Reading 3-0 Luton Town: Ruthless Royals make it three home wins on the bounce

Ovie Ejaria
Ejaria scores in a convincing Royals display.

READING made it three consecutive home wins as goals from Michael Morrison and Ovie Ejaria gave the Royals a first half lead before Garath McCleary rounded off the scoring in the second half.

Morrison headed in the opener after 23 minutes and Ejaria doubled the lead after half an hour in a dominant first 45 minutes.

Substitute Garath McCleary then stole possession and calmly slotted the ball into the bottom corner to round off the scoring and seal the points.

The hosts made a fast start as they looked to take an early lead with George Puscas driving into the box, but he couldn’t get the ball out of his feet to find a cross before he was tackled.

With Luton also lining up with three centre backs and two wing backs, John Swift played a superb through ball to carve open their defence to find Omar Richards but a vital sliding tackle prevented the full back from racing through on goal.

For all of Reading’s good play, it was the visitors who had the first effort on goal with a floated free kick falling to captain Martin Cranie who forced Rafael into a smart save at his near post.

The Royals then had their first attempt at goal as Sam Baldock took a touch to compose himself but Luton keeper James Shea was equal to his strike and turned it round the post for a corner.

Richards continued to venture forward on the left and skipped past a few players before winning a corner as his effort from outside the box was turned behind b Shea.

Reading took advantage of their dominance as Michael Morrison opened the scoring in the 23rd minute, meeting Swift’s out-swinging corner and heading into the left hand corner to beat Shea.

Michael Morrison
Michael Morrison

Having been appointed Reading manager just under a month ago to a negative reaction from much of the Royals faithful, manager Mark Bowen has clearly changed the opinions of many already with the home crowd signing ‘Mark Bowen’s barmy army’ which was met by appreciation from the Welshman.

Mark Bowen’ remains unbeaten after four games in charge.

Reading then deservedly doubled their lead through Ovie Ejaria who cut inside from the left and unleashed a shot which found the left hand bottom corner via a small deflection. Richards determinedly won possession back for the Royals to start the attack as his impressive first half showing continued.

The relentless Royals searched for a third to try and kill the game off early as Baldock went close on two occasions, with Shea keeping out his first shot before he found the side netting from a narrow angle.

Luton manager Graeme Jones made a change at the break, bringing Alan Sheehan on for Luke Bolton to try and change the visitors fortunes.

Bowen’s side had an early chance in the second half as the ball fell to swift on the edge of the box but the midfielder drove the ball high into the stands.

The Royals pushed hard to find a third goal with the Hatters riding their luck to try and stay in the contest.

Bowen made his first change just after the hour mark as Garath McCleary replaced Ejaria.

Puscas was denied by an impressive save from Shea as his close range header was pushed away by the keeper after Richards lifted the ball into the box for the Romanian to head at goal. Yakou Meite replaced Puscas in the 68th minute.

A less convincing second half followed but the hosts remained patient and eventually sealed the game as McCleary won possession high up the pitch and kept his composure to slide the ball under the keeper into the bottom corner.

Having been outcast under previous manager Jose Gomes, McCleary seized his opportunity with just his second appearance of the season.

Garath McCleary back training with the first team
Garath McCleary scored his first goal of the season.

The win takes Reading up to 17th in the Championship table heading into the international break having won three of their four games under Bowen.

The Royals have also tightened up their defence with just one goal conceded in their last three matches at the Madejski Stadium.

Attendance: 15,251
Visitors: 2,097

Reading: Rafael, Yiadom, Morrison, Miazga, Moore (c), Richards, Rinomhota, Swift, Ejaria (McCleary 63′), Baldock (Loader 80′), Puscas (Meite 68′)
Subs: Walker, McCleary, Loader, Meite, Howe, Blackett, Pele

Luton Town: Shea, Cranie (c), Potts, Tunnicliffe, Pearson, McManaman, Cornick, Collins, Bolton, Jones, Butterfield.
Subs: Lee, Shinnie, Ruddock-Mpanzu, Sluga, Lualua, Bree, Sheehan

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