The Wokingham Paper

Reading 1-0 Wycombe Wanderers: Lucas Joao strikes again to put Royals top of the Championship

Lucas Joao scored a sublime goal to put the Royals top of the Championship table as they extended their unbeaten start to six matches with a win over Wycombe Wanderers.

Wycombe had the better of the first half but were punished in the 64th minute as Joao bagged his third league goal of the season.

Reading came into the game boasting an unbeaten start to the season with their first dropped points of the season coming with a goalless draw at Middlesbrough on Saturday.

Veljko Paunovic named an unchanged eleven from the side that earned a point at the Riverside on the weekend.

Wycombe manager Gareth Ainsworth, who has been in charge of the Chairboys for eight years, is a prominent figure in football in Berkshire having made appearances for Hellenic Division One East side Woodley United.

However, Ainsworth and Wycombe are still searching for their first point in the division since winning promotion via the play-offs last season.

Despite the team’s contrasting positions in the league table, it was Wycombe who enjoyed the better of the first half.

Omar Richards- Reading v Wycombe Wanderers Pictures: Steve Smyth

They had the first shot at goal when Jack Grimmer’s cross found it’s way to Alex Samuel who could only manage a tame shot which was held comfortably by Rafael as he scuffed his contact on the volley.

The Chairboys got forward once again but wasted an opportunity to test the Royals keeper when Matt Bloomfield’s shot rolled harmlessly wide from 20 yards.

Reading’s brightest moments came from the left wing with the link up of Omar Richards and Ovie Ejaira and the Royals wanted a penalty when the latter went down under the challenge of Grimmer, but the optimistic appeals were waved away.

Ovie Ejaria falls down in the box

Wycombe continued to look the more dangerous of the two sides despite their wayward start to the season as Tom Holmes was alert to head away from danger after a couple of dangerous deliveries.

Lucas Joao picked up the first yellow card of the game when he lunged to get the ball but instead caught Bloomfield.

Despite their lack of creativity throughout the first-half, Reading did create the best chance of the game moments before the break which was squandered by Yakou Meite.

Liam Moore wins a header

Ejaria found the run of the Ivorian with a superb inswinging delivery but Meite somehow managed to divert the ball wide of the target from just a few yards out when he should have given the Royals what would have been a slightly undeserved lead.

But his missed chance meant that Ainsworth’s side went in the happier with their performance with their organised structure and constant pressing frustrating Paunovic’s men.

Lucas Joao picks up a yellow card

Meite drove down the right wing and blasted a cross into the Wycombe box which was palmed out by Ryan Allsop as the Royals pushed forward early in the second half.

Paunovic made a double switch in the 57th minute as new signings Tomas Esteves and Alfa Semedo replaced Meite and Holmes to try and inject some much needed intensity into the game.

Lucas Joao continued his excellent start to the season as the Royals found a breakthrough in the 64th minute. The Portuguese forward brought down the ball effortlessly from Liam Moore’s long ball before he spun and powered a shot low past Allsop.

Ainsworth turned to the bench to look for an equaliser as Adebayo Akinfenwa replaced Samuel.

Wanderers dug in to try and find a leveller as they swung the ball into the box on several occasions in the final 10 minutes, with their best chance falling to Fred Oneydinma who failed to hit the target just inside the box.

Oneydinma then had another great opportunity as the game entered added time and forced an impressive stop from Rafael who flew to his right to keep the ball out.

but Reading’s much improved defence under Paunovic who have conceded just one league goal, held strong to claim another clean sheet.

Reading take a three point lead at the summit of the Championship after Bristol City’s unbeaten start was ended by Middlesbrough.

Reading: Rafael, Richards, Morrison, Moore (c), Holmes, Rinomhota, Laurent, Ejaria, Olise, Joao, Meite.
Subs: Southwood, Esteves, McIntyre, Gibson, Semedo, Aluko, Puscas

Wycombe Wanderers: Allsop, Grimmer, Jacobson, Stewart, Bloomfield, Kashket, Knight, Horgan, Thompson, Adeniran, Samuel.
Subs: Stockdale, Wheeler, Akinfenwa, Charles, Freeman, Onyedinma, Mehmwti

Goals: Lucas Joao 64′

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