Wokingham Today

… But Villans bring Reading back to earth with a bump

Aston Villa 3 Reading 0


LIAM MOORE says a red card for Dave Edwards “changed everything” as Reading suffered a second-half collapse at Villa Park.

Royals were holding firm for the first half an hour before Edwards received his second yellow card for a sliding challenge on Birkir Bjarnason.

And Aston Villa took advantage just seconds after the restart when Bjarnason curled home a fantastic opner.

Conor Hourihane headed in a second goal on 63 minutes before Scott Hogan dispossess­ed goalkeeper Vito Mannone before rolling into the net to seal a 3-0 win.

“I thought we started the game pretty solidly,” said Moore.

“They were on top, but we defended well.

“The sending off changed everything though and even though we got through to half-time we knew it was going to be difficult.

“We wanted to get 10 or 15 minutes into the second half to frustrate them, but when they score such a good goal it swings the momentum.

“It’s a big pitch and a long time to get back in the game, but with 10 men it’s very difficult.

“We dealt with them pretty well in the first half. We’re defending our box in a different way and I feel like it’s working.

“But the spaces are big with 10 men and it’s very difficult.

“The pressure told and we came away with nothing.”

Paul Clement made three changes from Friday’s win over Queens Park Rangers with Leandro Bacuna, George Evans and Sam Smith starting ahead of Joey van den Berg, John Swift and Chris Martin, who all dropped to the bench.

That victory against QPR came after some backs-to-the-wall defending and there was more of the same from the off against promotion-chasing Villa.

Jack Grealish volleyed over the bar before Bjarnason headed off target as Reading looked shaky in defence.

And their task grew when Edwards carelessly slid in on the halfway line and tripped Bjarnason, leaving Reading down to 10 men for the second game in succession.

Hogan looked set to break the deadlock with a downward header, but it was brilliantl­y saved by Mannone.

Clement made a shift at halftime, replacing Smith with Pelle Clement, but Reading immediatel­y found themselves behind when Bjarnason curled a fantastic effort into the top corner from 20 yards in the first minute of the second period.

Royals failed to register a shot on target all evening and fell 2-0 behind when Robert Snodgrass’ cross was headed in by Hourihane.

And the game was done when Hogan tackled Mannone and slotted the ball past Liam Moore, trying to spare his goalkeeper’s blushes on the line.

Defeat keeps Reading five points clear of the relegation zone in 19th place with a home clash against Preston North End on Saturday (3pm) before a trip to in-form Fulham on Tuesday (7.45pm).

“We know exactly what went wrong against Villa,” said Moore.

“The red card is the most obvious thing but there’s other things that we could have done better.

“Preston is going to come around quickly, so we have to put this game to the side, pick ourselves up and go again on Saturday.”

READING: Mannone, Gunter (c), Ilori, Moore, Blackett, Bacuna, Evans (Kelly 65), Edwards, Aluko (Martin 73), Barrow, Smith (Clement 45).

Subs not used: Jaakkola, Holmes, van den Berg, Swift.

Yellow cards: Edwards x2 (17,30)

Red card: Edwards (30)

ASTON VILLA: Johnstone, Elmohamady, Chester, Terry (c), Taylor, Bjarnason, Snodgrass (Onomah 67), Hourihane, Grealish (Whelan 75), Adomah (Kodjia

66), Hogan.

Subs not used: Bunn, Jedinak, Lansbury, Grabban.

Goals: Bjarnason (46), Hourihane (63), Hogan (70)

Referee: Darren Bond

Attendance: 29,223

 ??  ?? Paul Clement with new assistants Nigel Gibbs and Karl Halabi
Paul Clement with new assistants Nigel Gibbs and Karl Halabi

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