First half double downs Owls
- Pogrebnyak heads Royals into lead
- Chalobah sweeps home stylish second
- Westwood saves Robson-Kanu penalty
- Federici impresses on 30th birthday
Pavel Pogrebnyak headed home Stephen Kelly's cross to break the deadlock, before Madejski debutant Nathaniel Chalobah produced a superb hooked finish to add a second, after excellent work from Garath McCleary down the right.
Keiren Westwood kept the visitors in it by saving a Hal Robson-Kanu penalty in the second half, after Pogrebnyak had been felled by Jeremy Helan inside the area. And Adam Federici had to produce good saves from Lewis Baker in the first half and Jacques Maghoma in the second period to maintain the hosts' two-goal cushion.
Cox and McCleary came close to adding their names to the scoresheet, but Madejski Stadium celebrated a fully deserved win on a bitterly cold January afternooon.
Reading: Federici, Kelly, Obita, Hector, Pearce (c), Chalobah, Williams, Robson-Kanu (Mackie 78), McCleary (Blackman 78), Cox (Norwood 67), Pogrebnyak.
Subs: Andersen, Travner, Cooper, Karacan.
Sheffield Wednesday: Westwood, Mattock (Helan HT), Loovens, Lees, Hutchinson (Dielna 68), Palmer, Buxton, Baker (Huhiu HT), Maguire, Maghoma, Keane.
Subs: Wildsmith, Buxton, Coke, May.
Att: 17,775 (2,392 away)
The game began in open fashion and Keiren Westwood had to cut out a Garath McCleary cross from the byline in the opening minutes.
Soon after he was in more urgent action. Hal Robson-Kanu threaed a lovely ball into the feet of Cox who was in behind the back four, one on one with Westwood, but the Owls stopper saved well as Cox shot with the outside of his right boot but the Republic of Ireland international did well to parry.
At the other end, Chris Maguire came close when he raced onto a ball pulled back from the byline on the left, but his shot was straight at Federici who parried it well and caught it at the second attempt.
McCleary found himself with a fleeting chance, but turning inside on his left he arrowed high and wide of the target after a quarter of an hour. Then Obita made good progress overlapping on the left, but his low cross was toed away from the loitering McCleary by a Wednesday leg in the middle and agonisingly across the six yard box and behind for a corner.
And with half an hour played, Reading found the break through they had deserved. Stephen Kelly delivered a sumptuous cross into the middle for an unmarked Pavel Pogrebnyak to head high past Westwood from eight yards out.
McCleary passed the ball inside for Cox to control and scamper towards the edge of the area, but the striker's shot was sliced high over the bar with less than ten minutes of the half left on the clock.
And Reading capitalised on their dominance, scoring a second before the break. Superb work from McCleary saw him ride one challenge and scuttled down the right, before picking out a perfect cross into the penalty spot. Debutant Nathaniel Chalobah swept the ball home with real style, wrapping a right foot around it on the bounce and Westwood was beaten.
Adam Federici, celebrating his 30th birthday produced a great save to claw an effort from Lewis Baker around his post after a low cross from the right had skidded all the way to the unmarked Baker's feet just before half-time. But Reading would take a two goal lead into the dressing rooms.
In the opening minutes of the second period, it could have been 3-0. Robson-Kanu passed the ball through the Wednesday defence and McCleary rifled an unstoppable drive inside the left post, only for the offside flag to controversially rule it out.
With an hour played, the Royals had the chance to put the result beyond doubt when McCleary burst forward and fed the ball into Pogrebnyak who was scythed down by substitute Jeremy Helan. Hal Robson-Kanu stepped up but Westwood guessed right and saved low to his right to keep it 2-0.
The Owls almost caught Reading on the break a couple of times, committing bodies forward in their attempts to regain a foothold in the game, but Reading's defence held firm.
Jacques Maghoma burst at pace down the middle and he scurried onto the ball after Hector could only half intercept it. But Federici was off his line to narrow the angle and delay the shot, and Maghoma sliced well wide when he did eventually get his effort away.
Stuart Gray's men kept pressing though and Claude Dielna forced Federici into a smart save from a free kick with ten minutes remaining. And Stephen Kelly could be thanked for a timely block on Will Keane's effort as time began to tick away.
Clarke brought Oliver Norwood on for Cox to solidify things in midfield and it worked a treat. And a late double change almost combined to score a third in the final five minutes.
At the other end, brilliant play from one substitute, Nick Blackman, led to a low cross that found the other substitute, Jamie Mackie, in the middle, but instead of getting a shot away he teed up Pogrebnyak who was fouled on the edge of the area. Norwood lined up the free kick but couldn't keep his set piece down.
The final whistle sounded and three points belonged to the Royals.