Clarke is looking up the table
READING boss Steve Clarke insists there will be no complacency from the Royals despite inching further away from trouble with this fine win at play-off chasers Wolves.
Pavel Pogrebnyak put Reading in front inside 20 seconds and although Benik Afobe levelled for Wolves, Danny Williams’ classy winner gave the visitors a deserved victory.
It continued Clarke’s fine start to life in the Royals’ hotseat but he is not taking safety for granted just yet.
“This time last week we were looking over our shoulders at the teams below us,” said Clarke.
“Now the gap is ten points but there is no room for complacency – we want to make that gap as big as we can, keep the foot down and trying to get as many points as we can.
“Slowly, we’re trying to build something here. The first thing was to stabilise and make us harder to beat. I think our recent record tells you we’ve managed to do that.
“We had a great start today but Wolves responded well, pegged us back in the first half and showed why they are where they are in the league.
“We defended well, as we have been doing, but now we are starting to look a threat going the other way and we have good pace and power in the team.”
Reading took just 19 seconds to go ahead, Simon Cox pouncing on Kortney Hause’s poor header to loft a ball into Pogrebnyak, who steered a volley past debutant keeper Tomasz Kuszczak.
Wolves responded well and, after a combination of Royals’ keeper Adam Federici and Nathaniel Chalobah kept out Bakary Sako’s header, Afobe levelled by glancing home Rajiv van La Parra’s cross.
Rather than seize the initiative, however, Wolves faded after the break as Reading’s excellent full-backs Jordan Obita and Stephen Kelly won their battles with Sako and van La Parra.
Reading assumed control as Cox forced Kuszczak into a smart save low down while Michael Hector headed a big chance wide from a corner six yards out, admittedly under pressure.
Substitute Oliver Norwood’s 25-yard free-kick was pawed over by Kuszczak but Reading finally won it 20 minutes from time as Danny Williams measured a 20-yard beauty in off the post.
Defeat saw Wolves slip five points behind the top six but boss Kenny Jackett remains adamant a play-off place is achievable.
Jackett said: “Five points is nothing as there are 17 games to go.We need to be better than we were today - particularly in that second period - to close that gap but five points can be made up.
“It was well set-up at 1-1 at halftime shooting towards your own fans, you are looking for a big second half but we didn’t do enough to really lift our crowd.
“We were nullified by Reading and, on the break, they had more shots in the second period than we did and looked more like scoring.
“We had more of the ball and the territorial play but we did look vulnerable on the break. They had pace and movement and, ultimately, in that second period, I felt they deserved the win.
“We couldn’t quite get Sako on the ball enough and to be fair to them, their full-backs defended very well and made it tough for us to go past people.”
PRECISION: Reading’s Danny Williams sidefoots home to score their second goal
for Wolves LEAP: Benik Afobe scores