Reading 2-1 Gillingham: Joao and Rinomhota on target as Royals start pre-season with victory

Reading opened their pre-season with a win over League One Gillingham after a quickfire double from Lucas Joao and Andy Rinomhota.

Joao nodded home from John Swift’s corner with a simple header before Rinomhota went on a blistering solo run to double the lead just moments later, while Akinde scored from the spot for the Gills after 50 minutes.

After a quick turnaround from last seasons unorthodox finish to the campaign, the sides played three 30 minute halves.

The Royals started with most of the possession in the early exchanges of the game and had their first attempt at goal when Joao tried an optimistic lobbed effort from 25 yards out which flew high over the bar.

Gillingham then had their first shot at goal after Liam Moore committed a foul 30 yards from goal. Jacob Mellis took aim from distance with a low effort as he tried to find the far corner bur got his execution wrong as the ball flew harmlessly wide.

Reading took the lead after 21 minutes when Lucas Joao nodded in from John Swift’s inswinging corner. Gillingham’s keeper tried to collect the ball but got nowhere near as Joao headed into the unguarded net.

Just moments after the first goal Reading had a second. Andy Rinomhota snatched possession from the Gills on the halfway line and burst through the centre of the defence on a solo mission all the way into the box as he held off a defender to tuck the ball into the bottom corner.

George Puscas replaced goalscorer Joao just after the 45 minute mark and looked bright as he burst forward with a strong run which saw him nutmeg a defender before finding Olise with a cut back, but the young midfielder’s shot was blocked.

Gillingham found themselves back in the contest after 51 minutes when Felipe Araruna’s challenge on John Akinde was deemed to be a foul and the Gills were awarded a penalty.

Akinde took the resulting spot kick and sent Rafael the wrong way as he powerfully dispatched from 12 yards.

Reading continued to look the more likely to get a fourth goal of the day as Liam Moore got forward on the right and whipped in a dangerous cross which was palmed away by the keeper and was fortunate not to fall to a Reading shirt.

There were plenty of changes in the final half an hour as Marc McNulty, Yakou Meite, Samuels, Southwood, Holmes and Holsgrove all got amongst the action.

Having completed their first action of pre-season ahead of the 2020/21 Championship season, the Royals play Premier League opposition Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United in the coming weeks.

Yakou Meite found his strike partner on the wing as he slipped a ball behind the Gills defence, but the Romanian flashed a wild shot high and wide from a difficult angle.

The Gillingham goalkeeper had to stay alert to keep out a fierce volley from Sam Baldock who latched onto Jordan Holsgrove’s delivery as the forward watched the ball come over his shoulder and connected sweetly.

With 80 minutes played, Gillingham came close to finding an unlikely equaliser as Luke Southwood flew to his left to keep out a curling effort from the Gills left-back who found space to get a shot away on the edge of the box.

McNulty then found Puscas with a defence splitting through ball but the Romanian striker couldn’t take advantage as he was squandered by the Gills defence before he did well to hold up the ball but lost possession after having a lack of support.

Reading then host Colchester United in the Carabao Cup on Saturday, September 5 before the Championship season kicks off a week later with a trip to Derby County.

Reading: Rafael, Yiadom, Morrison, Moore, McIntyre, Richards, Laurent, Rinomhota, Swift, Olise, Joao.

Subs: Southwood, Holmes, Samuels, Araruna, Holsgrove, Tetek, Baldock, Aluko, McNulty, Meite, Puscas.

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