REPORT: Reading 2-1 Owls
Two second half goals from Roy Beerens gave Reading a 2-1 win over Wednesday at the Madejski Stadium.
Substitute Steven Fletcher scored a late consolation but the earlier damage was done, although the scoreline did flatter the Berkshire outfit as the Owls dominated large parts of the game without making the breakthrough.
Lucas Joao was presented with the best chance after the break but missed the target and Reading responded with a deflected shot from Beerens to open the scoring.
But there was no fortune involved in the Dutchman’s second, scampering past two challenges to fire across Keiren Westwood.
Fletcher’s late header ensured a rousing finish but Reading held on in the face of fierce pressure to the last.
Renowned for their possession football this season, the home side started in familiar fashion, although it was the Owls that looked the more likely in the final third.
Atdhe Nuhiu – making his maiden start of the campaign – shot narrowly over the crossbar from distance before Ross Wallace forced Ali Al-Habsi into a flying save.
Nuhiu then linked up well with Barry Bannan and Joao only to be thwarted at the last by Paul McShane as the Owls began to turn the screw.
But Reading rode the mini-storm and came back into proceedings, albeit without asking any real questions of on organised Wednesday backline.
Half time came and went – before the outcome of the game was essentially influenced through quickfire incidents at either end.
For the Owls, Joao was threaded through by Sam Hutchinson but drilled wide after looking favourite to score.
And the visitors were made to pay on 57 minutes when Reading took the lead against the run of play.
In their first attack of the half, the Royals hit the spot, with an element of luck too as Beerens’ hit was covered by Westwood but the ball deflected cruelly off Tom Lees and in.
It was hard on Wednesday, who were superior from the resumption but the goal gave the hosts a boost and Joey Van Den Berg almost doubled the lead from a set piece header.
It was left to Beerens to do exactly that, executing a fine individual strike on 77 minutes to give the Royals a two-goal cushion.
And they needed it too as Fletcher came off the bench to head in an Adam Reach cross and trigger a frantic finale that saw Fletcher denied right on the whistle as Al-Habsi prodiced a fine save at full stretch.
Wednesday: Westwood, Hunt, Loovens, Lees, Reach, Wallace, Hutchinson (Hirst 77), Lee, Bannan, Joao, Nuhiu (Fletcher 60)