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Match Reports

Royals fall to McBurnie double

Report from Liberty Stadium

27 October 2018

Swansea City striker Oli McBurnie notched goals either side of half-time to condemn Reading to defeat in South Wales.

  • Baldock has goal ruled out for offside
  • McBurnie puts Swans in front from the spot
  • Second for McBurnie late on seals Swans win

The first of his two goal came seven minutes before the break from the penalty spot, converting after Dan James won a foul in the box. 

And after a glut of chances for the Royals after the break, McBurnie's second, six minutes from time, was a well-taken finish from a low James cross.  Reading were unable to offer a reply.

The 18-man matchday squad was unchanged from the midweek meeting with Birmingham City, but there were three changes to the starting XI.

John O’Shea, Garath McCleary and Sam Baldock were all drafted in for starts, making straight swaps for Tiago Ilori, Josh Sims and Jón Daði Böðvarsson respectively – all of whom were included on the bench.

The Swans had much of the early possession and created the first notable opportunity when McBurnie raced forward, laid wide to Dan James, and the midfielder's curling strike was just past Anssi Jaakkola's far post.

The Royals responded and within a minute had carved a good chance for themselves.  A nice first touch from John Swift on half-way, an incisive pass from Liam Kelly, but Yakou Meite's skidding shot was palmed around the post by Kristoffer Nordfeldt.

From the resulting corner, a routine straight from the training ground.  Leandro Bacuna drove a daisy-cutter of a cross to the edge of the area where Kelly was arriving... his powerful effort just wide.

Chances continued to come, but the first goal was still elusive.  Jay Fulton latched onto McBurnie's cushioned ball in the box and unselfishlessly laid wide to James, who curled his first-time attempt a matter of inches over the bar.

Reading survived a scare when Bersant Celina's free-kick from deep was turned goalwards at the far post; as it looped high into the air, it needed brave defending by a combination of Bacuna and Andy Yiadom to keep the ball at bay before skipper Liam Moore stepped in to hack away.

The Swans were getting into their groove and McBurnie, after a well-worked one-two, fed the ball wide to full-back Kyle Naughton, whose effort was blocked.

On the half-hour, Reading had the ball in the net - only for the linesman's flag to come to the hosts' recsue.  John O'Shea met Bacuna's corner with a glancing header, and Baldock provided the finish... the flag raised for offside.  A marginal call, with striker McBurnie deepest for the Swans, who were given the benefit of the doubt.

Instead, it was at the other end that the net burst first.  James, driving into the area from the left, was adjudged to have had his heels clipped by Yiadom, and referee Keith Stroud pointed to the spot without hesitation.  McBurnie slammed Swansea ahead with a well-hit penalty.

The lead could have been extended further with a chance from nothing soon after; captain Mike van der Hoorn strafed a ball straight down the middle for Celina to run onto, and Jaakkola did well to block out his volley from inside the area.  But the lead was one going into the interval.

Half-time: Swansea City 1-0 Reading

The Royals' first effort in the second half was simple but effective - a cross from deep by Blackett was met by Meite, making a run across his marker, but the volley was wide.

And then Kelly and Bacuna snaffled up a loose ball, drove forward, but McCleary's firm effort from the edge of the area was down the throat of Nordfeldt.

A strong start to the second half from Reading meant that Swans skipper Van der Hoorn had to be alert twice in as many minutes.  Firstly Kelly's early ball found Baldock on the run, but the defender timed his tackle perfectly in the box, and then it was Swift whose low cross was cut out firmly on the byline.

Meite, with three goals in his previous two appearances, was inches away from heading in a leveller before the hour mark - he escaped attention to meet Bacuna's corner with a firm effort... wide.  Agonising.

After plenty of Reading pressure, a couple of chances came and went for the Swans - the ever-dangerous James shanked a good chance as the ball was worked from right to left, and the Celina's stinging strike was kept at bay by Jaakkola via a nick off a defending boot.

Getting that equaliser was proving a frustrating task for the Royals - and on three occasions, Meite was unable to convert opportunities.  Baldock's cross from the right was glanced past the far post; Blackett's low delivery was hooked wide; Bacuna's hanging cross headed over.

Matt Grimes stung the palms of Jaakkola from outside the area, and then the Royals goalkeeper made a terrific low save in the six-yard box to deny McBurnie a second as he raced onto Martin Olsson's low cross.

After Baldock had come close to getting things all square with an acrobatic effort, the second goal of the game came at the other end to effectively seal the win for Swansea.  James, using his pace on the left, sprinted down the left and delivered a pinpoint cross for McBurnie to convert in the centre.

Meite had another chance go begging late on as he had another headed effort saved well.  A frustrating afternoon in front of goal came to an end after the four added minutes.

Full-time: Swansea City 2-0 Reading

Swansea City: Nordfelft, Olsson (Carter-Vickers 78), Van der Hoorn (c), McBurnie, Celina, James (John 88), Grimes, Rodon, Roberts, Naughton, Fulton (Fer 62).
Unused subs: Mulder, Asoro, McKay, Baker-Richardson.
Goal: McBurnie (38 pen, 84).
Yellow: McBurnie, Nordfeldt.

Reading: Jaakkola, Yiadom, Blackett, Moore (c), O'Shea, Bacuna, Kelly, Swift (Sims 88), McCleary (Böðvarsson 64), Meite (Aluko 90), Baldock.
Unused subs: Walker, Gunter, Ilori, Rinomhota.
Yellow: Baldock.

Referee: Mr K Stroud

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