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Match Reports

Report | Late fightback not enough for Royals

Sheffield Wednesday leave RG2 with three points

1 September 2018

Reading were narrowly beaten at home against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday afternoon, with goals from Adam Reach and Lucas Joao meaning the Royals lost 2-1.

  • Reach opens the scoring early in the first half
  • Barrow's close-range effort saved by Dawson
  • Joao curls stunner into bottom corner 13 seconds after restart
  • Moore scores looping header to pull one back
  • McNulty strike saved in stoppage time

The Royals started the game with the return of Mo Barrow and Sone Aluko on the flanks, with Chris Gunter also making his first league start of the season after an injury.

An early Royals free-kick was headed away in the area into the path of Yakou Méïté 25 yards outs - he cut inside and let fly but it was never troubling Cameron Dawson in the Wednesday goal.

Up the other end, a cross-field ball from Barry Bannan found Atdhe Nuhiu on the left of the box. He cushioned his touch perfectly, then curled a flying effort towards the roof of the net, but Vito Mannone was able to tip over the bar.

Only 12 minutes in, though, the visitors had the lead. After some tenacious tackling on the left, a low cross found Adam Reach on the edge of the box, stroking home a left-footed effort across goal and into the bottom corner.

Reading responded with Baldock showing clever footwork, touching on the turn to lift the ball over his marker and into the area - with Liam Palmer sprinting across to punt clear before the striker could get a shot away.

On the half-hour mark, Chris Gunter got forward on the right flank and drew a foul near the corner flag. Leandro Bacuna swung in a dangerous free-kick - with David Meyler glancing just wide of goal from eight yards.

The Owls looked difficult to break down defensively, with Dawson doing well to punch clear from a dangerous Reading corner in a crowded area.

Dawson was again called into action shortly before the break, a clever pass letting Barrow in on goal, he got round his defender and shot from close range - but the goalkeeper spread himself to block the Royals' best chance of the half.

Half-time: Reading 0-1 Sheffield Wednesday

Before people could even settle back into their seats for the second half, the visitors doubled their lead.

Lucas Joao found space from 20 yards, receiving a lay-off and curling an unstoppable effort into the bottom corner after just 13 seconds of the second half.

Moments later, Reading were attacking once more and drew a free-kick from a tight angle. Bacuna struck hard at goal but Dawson improvised to punch away.

Vito Mannone was quickly called into action in the Reading goal, though, as the visitors broke on the counter. Joao combined with strike partner Nuhiu on the edge of the box, with the latter striking low and hard - Mannone parried away with a smart save.

Paul Clement tried to swing momentum in the Royals' favour with a seldom-seen triple substitution on the hour, with Josh Sims, Marc McNulty and Liam Kelly all introduced as Reading tried to claw their way back into the game.

That soon paid dividends as Liam Moore pulled one back with 25 minutes left of the clock. Bacuna swung in an inviting corner, and the centre-back looped a header into the far corner from the penalty spot.

The volume at Madejski Stadium certainly increased at that point, with the RG2 faithful getting behind their team as they looked for the equaliser.

Bacuna eyed up a free-kick on the edge of the box, won by Sims, his strike was dipping but it could only land on the roof of the net.

Reading pressed increasingly harder to try and find their second - looking far likelier than the Owls in scoring the game's next goal.

Mannone caught from a Wednesday corner and lobbed a pinpoint throw beyond the halfway line to McNulty. The striker picked his head up and found a superb ball to Kelly in the area, who brought it down but strong last-ditch defending prevented him from getting a shot away.

A big appeal for handball came in from Reading players after Sims' cross was brought down - the referee waved away the shouts and play continued.

Five added minutes were set to be played, with the Royals still pushing to earn another valuable home point. McNulty did well to receive it 25 yards out and touch past his marker, shooting on target from distance but Dawson got down well to save and hold onto the three points.

Full-time: Reading 1-2 Sheffield Wednesday

Reading: Mannone, Gunter, Yiadom, Moore (c), Ilori, Meyler (Kelly 60), Bacuna, Barrow (Sims 60), Aluko (McNulty 60), Méïté, Baldock.
Subs: Walker, McShane, Swift, Blackett.
Goals: Moore 64
Yellow: Sims

Sheffield Wednesday: Dawson, Palmer, Penney, Thorniley, Lees, Pelupessy, Bannan, Matias (Forestieri 81), Reach, Joao (Fletcher 87), Nuhiu.
Subs: Wildsmith, Fox, Hutchinson, Baker, Lee.
Goals: Reach 12, Joao 46
Yellow: Penney

Attendance: 14,352 (1,933 away)
Referee: Gavin Ward

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