The Wokingham Paper

Bournemouth 4-2 Reading: Royals let two-goal lead slip as Cherries stage comeback

Reading v Preston North End Match over

Reading were left to rue the chance to end their losing run as they let a two goal lead slip after an impressive second half fightback saw Bournemouth take the points.

The Royals went ahead after just four minutes as Lucas Joao scored from the spot, before Sone Aluko doubled the lead just before half-time.

But Reading endured a disastrous second half as a quickfire double from Dominic Solanke and Arnaut Danjuma levelled up the game before Lewis Cook scored a sublime goal to put Bournemouth ahead.

Solanke then capitalised on a Rafael error to secure the points with a fourth goal late on.

Captain Liam Moore and Ovie Ejaria returned to the starting eleven having missed the three consecutive defeats which saw Reading’s form dip drastically before the international break.

Bournemouth fielded a strong side, featuring several players who played in their Premier League campaign last season despite Josh King missing out after testing positive for Covid-19. 

Recent form may have suggested Reading would come into the game void of confidence, but they showed little signs of that and were awarded a penalty just three minutes into the match.

Alfa Semedo showed superb footwork as he dribbled his way past two defenders into the box from the touchline and knocked the ball past Bournemouth goalkeeper Asmir Begovic who brought down the Reading midfielder.

Lucas Joao stepped up to take responsibility and strolled up to the ball before blasting the ball into the bottom left hand corner despite Begovic diving the correct way to try and make amends for his foul.

Jefferson Lerma then burst into the box, looking to replicate the run of Semedo, but threw himself to the ground as the ref pointed for a goal kick.

Semedo continued his lively start as he constantly got in good forward positions and drove forward and got into the box to meet Omar Richards cross but didn’t make proper contact with his head after he leapt well to win the ball.

Rafael was then tested for the first time as a shot from David Brooks stung the gloves of the Brazilian stopper but was a comfortable enough save at a good height.

Ovie Ejaria provided a creative threat going forward showing his side what they had been missing prior to the international break as he found Sone Aluko, who won a free kick but overhit his delivery to waste the chance.

Despite Bournemouth’s possession, the Royals looked more potent on the break as Joao feigned to shoot before playing the ball to Aluko who was shrugged off the ball by Lloyd Kelly.

The Cherries main threat this season had been from Arnaut Danjuma but the young Royals full-back on loan from Porto, Tomas Esteves, did an immense job to nullify his game in the first half.

And the Royals found their clinical touch just before the break as Aluko scored his first Championship goal in nearly two years.

Ejaria moved forward and breezed past a defender before slipping a perfectly weighted through ball to find the penetrating run of Aluko who planted the ball into the bottom right corner.

Rafael was called into action again in stoppage time of the first-half as he flew to his right to palm away Junior Stanislas’ free kick to preserve the two goal lead.

The Cherries fired back less than 10 minutes into the second half as Kelly drilled an inviting cross into the six yard box which was converted by Dominic Solanke from close range.

And Bournemouth’s momentum saw them grab an equaliser just three minutes after their first goal as Danjuma got the beating of Esteves with a run inside of the defender and squeezed the ball past Rafael at the near post.

Veljko Paunovic made a double change as Tom Holmes and Michael Olise replaced Esteves and Aluko.

Joao worked some space for a shot as the Royals looked to retake the lead but he scuffed his effort straight at Begovic.

A frantic last 25 minutes ensued as both sides searched for a winner.

Olise looked to create for the Royals and had the beating of Danjuma who fouled the Frenchman wide on the right, just outside of the box.

Olise took the resulting free kick but completely wasted the chance to get the ball in the box as his short pass was read and easily intercepted.

Yakou Meite made his return from injury as he took the place of Ejaria in the 74th minute.

And the Cherries’ turnaround was complete in the 77th minute as they continued to heap misery on the Royals in a calamitous second half display as Lewis Cook picked out the top corner from 25 yards with a stunning strike with hit the underside of the bear on its way in.

Reading came inches away from an equaliser in the 84th minute as Joao’s powerful header was clawed off the line from Begovic.

But Reading’s dreadful second half got even worse as Bournemouth sealed the points in the 89th minute.

Rafael made a mess of his clearance as he hit he ball at Solanke, and the striker wrestled possession from the keeper who was left stranded before the Cherries forward converted into the unguarded net.

Reading have now lost four consecutive Championship games as Bournemouth leap frogged them to take their top spot.

Bournemouth: Begovic, Stacey, S Cook, Kelly, Rico, L Cook, Lerma, Stanislas, Brooks, Solanke, Danjuma
Subs: Gosling, Mepham, Surridge, Riquelme, Travers, Ofoborh, Simpson, Kilkenny, Anthony

Reading: Rafael, Esteves, Moore, Morrison, Richards, Rinomhota, Laurent, Semedo, Ejaria, Aluko, Joao
Subs: Olise, Baldock, Meite, Gibson, Southwood, Holmes, Tetek, Watson

Goals: Lucas Joao 4′ (pen), Aluko 43′, Solanke 56′, 89′, Danjuma 59′, Cook 77′

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