Sheffield Wednesday match report: Reading 2 Owls 1

Reading v Sheffield Wednesday

Reading v Sheffield Wednesday

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A second half double by Reading's Roy Beerens condemned Sheffield Wednesday to a 2-1 loss at the Madejski Stadium today.

Beerens brace came after Lucas Joao wasted a great chance to put the Owls ahead and Steven Fletcher's late header proved nothing more than a consolation.

Defeat ended the Owls' three-match unbeaten run as they paid the price for wayward finishing.

Boss Carlos Carvalhal made one alteration to his starting XI, handing Atdhe Nuhiu his first Championship start of the season, with Fernando Forestieri serving the first of a three-match suspension.

Glenn Loovens, Ross Wallace and Kieran Lee were all passed fit to play but Steven Fletcher was deemed only fit enough for the bench.

Highly-rated youngster George Hirst was selected matchday squad for a league match for the first time and Joe Wildsmith also returned after a 13-match absence.

In the battle of the two Thai-owned Championship clubs, it was the hosts who fashioned the first opportunity, centre-back Liam Moore, recalled after serving a one-match ban, headed over Garath McCleary's corner.

Wednesday were happy to let Reading monopolise possession. The early skirmishes were cagey, with Barry Bannan's left foot curler drifting well wide after the Royals only partially cleared a corner.

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Nuhiu looked like a man with a point to prove, shooting narrowly over the top after being fed by Ross Wallace.

Reading were nearly the architects of their own downfall as Tyler Blackett dithered on the ball deep inside his own half and Wallace came close to cashing in, seeing his 25-yard strike superbly turned away by Ali Al Habsi.

For all their possession, the Royals lacked penetration in the final third.

Carvalhal's side continued to cause problems at the other end as Wallace's inviting cross just evaded Nuhiu in the centre.

It took Reading until the 27th minute to register an effort on target, Paul McShane's downward header from McCleary's free-kick was easily gathered by Keiren Westwood.

Nuhiu was shown the first yellow card of the afternoon following a crunching challenge on George Evans.

There was little urgency or quality to Reading's play.

It was the Owls who kept pressing for the opener and Bannan lifted a free-kick way over after the re-start before Joao missed a glorious chance to open the scoring.

The Portugal international beat the off-side trap, latching on to Sam Hutchinson great through ball but screwed his shot inches off target. It should have been taken and turned out to be a decisive moment.

Joao's miss proved costly as Beerens put Reading in front against the run of play. Evans squared to Beerens, whose attempt took a wicked deflection and flew past Westwood.

Carvalhal opted to freshen up his forward line, throwing on Fletcher at the expense of Nuhiu.

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The goal visibly lifted Reading and Joey Van Den Berg headed straight at Westwood after an inviting free-kick by McCleary before Beerens drilled over after collecting substitute Yann Kermorgant's pass.

It was proving to be a frustrating afternoon for Joao, with the Angolan-born player fluffing his lines again in the 71st minute, flashing a wild shot over after a neat header by Fletcher.

A brilliant block by Moore denied Fletcher a sight at goal as the Owls upped the ante in the closing stages.

But Beerens wrapped up the three points for Reading. The Dutchman grabbed his second of the contest, lashing home after a header by Kermorgant.

There was a heated melee between both sets of players after Wallace brought down Royals top-scorer McCleary. Wallace and McShane were both booked.

Wednesday kept going and Adam Reach skied over before supplying a pin-point cross which Fletcher nodded in via the post.

Carvalhal's charge threw everything at Reading in added on time and Al Habsi tipped Fletcher's low drive behind. The visitors even sent goalkeeper Westwood forward to no avail and substitute Joseph Mendes should have bagged a third at the other end.

Reading; Al-Habsi; Gunter, McShane, L Moore, Blackett, Obita; Van den Berg (Kelly 82), Evans, Beerens; McCleary (Mendes 89), Samuel (Kermorgant 63). Substitutes: S Moore, Cooper, Meite, Watson.

Owls: Westwood; Hunt, Lees, Loovens, Reach; Wallace, Hutchinson (Hirst 77), Lee, Bannan; Joao, Nuhiu (Fletcher 60). Substitutes: Wildsmith, Palmer, Semedo, Pudil, Sasso.

Attendance: 18,153 (2,296)

Referee: Tony Harrington (Cleveland)

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