A brace from Lucas Joao on return from injury proved to be enough as Reading came from behind to win 2-1 away to Huddersfield in an ideal start to 2021.
Reading we rejuvenated by returns to the starting line up for trio John Swift, Omar Richards and Lucas Joao who had all spent time on the sidelines with injury.
However, it would be Huddersfield who would take the lead. Mbenza was given time and space on the right-wing and was allowed to deliver a ball into the Reading box. Frazier Campbell beat Holmes to the header and Rafael had no chance from close range.
Reading looked to respond quickly as Ejaria won the ball on the left. After some interplay with Swift, the ball found Aluko in the box, but his shot was well saved by Schofield.
Both sides have preferred to attack in transition this season, and as the half wore on the game became increasingly scrappy with neither side able to sustain real periods of pressure on the other.
But Reading did get a real opportunity when Laurent drove at the Terriers’ defence. As the tackles flew in, Laurent managed to hook the ball away whilst on the floor to find Aluko who could only scuff his shot wide from 15 yards.
Reading applied pressure late in the half with a series of set plays at the end of the half, and it was a Swift free-kick that found the onrushing Tom Holmes at the far post. Schofield made himself big and was able to keep the header out with his right knee.
Reading had picked up just two points from losing positions this season but had an opportunity to level the game up early in the second half. However Swift was unable to get the required dip on his free-kick from the edge of the box.
Reading would move level shortly after. Tom McIntyre played a well-weighted long ball looking for Joao. Reading’s top scorer outmuscled Edmonds-Green to win the ball on the edge of the 6-yard box and roll the ball past Schofield into the far corner.
Huddersfield woke up following this and began to run and attack more directly and with purpose. Naby Sarr was pleased to see the offside flag go up against him after somehow skewing his shot across the face of goal from a short distance.
The turnaround was complete shortly after the hour mark through a spectacular strike from Joao. Ejaria and Olise linked up well in the middle of the hosts’ half before Olise laid the ball off to Joao. With four Terriers around him, Joao was allowed to turn and fire powerfully past Schofield’s left.
Reading continued to have much of the play after going ahead, but it was Huddersfield who were creating the chances as Mbenza reacted quickest to a knockdown in the Reading box. Rafael got down well to his right to pull off a fine reaction save.
With five minutes left, Huddersfield hit Reading in transition as Mbenza found himself through one on one with Rafael. However the forward struggled to get the ball out from his feet and could only poke narrowly wide as the Royals blew a sigh of relief.
As the game entered injury time, Reading almost wrapped the points up. Laurent took the ball into the corner, and Pipa could only clear as far as Baldock. His lay off was met by Esteves who had his shot deflected on to the bar.
That was to be the last of the action as Reading held on for a deserved three points. By no means a vintage performance, but a well-controlled one after falling behind early on in the game. Seven points from a tricky three games over the festive period represents a good return for a team that has been struggling with injuries.