Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Win and draw keeps Reading in contention

READING maintained their place in the Championship play-offs with one win and a draw over the Easter period.

The Royals followed up hard-fought draw with fellow promotion hopefuls Barnsley on Friday night before overcoming Derby County on Monday.

The Rams had three chances in quick succession when in the 20th minute Colin Kazim-Richards hit the post with a header.

Goalkeeper Rafael Cabral then saved Tom Lawrence's follow-up effort before tipping another shot from Kazim-Richards over the bar.

Michael Olise broke the deadlock for the Royals in first-half injury time with a rising shot into the top left corner from outside the 18-yard box.

George Puscas doubled their lead 12 minutes after the break when he hooked in the rebound after David Marshall parried a shot from Yakou Meite.

A 30-yard strike by Lawrence brought Derby back into the game but substitute Lucas Joao struck with six minutes remaining to secure Reading's first win in five matches.

A run of three draws in four had seen Reading's position in the top six come under threat, which meant positive results over the Easter period were vital for their play-off hopes.

Royals boss Veljko Paunovic said: “I'm very happy but it wasn't an easy game against a hard opponent.

“The application and maturity we played the game with were very promising for this team. With six games left, that is what you need to win.

“The execution was clinical and defensively we did a good job. The goal we conceded was almost unstoppable.

“Everyone understands the opportunity we have in front of us. I am doing my job the best I can and have talented players who are committed.”

Away at Barnsley, forward Ovie Ejaria latched on to Andy Rinomhota’s ball over the top to open the scoring with a low right-footed shot 11 minutes before half-time.

The Tykes equalised from the penalty spot through Alex Mowatt just after the hour mark after Andy Yiadom brought down Callum Styles in the box.

Lucas Joao missed a chance to restore the visitors’ lead when he skewed a shot wide with the goal gaping while the hosts had a late goal ruled out for a foul.

Tonight (Friday) Reading travel to Watford, who occupy the second automatic promotion spot in the Championship, kick-off is at 7.45pm.

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