“It was important – we needed to bounce back from losing our last home game, where we lost our unbeaten run here. Back to back wins in the league are important for us – it wasn’t an absolutely fantastic display, but we scored two goals and kept a clean sheet. So we’ll take it and move on.”– Reading FC Defender & Goalscorer Chris Gunter
“We didn’t play the possession game we can, the game we need to play. We were careless on the ball, first touches weren’t good enough, passes were inaccurate, the wrong choices were made – and that gave them confidence that they could play very direct and create chances.”– Reading FC Manager Jaap Stam“We were poor in the Reading penalty area today and it was incredible that we’ve lost this game. We need some more luck but also we understand that we need to be better in both boxes if we are to move up the table.”– Nottingham Forest Manager Philippe Montanier
Reading extended their winning run with a 2-0 win against Nottingham Forest at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday. Both goals came from ex-Forest players with Garath McCleary and Chris Gunter getting on the score sheet. Forest were unlucky not to get a goal themselves but heroics from Ali Al-Habsi in the Reading goal earned the Royals a clean sheet.
Jaap Stam made several changes to the squad that faced Arsenal in the EFL Cup but largely reverted back to the usual Championship squad. The only changes saw Paul McShane and Tyler Blackett coming back into the starting lineup, meaning that Joey van den Berg could be pushed up into midfield.
The Royals got off to a good start, taking just ten minutes to score. John Swift had an effort from range initially which Forest goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic could only push back into play. The ball fell to McCleary whose first time strike found the back of the net via the bottom corner of the goal.
Reading did not have complete control of the game, however, and Forest had their own chances to level the score. Pajtim Kasami had a great opportunity to level the score before the half-hour mark with a free header right in front of goal. He could only direct it straight into the arms of Al-Habsi but it was a chance that he should have buried.
The Royals were next to have an effort on goal. Yann Kermorgant’s volley was cleared off the line and Danny Williams’ long-range attempt was pushed over the bar by Stojkovic.
As half-time approached, Forest looked near-certain to grab the equaliser. After springing the offside trap, Al-Habsi saved another header from Kasami. The ball rebounded off McShane and Al-Habsi was called into action again to claw the ball off his line.
The best save of the half was still to come, with Al-Habsi diving to save a great strike by Eric Lichaj one-handed. It was a frantic end to the half for home fans but Reading went into the break with a 1-0 lead.
As the second half began, Forest continued to pressure the Reading goal. The side had ample opportunity to level the score but the quality of their finishing was somewhat disappointing for their fans in attendance. Lichaj had a great chance when the ball fell at his feet inside the box but he could only drag his shot wide.
On the hour mark, it was Reading who were to score through an unlikely source. McCleary ran the ball down the right before pulling it back to Gunter in the box. The defender took it past one defender then fired it past Stojkovic for 2-0.
The result seemed pretty secure as the game approached its end. That was until the referee seemingly awarded a penalty to Forest for a trip on Henri Lansbury. After discussing with his assistant, the referee changed the decision to a free-kick which Kasami fired into the wall.
The last real chance fell to substitute Britt Assombalonga who put the ball in the back of the Reading net from an offside position. Despite having six minutes of added time, Forest could not find a way back into the game and the score finished 2-0.