fell to the head of a Wolves player, Sako's cross met by Dave Edwards in the middle but his effort sailed over the bar without concerning Federici.
Soon after though Simon Cox was fed by McCleary and he scurried into space down the right. Twisting and turning, he beat his man and drilled low at goal, only for Kuszczak to save well at his near post and palm to relative safety.
Reading then came within inches of retaking the lead. Oliver Norwood, on for Chalobah, delivered a lovely corner into the middle where Hector connected but the ball span off the centre-back's head and just wide of the right post.
Norwood then had a go himself. Williams won a free kick 25 yards out and the substitute drilled it goalwards and forced Kuszczak into a fingertip save over his bar. Moments later, McCleary rode a challenge to get into the box and lashed a right-footed shot just over.
Steve Clarke's men deserved a second goal and DannyWilliams obliged. McCleary recycled a deep Robson-Kanu cross and teed up Williams on the edge of the area with a ball back. Williams ran onto it and powerfully sidefooted past Kuszczak and in off the base of the left upright.
There was almost a third for Reading soon after. Kuszczak's clearance fell in no-man's land and Cox picked it up. His first time shot from 30 yards out was charged down but Cox then threaded a delightful ball into the angled run of Robson-Kanu who skipped over the dive of Kuszczak but couldn't find a way past the former Manchester United stopper from a tight angle.
Wolves pressed for another leveller, but after a couple of hurried clearances the Royals broke and Blackman dragged a left-footed effort towards the bottom right corner only for Kuszczak to tip it around his post.
Hope Akpan was brought on for Cox with eight minutes remaining, but the Royals almost added another when Blackman ghosted past Henry and cut the ball back to the edge of the area where Norwood leathered an effort on target only to see it well charged down.
Again Reading looked likely to score another, breaking brilliantly from a Wolves free kick thanks to Obita's crossfield ball to McCleary. The winger crossed low into the six yard box but Kuszczak smothered it before Pogrebnyak could slide onto it.
As the ninety minutes wound down, Wolves best chance came when Henry skewed a shot into the ground and it skipped up for Dicko to flick on but Federici gathered it into his body on the line.
Reading were well worthy of the win when the final whistle sounded and a formidable away display had earned Steve Clarke's side maximum points at Molineux.