Reading secured a comfortable 3-0 win over Coventry City at the Madejski Stadium this evening to really make their mark in the race for promotion.
At the time of writing, the Royals occupy third spot in the Championship table and now sit only three points away from second placed Swansea City.
Goals from Lucas Joao, Andy Rinomhota and John Swift secured the victory for the Berkshire outfit in what was a professional display from the home side.
The first opportunity of the game fell the way of Coventry after just two minutes as a loose pass across the box from Tom Holmes was latched onto by the lively Callum O’Hare, but his effort on goal was saved by Rafael.
Ten minutes after that first Sky Blues chance, another fell the way of Mark Robins’ side. A corner was taken short to defender Sam McCallum who whipped in a sumptuous cross into the Royals box which met the head of Leo Ostigard, but his effort glanced agonisingly wide.
Though, Coventry’s early pressure came to nothing as two minutes after that Ostigard chance, the home side opened the scoring.
John Swift floated a pin-point ball in behind which was met with perfectly timed run from Lucas João, who chested down, held off the challenge from the Coventry defender and fired emphatically past Ben Wilson in the Coventry goal.
The Royals were certainly growing into the game after what was laboured start to the first half, and in the 25th minute they could have gone 2-0 up.
Some dazzling footwork from Ovie Ejaria on the left flank saw him dance past a couple of red and black shirts, where he then fired a low shot which rattled the inside of the woodwork.
Just before the stroke of half-time, the hosts had another great opportunity to extend their lead.
Ejaria held up the ball well in the centre before slipping a ball out to Holmes on the right who fizzed an inviting low cross right into the danger area but Joao could only turn it wide on the stretch at the back post.
Reading kicked off the second half in fantastic fashion and just one minute after the restart, the Royals went 2-0 up.
Joao did brilliantly to keep the ball high up the field in the box, and he pulled it back for Ejaria who missed his shot, though Rinomhota, on his 100th appearance for the club, ran onto the loose ball and drove it home past the outstretched Ben Wilson.
The Sky Blues nearly clawed one back in the 56th minute as Gus Hamer whipped a free-kick over from the right, and it was met by a bullet header from Ostigard, but Rafael did fantastically to palm it away and maintain the Royals’ 2-0 advantage.
In the 71st minute, Kyle MacFadzean was sent off for a second yellow card and from the resulting free-kick, Reading got a third and in quite sensational fashion.
From around 30 yards, John Swift struck a free-kick with such ferocity that Ben Wilson in the Coventry goal had no hope, with it flying into the top-right hand corner at a serious rate of knots.
Moments later, it could have been 4-0 to the hosts as Sam Baldock, who had just come on as a substitute, was played in on goal and was one on one with the Sky Blues goalkeeper, but the striker slid his effort just wide of the left-hand post.
Reading hardly had to get out of second gear for the remainder of the match and saw the game out in professional fashion.