Two fine goals from Ovie Ejaria were enough to give Reading a 2-1 victory against Fulham on Saturday afternoon in the Sky Bet Championship.
Fulham actually had the earliest big chance of the game, with it falling to Bobby Decordova-Reid. The attacker was set through down the right by Nathaniel Chalobah and he did well to loft the ball over Royals stopper Luke Southwood, though he’d also clear the bar with his attempt.
Indeed, not that we’d have known at that point, but this would be a sign of things to come for the hosts in the main this afternoon, unfortunately for them.
Aleksandar Mitrovic robbed Tom Holmes and bore down on goal to only then drill wide soon after, with Reading then manufacturing chances of their own – though Junior Hoilett blazed his effort well over and Tom Dele-Bashiru could only fire at Paulo Gazzaniga from a tight angle.
Frustration soon gave way to jubilation, though, at least for the away side, with Ovie Ejaria bagging his first of the afternoon. Receiving the ball off of John Swift, he dipped onto his right foot just inside the box and whipped a finish across Gazzaniga into the far-right corner.
Indeed, it was a superb piece of quality from Ejaria – and not the last we’d get from him either today – with Fulham bemoaning an uncharacteristic lack of it in front of goal twice more before half-time as Decordova-Reid hit the post and Mitrovic hit the bar.
Fulham needed to respond after the break and threatened to do so minutes into the second half, with Ivan Cavaleiro seeing his first shot beaten away by Southwood before firing his second effort moments later just wide.
That only served to stir Reading into a bit of magic of their own at the other end, though, with Ejaria playing a fine one-two with Alen Halilovic, before bringing the aerial pass he got back down on the turn and then firing home for 2-0.
Certainly, the former Liverpool man was showing just why he was on the books with the Reds as a youngster here at the Cottage this afternoon, as he set the Royals on their way to a big three points.
For Fulham, the time was now to get on the attack and Rodrigo Muniz was thrown on by Marco Silva to go up top with Aleksandar Mitrovic.
The two would combine, too, but it would only, at least to start with, end in the latter firing over after Muniz’s knockdown.
With five minutes to go, however, the pair would work together to finally find the back of the net for the Whites. Harry Wilson dug out a cross which Mitrovic nodded back across goal for Muniz to power a header home.
A lifeline at last for the Whites, but would it be enough?
The majority of Fulham’s afternoon was frustrating for them, with them either finding Southwood, the frame of the goal or just not quite having the finishing touch when needed.
Reading, and Ejaria in particular, made the very most of their chances by contrast, and in some style too it must be said.
An eye-catching result for the Royals, then, and for Marco Silva and Fulham a second defeat in three matches in the Sky Bet Championship.