The Wokingham Paper

Luton Town 0-5 Reading: Meite masterclass eases relegation fears

Reading v Birmingham City Reading's first goal. Yakou Meite, George Puscas
Reading v Birmingham City Reading's first goal. Yakou Meite, George Puscas

Yakou Meite struck four times including a remarkable first half hat-trick to take Reading close to safety with a comfortable win over relegation threatened Luton Town.

Meite opened the scoring in the 17th minute and added a second just a minute later. He then wrapped up his treble 10 minutes before half-time to put the Royals into a three goal lead.

Puscas added a fourth with his head in the second half before Meite added a fourth to his tally to wrap up a superb Royals victory.

Mark Bowen switched up his side after Reading’s 3-0 defeat to Brentford, with Tom McIntyre, Gabe Osho andTyler Blackett coming into the side, meaning no place in the starting line-up for captain Liam Moore.

It took the Royals five minutes to have their first venture forward when captain for the day, John Swift, played a neat one-two with Ovie Ejaria but Luton defended well against the dangerous midfielder.

Just a few moments later the Royals should have been ahead. Blackett burst down the left and played a low cross into the box which fell invitingly for Yakou Meite just six yards out, but Luton keeper Sluga brilliantly across his goal to make the save to prevent Reading from taking an early lead.

The hosts then came inches away from taking the initiative in the 13th minute. Harry Cornick tricked his way past Blackett on the right wing and swung a ball in which was met by the head of James Collins who crashed a header against the crossbar from a few yards out.

The Hatters then had a penalty appeal turned down, and just a minute later Reading took the lead. Swift and George Puscas linked up before he found Meite who seized his opportunity this time and slotted the ball into the bottom left corner.

Just a minute after opening the scoring, Meite had another to double the visitors lead in the 18th minute. Luton failed to clear from Osho’s cross and cleared the ball straight to Meite who capitalised and slammed the ball past Sluga.

Yakou Meite strikes at goal
Reading v Luton Town

Having found their rhythm in the game, Reading threatened to find a third as a volley from McIntyre took a kind deflection to take it into Sluga’s arms.

With 10 minutes to go until the break, Meite completed his hat-trick. Ejaria slipped the ball through the Luton back line to find Meite wide on the right in the box and the Ivorian opened up his body and curled his finish beyond Sluga into the corner on his left foot to complete a remarkable first-half.

Puscas appealed for a penalty early in the first half when he was tripped off the ball by Pearson as he tried to charge down the goalkeeper, but the referee waved his appeals away.

But Puscas eventually found his reward in the 57th minute when he added a fourth for Bowen’s side. Morrison headed the ball across the box from Blackett’s deep cross and was met at the back post by the Romanian who nodded the ball in from a couple of yards out.

George Puscas. Reading v Barnsley
Reading v Barnsley Reading’s second goal George Puscas. Reading v Barnsley

Bowen’s first change of the afternoon saw Ayub Masika replace Pele on the hour mark.

Meite added a fourth just after the hour mark to continue his spectacular afternoon as he broke through the middle and cooly finished past Sluga to make it five.

Bowen made two more subs with Garath McCleary and Michael Olise replacing Ejaria and Meite.

The final two changes saw Sam Baldock and Omar Richards replace Swift and Puscas.

Dan Potts had a late chance to get a consolation goal for Luton but was denied by the feet of Rafael.

Reading then came close to adding a sixth when Olise’s deep cross was met by McIntyre and spilled by the keeper, who just managed to grab the ball before Blackett pounced.

The Royals look to build on their first win since the restart with a home fixture against another relegation threatened side in Huddersfield Town on Tuesday evening.

Reading: Rafael, Osho, McIntyre, Morrison, Blackett, Rinomhota, Swift, Ejaria, Pele, Meite, Puscas.
Subs: Walker, Gunter, Moore, Baldock, McCleary, Boye, Olise, Masika, Richards

Luton Town: Sluga, Carter-Vickers, Bradley, Pearson, Potts, Ruddock, Tunnicliffe, Brown, Cornick, Lee, Collins.
Subs: Cranie, Mcmanaman, Berry, Hylto, Shinnie, Moncur, Butterfield, Shea, Bree.

Goals: Meite 17′, 18′, 36′, 62′, Puscas 57′

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