A dominant Reading display from back to front earned Jaap Stam's side a vital away win at the Pirelli Stadium this evening, courtesy of a brace from Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and a left-footed Chris Gunter strike.
- Bodvarsson taps home Bacuna's low cross to hand the Royals a first half lead.
- Akins levels from the penalty spot after referee spots a pull on Samuelsen inside the box.
- Gunter arcs a superb left-footed 20-yard effort inside the left post for 2-1
- Bodvarsson taps home from Barrow's low centre to make it 3-1 on the hour.
Royals boss Jaap Stam made four changes to the side that lost in the FA Cup on Friday night, bringing in Joey van den Berg, Vito Mannone, Sone Aluko and Mo Barrow to start. New loan signing Tommy Elphick was named as a substitute.
Reading began the livelier, showing attacking intent from the first whistle; a cute Bodvarsson turn won an early free kick from which Barrow was able to deliver a cross into the box and then win a corner which was headed clear by the Albion back line.
At the other end a hopeful ball forward found Akins in space behind the Reading defensive line, but his low cross was intercepted by a sliding Chris Gunter before it could find Bent arriving in the box.
The first save was made by Stephen Bywater, who leapt to his right to cling onto an Aluko shot after the forward had been teed up by Barrow cutting the ball back to him on the edge of the box from the right flank.
And the opening goal arrived shortly after. Barrow's deep cross from the right was retrieved by Bacuna on the left side of the box. He calmly picked a pass into the six yard box where Bodvarsson was able to stab it home from close range for 1-0.
Another neat Bodvarsson turn on the right flank saw him leave Ben Turner and scamper away. His low early cross into the middle skidded into the feet of Bacuna, but it bobbled up on him as he looked to strike it and his shot arrowed high over the bar.
Bacuna launched another shot too high when he collected a cut back from Bodvarsson, but at the back Reading were more than matching their opponents physical approach.
As gentle rain began to fall, Barrow darted down the right and skipped away from his marker twice as the first half drew near a close. But his low cross was gobbled up by Bywater on his goalline.
Half time | Burton Albion 0-1 Reading
An offside flag against Akins thwarted Darren Bent as he toed the flick on over an onrushing Mannone after the referee's whistle had sounded.
But Burton were able to draw the scoreline level when the hosts were awarded a penalty for a tug on Samuelsen inside the box as a cross was floated into the Reading box. Akins stepped up and stroked the ball home from the spot to make it 1-1.
Reading responded and Bacuna's inswinging cross from the left nearly found the head of Kermorgant in the middle, but a Burton head did enough to take it off the Frenchman's forehead.
And the visitors had the lead once again before the hour mark. Bacuna's clever corner was fizzed out to Gunter on the edge of the box, who controlled it with his first touch before arcing it inside the left upright for 2-1.
It could so easily have been 3-1 twice within the next few minutes.
First Edwards powered down the left and crossed low into the box where Bodvarsson lookoed sure to tap it home, but ghwe was tripped as he bore down on the ball and the ball span wide...the referee gave nothing despite protests from the Royals players.
Bodvarsson then thundered down the right flank and skidded a low cross into the box. Kermorgant wrestled for it and it rolled loose to Barrow whose shot flew off a Burton body and dropped just wide of the right post.
From the resulting corner, substitute Tommy Elphick wound up a volley at the back post and his well struck effort bounced up off the turf and flew just over via a deflection off an Albion head.
But Burton weren't finished off and with one goal the advantage, they posed a threat. Kyle McFadzean reminded the Royals of that when he arrowed a right-footed shot wide of the left upright with 25 minutes of the match remaining.
A third goal came Reading's way moments later though. Mannone played it out to Moore at the back, he drew a man and curved a ball into Van den Berg. He played it early for Barrow, bursting in behing the Burton back line. And his low cross was met by Bodvarsson who sidefooted it home past Bywater from six yards out.
Elphick rose high to meet a Bacuna corner from the right with nine minutes left, but his header cannoned off a yellow shirt before Bywater could be called into a save.
Former Royal Hope Akpan curled a speculative effort harmlessly wide a few minutes later as the home side continued to search for a goal that might allow them to salvage something.
Four minutes of injury time were signalled and the Royals were keeping possession and ensuring all the football was being played in the Burton half. And Jaap Stam's side came away with a fully-deserved victory.
Full time | Burton Albion 1-3 Reading
Burton Albion: Bywater, Brayford, McFadzean, Turner, Murphy, Akins, Flanagan, Naylor, Samuelsen (Sordell 77), Buxton (c), Bent (Akpan 64).
Subs: Campbell, Allen, Dyer, Sbarra, Boyce.
Goals: Akins pen 51
Yellow: Turner, Buxton, McFadzean
Reading: Mannone, Gunter (c), Moore, Ilori, Van den Berg (Evans 81), Edwards, Bacuna, Aluko (Elphick 57), Barrow, Böðvarsson, Kermorgant.
Subs: Jaakkola, Blackett, Clement, McCleary, Smith.
Goals: Bodvarsson 20, 68, Gunter 58
Yellow: Moore, Ilori, Bodvarsson
Referee: Mr R Jones