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Championship leaders Reading move five points clear after Rotherham victory

Tom Prentki
·2-min read
Yakou Meite scored in each half for Reading - PA
Yakou Meite scored in each half for Reading - PA

Reading 3 Rotherham United 0

A cheesy picture of Ricky Gervais' character David Brent from The Office, accompanied by the quote: ‘Guilty, I support Reading,’ adorns the empty home end at the Madejski Stadium.

Pride rather than guilt is no doubt the overriding emotion for Reading fans this season.

Seven games in, they sit unbeaten, five points clear at the top of the Championship having sacked their manager Mark Bowen two weeks before the start of the season and replacing him with the little known Serbian Veljko Paunovic.

“I’m very excited,” he said. “In our team, we are seeing the consistency of getting the job done. We’ve established our identity and everyone has the fire in their eyes.”

It took until the 41st minute for either side to register a shot on or off target after a dire first half.

But the first effort resulted in a goal as Yakou Meite was picked out at the far post by Ovie Ejaria and the Ivorian finished through the legs of Jamal Blackman.

It was tough on Rotherham boss Paul Warne, returning from a period of isolation after a family member tested positive for Covid 19, whose side had dominated possession for long spells.

“I thought we played really well, but we didn't create enough opportunities to score,” he said.

Their best opening of the half came as Daniel Barlaser and Florian Jozefzoon combined to whip a ball across the six yard box which Reading keeper Cabral Barbosa scrambled to safety.

Reading are not always a thrill a minute to watch. Their success has been in defence where they have only conceded one goal all season.

The swirling wind and rain were not helping the spectacle and the same disjointed pattern continued after half time.

Rotherham's George Hirst came off the bench and with his first touch saw Reading captain Liam Moore clear off the line.

Freddie Ladapo then went close with his rising shot saved by Cabral as Warne's side again enjoyed more of the possession.

But Meite sealed victory 11 minutes from time with an emphatic overhead kick following Michael Olise's corner, which had been won when Blackman tipped Tomas Esteves' long range effort onto the crossbar.

Olise then struck the bar from a free-kick in stoppage time before Lucas Joao scored from the penalty spot with virtually the last kick of the game after he was felled by Michael Ihiekwe.

Match details

Reading (4-2-3-1): Cabral; Esteves, Moore, Morrison, Richards; Rinomhota, Laurent; Meite, Semedo (McIntyre 80), Ejaria (Olise 66); Puscas (Joao 66).
Substitutes not used: Gibson, Southwood, Aluko, Tetek.
Goals: Meite 41, 79, Joao 90+3 (pen)

Rotherham United (4-1-4-1): Blackman; Harding (Ladapo 71), Ihiekwe, Wood, Mattock; MacDonald; Jozefzoon (Olosunde 64), Lindsay (Hirst 62), Barlaser, Wiles; Smith.
Substitutes not used: Johansson, Jones, Sadlier, Crooks.
Booked: Ihiekwe, Wood.

Referee: Mr M Donohue