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📝 Match Report | Magnificent Royals blow Bournemouth away

Superb display earns Veljko Paunovic's men a fine win against a p

29 January 2021

A majestic first half display saw the Royals earn an unassailable 3-0 lead they never looked like relinquishing at Madejski Stadium to get their deserved revenge for the defeat at the Vitality Stadium earlier in the season.

Three minutes into the game and a long ball from Tom McIntyre floated over Chris Mepham's head and Lucas Joao so nearly latched onto it - but the ball bounced away from the Royals striker and into Asmir Begovic's palms.

Rafael was needed soon after to parry a Danjuma strike from range wide of his goalmouth with a solid save to his left - and Morrison twice had to snuff out the threat of Danjuma encroaching into the Reading box and looking for a shooting opportunity.

With 20 minutes gone, the hosts nearly capitalised on an effort from Lewis Cook - Lucas Joao stealing in to take possession of a loose pass back into the Bournemouth box. The angle was too narrow for Joao to take a shot, but he teed up Swift who scuffed a left-footed shot wide of the bottom right corner.

Reading were building pressure and Laurent recycled an Olise free kick by lofting a ball over the top to Ejaria whose cut back was seen out for a corner. 

And from that corner, the Royals broke the deadlock. Olise's deep set piece was met by the head of McIntyre who nodded the ball back into the danger area. The Cherries couldn't clear it and McIntyre hooked a shot back into a crowded box where Laurent reacted fastest to smash the ball high past Begovic for 1-0.

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Reading were looking for more...and soon had a second. Rinomhota earned a free kick on the edge of the box when he was brought down by a sliding Rico challenge on the half hour mark. Olise arced the set piece around the wall and Begovic was down low to his right to save it - but the rebound fell to the feet of McIntyre who slammed the ball high past the Cherries stopper to make it 2-0 from close range.

Joao lead a counter attack in search of a third, but as he looked to take aim he lost control of a bobbling ball and it ran free for Begovic to collect.

Olise drilled a left-footed effort just wide of the bottom right corner and the Royals continued to press and press for more goals.

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Before half-time, we had a third! And deservedly so. Ejaria slid a low ball into the feet of Lucas Joao who cleverly cut inside a bamboozled Steve Cook before slotting the ball past Begovic with an assured left-footed finish.

McIntyre did well to come across and prevent Danjuma pulling one back on the stroke of half-time - and Reading were threatening a second through a low Rinomhota cross from the right that was nearly met by Joao but was instead hacked clear.

A magnificent first half performance sent the Royals into the dressing room in full control.

Half-time: Reading 3-0 Bournemouth

Bournemouth made a triple change at the break, but Begovic was tested first in the second half courtesy of a swerving effort from Swift that was safely gobbled up by the Bournemouth keeper.

Lewis Cook took aim from 25 yards out after he was teed up by King, but his sweetly-struck effort sailed harmlessly wide of the left upright.

Morrison brilliantly won the ball back ten minutes into the half and powered down the right to begin another attack. It led to Swift arrowing an effort high over the bar from an Ejaria pull back after the midfielder had seen his first shot from distance charged down.

Rinomhota did very well to track back and cut out a low Josh King cross after Bournemouth had broken to good effect down the right. Rafael punched clear the resultant corner but the visitors were looking for a goal that might give them a route back into the fixture.

A brave bit of defending from Holmes denied the Cherries that goal on the hour - a Brooks corner had dropped to Mepham whose drive was charged down by a diving Holmes and thankfully King lashed the loose ball wide from close range.

The away side were starting to cause Reading problems and were coming close to getting a goal back - Solanke missed his kick when King threaded a ball through to him and then Rafael made two successive saves to claw a shot off his line low to his left and then keep a looping Cook header out.

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A lung-busting run from Laurent took him free down the right side and into the box along the byline but his low cross into the six yard box couldn't find the toe of Joao before it was well cleared.

With 20 minutes remaining, Rinomhota robbed Wilshere and then Joao and Olise combined for the latter to skid a dangerous cross into the six yard box but again the Cherries cleared the danger.

On the break, substitute Alfa Semedo set Joao away and the striker forced a strong save from Begovic. Ejaria teed up Laurent for another shot and this time Begovic clung onto the midfielder's strike from the edge of the box.

Jason Tindall's side pulled a goal back with five minutes remaining when substitute Junior Stanislas found a way through the Reading wall to place a set piece beyond the dive of Rafael and inside the bottom left corner for 3-1.

And King weaved his way into the box moments later only to see his right-footed effort charged down by a sliding Richards challenge. But Reading nearly had a fourth when the home side took a quick free kick and set substitute Esteves away. He burst half the length of the pitch and into the area but skied his shot over the bar.

Solanke couldn't keep a header down in the third of six minutes of injury time under pressure from the excellent McIntyre.

Esteves came close again when he forced a fine reaction save from Begovic - the loose bouncing ball from the parried save was scuffed goalwards by Yakou Meite but it didn't possess the power to force the Cherries keeper into a meaningful second save.

The visitors had nothing left to throw at an organised Royals defence though and three points were deservedly staying in Berkshire.

Full-time: Reading 3-1 Bournemouth

Reading: Rafael, Holmes (Yiadom 89), Richards, Morrison (c), McIntyre, Laurent, Rinomhota, Swift (Semedo 71), Olise (Esteves 88), Ejaria (Aluko 77), Joao (Meite 89).
Unused subs: Southwood, Gibson, Tetek, Onen.
Yellow: Swift
Goals: Laurent 24, McIntyre 32, Joao 43

AFC Bournemouth: Begovic, Stacey, Rico (Smith HT), S Cook (c), Mepham, Billing (Stanislas 81), Lerma (Wilshere HT), L Cook, Solanke, Danjuma (Brooks HT), King.
Unused subs: Dennis, Surridge, Carter-Vickers, Riquelme, Simpson.
Yellow: Rico
Goals: Stanislas 85

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