Reading 2-0 Nottingham Forest: Fans return to the Madejski as the Royals chalk up another Championship win to go second while Chris Hughton’s men look nervously over their shoulder
- Veljko Paunovic’s side are now level on points with Bournemouth at the summit
- Lucas Joao and Michael Morrison got the goals in front of 2,000 home fans
- Ryan Yates was sent off for the visitors as they remain 21st with just 13 points
Reading stretched their unbeaten Sky Bet Championship run to four games with a 2-0 win over 10-man Nottingham Forest to move second on the day that home fans were allowed back into the Madejski Stadium.
With 16 minutes on the clock, Reading went ahead after Forest midfielder Ryan Yates handled on the goal line and was sent off. Reading’s top scorer Lucas Joao slotted in the resultant penalty for his 14th goal of the season.
Centre-back Michael Morrison made it 2-0 with a header eight minutes after half-time as the Royals cruised to victory.
Michael Morrison celebrates after ultimately wrapping up the win with an emphatic header
Lucas Joao salutes the returning home faithful after his 11th Championship goal of the season
Reading had topped the table after an excellent start to the campaign but their form fell away across a run of four successive defeats.
They subsequently rediscovered their touch, a 1-1 draw at Sheffield Wednesday in midweek extending their undefeated sequence to three matches.
Chris Hughton replaced Sabri Lamouchi as Forest manager in October and had recorded three victories in 11 matches before today.
Two thousand home fans were allowed into the Madejski for the first time in nine months and were seated in the East Stand – opposite the players’ tunnel, dressing rooms and media zones.
The last action watched by supporters at the stadium – by a crowd of 15,129 – came in an FA Cup fifth-round tie on March 3, when Reading lost 2-1 to Sheffield United after extra time.
Reading began brightly, with Yakou Meite testing Forest goalkeeper Brice Samba with a swerving 20-yard drive.
Fans returned to the Madejski for the first time since March as the home fans saw their side win
Forest replied immediately, Lyle Taylor forcing a fine close-range stop out of home keeper Rafael from Anthony Knockaert’s deep free-kick.
An announcement over the public address system after 12 minutes warned the fans to maintain their social distancing – but they were out of their seats four minutes later when Reading took the lead.
Tom Holmes beat Samba to Michael Olise’s free-kick and, as the ball appeared to be dropping over the line, Yates clearly handled it.
Yates was sent off and Joao stepped up to calmly guide home the spot-kick.
Forest defended valiantly for the rest of the half, with Meite, Holmes and Olise all wasting good chances for the hosts, who enjoyed 65% possession during the contest and had 24 shots to their opponents’ two.
Samba saved well from Olise early in the second period but, in the 53rd minute, Reading doubled their advantage.
Nottingham Forest are struggling and the red card for Ryan Yates was the start of a tough day
Olise swung over a corner from the left and Morrison rose alone to nod home his second goal of the campaign.
Forest did their best in difficult circumstances but rarely looked like ending their goal drought as Reading strolled to a comfortable three points.
Veljko Paunovic’s men are only looking up, while Hughton’s side are nervously looking over their shoulder in 21st, having picked up one point from their last five games and failed to score in any of those matches.
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