Reading FC ended Huddersfield Town’s six-game unbeaten run at the John Smith’s Stadium, with a second-half brace from Lucas Joao securing a 2-1 win for Veljko Paunovic’s side.
Fraizer Campbell had headed Carlos Corberan’s men into a sixth minute lead, but Joao’s goals either side of the hour stunned the Terriers.
Paunovic’s side are now up into fourth and three points outside the automatic promotion places ahead of Bournemouth’s trip to Stoke City tonight.
📝 My @FootballLeagueW report as Lucas Joao strikes twice to end #htafc's unbeaten run at home. #ReadingFC up into fourth for now + with Joao in this kind of mood, they will remain in the promotion race. Got to keep him fit. #HUDREA https://t.co/qXh3ye3Lwz
— AGB (@BurnsAlfie) January 2, 2021
Despite Paunovic seeing his side enjoy a lot of possession in the opening exchanges, the Royals would fall behind to the game’s first chance on six minutes.
Juninho Bacuna managed to spin Josh Laurent in the centre of the pitch before feeding Isaac Mbenza on the right. The in-form winger had the ball out of his feet and into the box in a flash, where Campbell connected well with a header for 1-0.
Campbell was off-target with an ambitious attempt shortly afterwards, with Reading then forcing Ryan Schofield into action on 12 minutes. Corberan’s goalkeeper denied Sone Aluko, though.
Neither side were able to continue that entertaining start and we had to wait until 31 minutes for the next meaningful opportunity; Aluko, again, but wide of Schofield’s post from the edge of the penalty area.
Schofield was called into action once more on the stroke of half-time, with the Huddersfield goalkeeper superbly denying Tom Holmes’ header after an inch-perfect delivery from Aluko to the far post.
That positive end to the first-half was carried into the second period, with Reading starting brightly and John Swift lifting a free-kick over the bar.
Minus a brief scare as Lewis O’Brien broke into the area, Reading eventually found control and parity.
A smart Joao run matched Tom McIntyre’s direct ball in the 52nd minute, with the Reading striker able to wrestle off his marker and slot beyond Schofield to make it a goalscoring return to the side.
Not happy with just the equalising goal, Joao was at it again on 65 minutes.
Michael Olise found the striker on the edge of the Huddersfield area, with Joao turning, sizing up Schofield and smashing the ball beyond him from distance.
Huddersfield were denied by a Rafael save on 80 minutes, with the Reading goalkeeper equal to a fierce Mbenza volley after Campbell’s knockdown fell his way.
Mbenza was then guilty of slipping the ball the wrong side of Rafael’s post on 86 minutes, with Huddersfield’s impressive home run slipping away from them.
Tomas Esteves rattled Schofield’s crossbar in stoppage time, but Reading’s work was done at the other end of the field after Joao’s heroics; disciplined and compact to strengthen their grip on a place in the promotion race.
FT: Huddersfield Town 1-2 Reading FC.