We wanted a reaction following our home defeat in midweek. And Mark Bowen certainly got that. Four goals from Yakou Meite earned the Royals a comfortable 5-0 away win at Luton Town this afternoon.
Reading began brightly and only a goalline clearance could deny Yakou Meite the opening goal almost 10 minutes into the first half. A nice passing move culminated in a good ball for Blackett to run onto down the left and his low driven cross was palmed out by Sluga to Meite 10 yards out. He wrapped his right boot around the ball well and drilled towards goal but Dan Potts on the goalline hacked it clear with the keeper beaten.
Moments later, Luton were thwarted by the woodwork - a well placed cross from the right found James Collins in space at the near post and he glanced a header against the underside of the crossbar to the anguish of the home bench.
The Hatters appealed for a penalty with a quarter of an hour gone - a well-worked free kick was passed down the left flank and crossed, headed on to the back post. Ejaria tussled with a Luton man coming in to try and get the decisive touch with his head but nothing was awarded and the game remained goalless.
Not for long though. Reading attacked moments later and Swift fed Puscas who in turn toed it inside for Meite to run onto. He took aim and drilled low to Sluga's left to hand the Royals a valuable lead.
It was two a minute later! In an advanced position, Osho delivered a cross into the box which the keeper fumbled. Puscas was on hand to latch onto the loose ball and his low drive from a narrow angle was cleared but only to Meite who picked out the bottom right corner this time with a well-struck finish.
Rinomhota won a free kick after a short drinks break and that set piece was headed back into the box by Blackett and then Ejaria. Morrison brought it down and the ball fell for McIntyre to have a crack - his deflected effort bouncing kindly into the arms of Sluga.
Ten minutes before the break, it was 3-0 and the Yak-trick was complete. Blackett darted into space down the left and cut the ball inside for Ejaria who dummied beautifully to glide between two Luton defenders. He picked a perfect pass through the back line and Meite was free to drive through Sluga for his third of the game.
Izzy Brown caused problems in the Reading box with a fierce free kick that was whipped into a crowded box, but Rafael did well to rise above everyone and punch the ball high behind for a corner. That delivery, from the right, did find a Luton head but Sonny Bradley couldn't keep his effort down to trouble the Royals stopper.
A ball over the top searching for Collins was intercepted by Morrison but before Brown could pull the trigger the offside flag was raised against Collins. Bursting with confidence, Meite took aim from 25 yards out on the stroke of half-time but this time the Town keeper could watch the ball sail high and wide of the target and into the stands. But Yakou had done the damage already in that first 45 minutes.
Half-time | Luton 0-3 Reading
Luton made two changes at the break and enjoyed a good spell of possession at the start of the second half - producing a good cross from Bradley on the left that needed Pele to hack clear.
But there should have been a penalty awarded to the Royals just moments later when Puscas was seeminly deliberately tripped inside the Hatters' box - but the referee waived protests away to the visitors' confusion.
Swift took aim at one end, forcing Sluga into a smart save low to his left, then ran half the length of the pitch to doggedly prevent Ruddock-Mpanzu from finding a cross into the Royals box.
And Puscas was rewarded for his endeavour all game when he was in the right place at the right time to head home a fourth. Blackett's deep swirling cross from the left was headed back into the danger area by Morrison and the Romanian was there to nod it into an empty net and make it 4-0.
Moments later it was five! Ejaria played the ball forward to Puscas who swiftly touched the ball on for Meite to power onto. He muscled his way past the last man, bore down on goal and slid the ball under Sluga for his fourth and Reading's fifth!
Mpanzu had a shot deflected well wide of the target, but Luton were well beaten. And the Royals were still searching for more - Rinomhota intercepting the ball, feeding Olise who so nearly teed up Baldock - only for the striker to be crowded out before he could geta shot away.
Rafael was called into action to preserve the clean sheet, saving low to deny Ben Potts a consolation goal with four minutes remaining.
Full-time | Luton 0-5 Reading
Luton Town: Sluga, Potts, Tunnicliffe (Bree HT), Bradley (c), Pearson, Lee (Hylton 70), Cornick (Cranie 70), Ruddock-Mpanzu (Shinnie 82), Carter-Vickers, Collins, Brown (Bree HT).
Unused subs: Shea, McManaman, Moncur, Butterfield.
Reading: Rafael, Osho, Blackett, McIntyre, Morrison, Pele (Masika 61), Rinomhota, Swift (c) (Richards 78), Ejaria (Olise 70), Meite (McCleary 70), Puscas (Baldock 78).
Unused subs: Walker, Gunter, Moore, Boye.
Goals: Meite 17, 18, 36, 62 Puscas 57
Referee: Mr James Linington