Blackburn Rovers 2-4 Reading: Royals go seven points clear at top of Championship

Blackburn Rovers 2-4 Reading: Royals go seven points clear at top of Championship

Yakou Meite’s goal after nine seconds was the fastest scored in the Championship this season

Reading opened up a seven-point gap at the top of the Championship after beating free-scoring Blackburn in an exciting contest at Ewood Park.

The Royals needed just nine seconds to take the lead as Yakou Meite side-footed into an empty net after a defensive mistake, but Blackburn were level two minutes later through Adam Armstrong.

Michael Olise ran through to put Reading ahead and Josh Laurent’s curling effort from outside of the box made it 3-1 to Reading after just 18 minutes.

Armstrong had chances to score either side of the break before he eventually made it 3-2 with a diving header, before Lucas Joao finished well after breaking through to settle the game.

The victory means Reading have won seven and drawn the other of their first eight league games – their second-best start to a league season in their history behind the 1985-86 campaign in the old Third Division when they won all of their first eight games.

The breathless start to the match began when a long ball from the kick-off bounced off the heel of defender Barry Douglas leaving debutant goalkeeper Aynsley Pears out of position and Meite was on hand to side-foot into an empty net.

Liverpool loanee Harvey Elliott created the equaliser soon after as his cross from the right was volleyed home by Armstrong, but Reading capitalised on another defensive mistake as Olise ran through and calmly finished before Laurent fired home after a weak clearance.

Armstrong’s ninth league goal – a diving header from Joe Rankin-Costello’s curling near-post cross from the right – moved him to the top of the Championship’s goalscoring charts. His two goals against the Royals are double the number of goals Reading’s previous seven league opponents had managed against them so far this season.

Joao made the game safe with his fifth goal of the season before Armstrong was denied a hat-trick late-on after a diving save by Reading goalkeeper Rafael Cabral.

Blackburn head coach Tony Mowbray told BBC Radio Lancashire:

“I think their forwards were pretty good. They obviously performed better than we did defensively.

“You can’t defend like we did, what was it? Ten seconds for their opening goal? We lacked confidence against their physicality.

“I thought we were much better in the second half. We’re a team on a journey, we’ve just got to keep going and keep believing.”

Reading manager Veljko Paunovic told BBC Radio Berkshire:

“The spirit we have, the group we have, it’s priceless for every coach. I’m full of gratitude for everything we’ve done so far.

“I’m not going to stop demanding but at this point, especially after this game, the way we won, the way we played against a very difficult rival, is unique.

“This is the first game we scored that quickly. We addressed that in the past and said it was something we needed to improve.”

Line-ups

Blackburn

  • 13Pears
  • 24Rankin-Costello
  • 26Lenihan
  • 3Williams
  • 15Douglas
  • 10HoltbyBooked at 5minsSubstituted forBuckleyat 82′minutes
  • 29EvansSubstituted forGallagherat 62′minutes
  • 19TrybullBooked at 20mins
  • 16Elliott
  • 7Armstrong
  • 20BreretonSubstituted forDolanat 81′minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Nyambe
  • 9Gallagher
  • 18Davenport
  • 21Buckley
  • 28Wharton
  • 39Dolan
  • 41Stergiakis

Reading

  • 33Cabral BarbosaBooked at 76mins
  • 2Pontes Esteves
  • 4Morrison
  • 6Moore
  • 3Richards
  • 28Laurent
  • 8Rinomhota
  • 30Semedo
  • 7Olise
  • 11MeiteSubstituted forAlukoat 73′minutes
  • 18Lucas JoãoBooked at 79minsSubstituted forMcIntyreat 85′minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Walker
  • 5McIntyre
  • 15Gibson
  • 24Aluko
  • 34Tetek
  • 43Watson
  • 47Puscas

Live Text

  1. Match ends, Blackburn Rovers 2, Reading 4.

  2. Second Half ends, Blackburn Rovers 2, Reading 4.

  3. Foul by Adam Armstrong (Blackburn Rovers).

  4. Liam Moore (Reading) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  5. Attempt saved. Adam Armstrong (Blackburn Rovers) with an attempt from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Tyrhys Dolan with a cross.

  6. Barry Douglas (Blackburn Rovers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  7. Foul by Josh Laurent (Reading).

  8. Corner, Reading. Conceded by Derrick Williams.

  9. Attempt missed. Adam Armstrong (Blackburn Rovers) header from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Sam Gallagher with a headed pass.

  10. Substitution, Reading. Tom McIntyre replaces Lucas João.

  11. Goal! Blackburn Rovers 2, Reading 4. Lucas João (Reading) right footed shot from the left side of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Alfa Semedo.

  12. Substitution, Blackburn Rovers. John Buckley replaces Lewis Holtby.

  13. Substitution, Blackburn Rovers. Tyrhys Dolan replaces Ben Brereton.

  14. Attempt missed. Derrick Williams (Blackburn Rovers) header from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Lewis Holtby with a cross following a corner.

  15. Corner, Blackburn Rovers. Conceded by Rafael Cabral.

  16. Attempt saved. Lewis Holtby (Blackburn Rovers) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Tom Trybull with a headed pass.

  17. Lucas João (Reading) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  18. Aynsley Pears (Blackburn Rovers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  19. Corner, Reading. Conceded by Aynsley Pears.

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