“It’s good to win games and it’s good to get points because there are a lot of games to be played in this league this season. Hopefully we can stay up there, but we’re not aiming for that third or fourth spot yet. We’re not focused on getting into a certain position in the table. I keep repeating myself: there’s a long way to go.”– Reading FC Manager Jaap Stam
“Our general play wasn’t too bad and if one of our chances had gone in at any time, even at 2-0 down, it might have been a different game. But we can’t keep missing chances and giving away soft goals – otherwise you lose, like we did today.”– Burton Albion Manager Nigel Clough
“I waited patiently for this time, and the time came for me and I tried to grab it with both hands. That doesn’t mean that the hard work stops. It means I’m going to carry on doing what I’m doing in training, and off the pitch as well. I’ll keep looking after myself and take it in the next game.”– Reading FC Striker Dominic Samuel
Reading pushed themselves up to third in the Championship table on Saturday with a 3-0 win at the Madejski Stadium against Burton Albion. It was a convincing performance by the Royals against a side they had only faced once in their history.
The Royals took the lead in the first half with Dominic Samuel’s first goal for the club at a senior level. Danny Williams made it two a matter of minutes later and a Yakou Meite shot was deflected into the Burton net by John Brayford in the second half to secure the win. Despite a change of formation and a number of injuries, Jaap Stam’s side won the game convincingly.
Stam was forced into making changes to his side following the international break due to a number of his squad picking up injuries. Yann Kermorgant, John Swift and Callum Harriott were all dropped from the side that beat Wigan 3-0, being replaced by Dominic Samuel, Jordan Obita and Roy Beerens. Nigel Clough was also forced into making a couple of changes with Kyle McFadzean and Jamie Ward being replaced by John Mousinho and Stuart Beavon following their draw against Barnsley.
As the game got underway neither side dominated play. Albion had the first chance of the game but Jackson Irvine could only head over the bar from a Lloyd Dyer cross. Soon after the first Reading chance fell to Dominic Samuel. Breaking down the right wing , Samuel fired from the edge of the box but could only hit the side netting.
In the first quarter of an hour Reading were struggling to dominate possession and subsequently Albion were given another opportunity to open the scoring. This time the ball was crossed into Chris O’Grady but his header was cleared by Jordan Obita on the post.
Despite Burton getting off to a marginally better start, Reading were soon to get into the groove. With just over twenty minutes of the game gone they were to take the lead. Roy Beerens was allowed to run into the Burton penalty area before firing across the six yard box. The cross come shot looked like it was going wide but Samuel slid in to score his first senior goal for the club.
The Brewers were trying their best to get back into the game but only a matter of minutes later Reading were to make it two. The impressive Obita broke down the left before driving a cross into the box. Danny Williams was then on hand in the middle to fire in unopposed.
Just after the half hour mark Burton were to threaten the Reading defence. A ball over the top sent Lloyd Dyer away towards the Reading goal. A tangle between Tyler Blackett and Liam Moore made the scenario more difficult for the home side but thankfully for them a poor O’Grady attempt ended up in the arms of player of the month Ali Al-Habsi.
As the first half approached its end, Reading were increasingly in control. Samuel was causing the Burton defence problems with his pace and it was the young striker who was involved in arguably the most controversial moment of the game.
Samuel looked to run into the box but was forced off the ball by Mousinho but penalty appeals were waved away. While the referee also did not take notice of a handball appeal, he did book Ben Turner for bringing down Samuel moments later. While Reading started somewhat slowly, they went into half-time with a two goal lead.
The Royals should have increased their lead in the second half with Garath McCleary in particular getting into threatening positions. Obita broke down the left once more and fired a cross into the centre of the area. McCleary’s first time volley, however, flew over the bar. Samuel was next to pick out McCleary but he fired over the bar once more.
Apart from Al-Habsi being forced into a save by well struck shot from Beavon, it was a straightforward half for the Royals. With the end in sight, Reading substitute Yakou Meite was to make it three. After cutting in from the right, the winger fired low towards goal. It was saved by Jon McLaughlin in the Burton goal but rebounded off John Brayford into the net.
The final opportunity of the game fell to Burton but Will Miller could only fire across goal from a tight angle. The score finished 3-0 to Reading and the Berkshire side moved up to third in the table. It was an impressive performance by the Royals against a lacklustre Burton side and one that showed Jaap Stam’s team has strength in depth.