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Match Reports

⚽ Report | Royals earn 3-1 friendly win over Pompey in a pre-restart clash at the Madejski

Mark Bowen's men hosted League One playoff-bound Portsmouth and ran out 3-1 victors courtesy of goals from Lucas Joao, Omar Richards and Michael Olise...

14 June 2020

Madejski Stadium played host to a pre-restart friendly on Sunday afternoon and Mark Bowen's men ran out 3-1 winners against Portsmouth in a lively encounter between two teams hoping to start quickly when the action resumes.

The Royals are preparing to restart Championship action next weekend, so following a visit to Chelsea's training ground earlier in the week, a home fixture was deemed valuable for the Royals - so Kenny Jackett's men travelled up from the south coast to take us on in a friendly.

The first real opportunity in front of goal was created by some smart passing between Yakou Meite and John Swift, supplying Lucas Joao with the opportunity to shoot from the edge of the area. He shimmed to get the ball onto his right boot but dragged his effort wide of the left upright.

Michael Olise came close with an arcing left-footed effort from the edge of the box that spun through the air but just over the top left corner.

And the Royals deservedly had the lead on the half hour mark. Swift's quick feet earned a free kick 20 yards out and he arrowed the set piece over the Pompey wall beyond the keeper and against the underside of the crossbar. The ball dropped down and Joao instinctively controlled the ball and pivoted on his right foot to arrow home with his left, low into the bottom right corner from 12 yards out.

Joao almost turned creator five minutes later, driving at the Portsmouth defence and then slipping a ball into Meite whose first time shot was blocked by a last ditch slide from the centre-half.

It was 2-0 before half-time. A dangerous cross from the left was met by Omar Richards at the near post who cleverly glanced it home with his left foot to double the home side's advantage.

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The visitors pulled one back early in the second half when a hopeful ball over the top led to hesitation between Rafael and Liam Moore - Oli Hawkins getting past the sliding body of Rafael with a couple of fortunate ricochets to allow him to calmly stroke the ball into an empty net for 2-1.

And it could have been 2-2 when the same striker latched onto a cross from the left but scuffed his cushioned volley straight at Rafael who comfortably collected it on the bounce.

Rafael was down well to smother a dangerous low cross from the same flank soon after as Pompey - preparing for a play-off push against Oxford United - started the second period strongly.

George Puscas forced a parrying save from the Pompey keeper midway through the second period but the offside flag was raised against him as the Romanian international's effort stung the palms. And at the other end Hawkins glanced a header just wide in search of an equaliser.

The game opened up in the closing stages, with Masika nearly unlocking the opoosition defence with a direct run into the box from the left. His cut back nearly found Garath McCleary in the middle but a Pompey leg hacked clear at the last moment.

Puscas hooked a speculative effort at goal late on as the Royals finished the stronger - but it was easy for the keeper to collect into his arms. And the striker came closer with a header in injury time, connecting well with a Michael Olise corner only to head just over the bar.

And there was still time for a fourth goal - the Royals doubling their lead when Masika darted onto a scooped ball over the top. He pulled the ball back for Olise who calmly placed the ball inside the right post for 3-1.

And 3-1 is how the pre-restart friendly was to end. An excellent work out for two teams who are clearly committed to hitting the ground running when competitive action resumes.

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