Reading cruised to a comfortable 2-0 victory against a Forest team who played the majority of the game with 10 men following Yates’ sending off.
Football was already the winner before a ball had been kicked, as 2,000 Reading fans filled the East Stand of the Madejski. A first chance to see Pauno-ball in the flesh, the first URRRRZZZ, the first “You’re s**t ahhh” of the season, and hopefully empty stadiums are soon to become a thing of the past.
Both sides made one change from their midweek draws, with Meite replacing Semedo for the hosts and Figuerido making way for McKenna for Forest.
Reading started brightly, and Samba had to be alter to deal with a swerving Meite strike, but it was Forest with the first real chance of the game as Lyle Taylor lost his marker at the far post from a free kick. His strike from a couple of yards out forced a great, low reaction save from Rafael to keep the game level.
On the quarter hour mark came the game’s biggest talking point. Olise whipped in a free kick deep in to the Forest box. Samba went to parry the ball but didn’t spot the onrushing Holmes who managed to head the rebound to the far corner. Ryan Yates was racing back and clawed the ball away from danger with his hand earning him a straight red.
Lucas Joao stepped up to the mark for the resulting penalty to score his 14th goal of the season, sending Samba the wrong way.
Reading continued to press, utilising the pace of Richards well to cause Forest issues with dangerous runs in to the box looking ever more threatening. However it was the danger man Olise who released Meite in to the box, only for the ex-PSG man to blaze over from short distance on the turn.
Forest weathered the initial storm following the red card well and grew in to the half with deliveries looking to Taylor as the focal point both from out wide and long throws. Moore and Morrison were proving too good for the Forest attack as they have for many teams so far this season, with Forest able to create precious little.
There was to be another chance before the half was out, with Meite finding himself in space on the left side of the box, only for Ribeiro to get a block in. From the following corner, Moore’s distance shot was then deflected narrowly wide by Meite with Samba stranded.
Reading started the second half on the front foot. Olise used some clever footwork to create space for himself to unleash a strike low towards the bottom corner that Samba had to be alert to.
Olise soon turned provider with his dangerous set piece deliveries. His corner was whipped in to the danger zone, and Morrison had beaten his man to send his header in to the far corner.
It could have been three shortly afterwards, as Holmes used great vision to release Meite down the right flank. Meite held the ball up well to cutback for Ejaria who slipped as he went to strike the ball.
Olise was continuing to cause danger to the Forest defence, and a corner from the right side led to a scramble. When the ball fell to Morrison, his close thumping effort was well blocked.
As will often be the case with 5 subs now allowed, the game threatened to peter out. But as the game reached its end, Aluko and Baldock continued to cause concern for Forest on the break and nearly combined for a goal of their own as Aluko’s left-sided breakaway ended with a delivery to Baldock who could only divert wide.
Reading will be delighted with the 2-0 win, and the comfortable nature of it. Forest will be concerned that even with only 10 men they were unable to create a meaningful opportunity in open play.
Reading march on to 3rd, while Forest languish a couple of points above the drop.