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Match Reports

10-man Royals undone at Villa Park

Reading resistance broken after sending off on Tuesday

3 April 2018

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An early red card saw the Royals struggle to compete against promotion-chasing Aston Villa on Tuesday night, with Steve Bruce's side emerging 3-0 victors.

  • Edwards sent off for Reading in the first half
  • Mannone makes fantastic goal-line save from Hogan
  • Bjarnason scores early in the second half for Villa
  • Hourihane and Hogan add goals for the hosts

The Royals started the evening with three changes from Friday's win against QPR, with Sam Smith, George Evans and Leandro Bacuna all coming into the line-up at Villa Park.

Reading got forward after Dave Edwards won possession in midfield and set Mo Barrow off down the left, he crossed low but Villa managed to clear their lines.

Up the other end, the hosts had Albert Adomah free on the right to feed a ball in, with Jack Grealish getting on the end of it on the volley - firing over Vito Mannone's bar.

High-flying Villa kept the pressure up on the Reading back line, crossing in for Birkir Bjarnason for a free header at goal, sinking to his knees in frustration after planting it off target.

Reading had to defend for all their worth in the first half, with the hosts pressing at every opportunity and making life difficult for Paul Clement's side.

It was about to get tougher for the Royals, though, as Edwards received his marching orders after just half an hour for two bookable offences - the second of which after a tackle on Bjarnason from behind.

Snodgrass was then able to get a cross in from the right into the path of Hogan, who headed low but Mannone was equal to it and comfortably saved.

A gilt-edged chance followed, with Jack Grealish spraying a cross-field ball wide, a centre coming in towards the unmarked Hogan, with Mannone sprawling to make a superb save on the line. Snodgrass followed in, but Chris Gunter worked back to intervene and keep the scores level.

It was a tireless first half from Reading to keep the hosts at bay, and it stayed goalless at the break.

Half time | Aston Villa 0-0 Reading

A change of shape and the introduction of Pelle Clement greeted the start of the second half.

However, after just 65 seconds of the second period, the Royals were behind. Villa got forward straight away, playing into the path of Bjarnason from 20 yards, looping an inch-perfect shot into the top corner to leave Mannone with no chance.

With Barrow taking up the forward line, the Royals were forced to be content without seeing too much of the ball at Villa Park, with the hosts having the man advantage.

Steve Bruce's promotion chasers kept up the pressure, with John Terry directing a trademark header at goal - but that particular effort sailed wide of the post.

In a forward foray that the Royals found hard to come by all evening, Barrow out-paced Chester to the ball, getting in behind - only for former England captain Terry to get across and cut out the threat.

However, the Royals soon found themselves with a mountain to climb. Snodgrass crossed in from the flank, it was flicked on and Conor Hourihane was on hand to sweep into the bottom corner and give the hosts breathing space.

The third was a gift for the hosts, substitute Liam Kelly playing back towards Mannone, who miscontrolled and the quick-closing Hogan pounced to dispossess the goalkeeper and slot into an empty net.

It was a frustrating evening all round for Reading, with Villa keeping the Royals at arm's length as they held onto their lead going into the closing stages.

Hourihane forced a strong low save from Mannone in the final moments of the 90, with Villa harbouring different aspirations to Reading this season and taking all three points at Villa Park.

Full time | Aston Villa 3-0 Reading

Aston Villa: Johnstone, Taylor, Chester, Terry (c), Elmohamady, Hourihane, Bjarnason, Adomah (Kodjia 66), Snodgrass (Onomah 66), Grealish (Whelan 75), Hogan.
Subs: Bunn, Lansbury, Jedinak, Grabban.
Goals: Bjarnason 47, Hourihane 63, Hogan 70 

Reading: Mannone, Gunter (c), Ilori, Moore, Blackett, Bacuna, Edwards, Evans (Kelly 65), Aluko (Martin 73), Barrow, Smith (Clement 46).
Subs: Jaakkola, Holmes, Swift, Van den Berg.
Yellow: Edwards
Red: Edwards

Referee: Mr D Bond
Attendance: 29,223 (350 away)

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