J Chester (14)
J Mendes (6, 46),L Grabban (79 pen)
A Villa vs Reading
Sky Bet Ch'ship
3:00pm Saturday 15th April
ASTON VILLA 1-3 READING
FT: The referee blows the final whistle and Reading secure their first ever victory over Aston Villa at Villa Park.
The visitors flew out of the traps and took the lead when Joseph Mendes fired past Sam Johnstone shortly before James Chester levelled the scores with a close-range header.
Mendes grabbed his second of the game immediately after the interval before Lewis Grabban wrapped up the points with a calm penalty after Liam Kelly was brought down in the area.
Reading overtake Leeds into fourth in the Championship and are now six points clear of seventh place Fulham with only four games remaining in the regular season.
Highlights coming up shortly.
90+2: Villa make a hash of the free-kick but eventually recycle it out wide to Bacuna on the left-hand side. He swings in a cross which Adomah manages to head towards goal but Al-Habsi comes out to claim the ball under pressure from Kodjia.
Grealish then fires a shot well wide of the goal as the home side look to find a late consolation.
90: Aston Villa win a promising free-kick on the edge of the box. Can they set up a thrilling finish? There will four minutes of added time.
86: YELLOW! Swift is booked after bringing down Hutton in midfield as the Scotland international looked to break inside.
SUB! Jaap Stam makes his final substitution - George Evans coming on for Liam Kelly.
88: CHANCE! Villa almost find a late consolation but Chester is only able to direct a header narrowly wide of Al-Habsi's left-hand post.
ASTON VILLA 1-3 READING
84: The home fans are starting to stream out of the ground now - Villa look like a beaten team.
Reading appeal for another penalty when a bouncing ball hits Chester's hand in the area but the referee is having none of it.
GOAL! ASTON VILLA 1-3 READING (Grabban, 79)
Bacuna pulls down Kelly in the box just as the Reading midfielder was about to shoot and Reading are awarded a certain penalty.
Grabban steps up and calmly converts by sending Johnstone the wrong way.
Reading have never beaten Villa away from home. Could that record finally be coming to an end?
ASTON VILLA 1-2 READING
76: PENALTY TO READING!
ASTON VILLA 1-2 READING
75: CHANCE! Kodjia shows great strength to hold his man off in the box and work a yard of space. He goes for goal but his shot is deflected behind for a corner, which eventually comes to nothing.
74: SUB! Jack Grealish comes on for Nathan Baker as Steve Bruce goes in search of a late equaliser.
73: Swift shows great feet to beat his man in the area but eventually tries to do too much and is crowded out by the Villa defence.
He is afforded another chance on the edge of the box shortly afterwards and wastes no time in firing a shot towards goal which is well blocked by Chester.
68: CHANCE! Aston Villa should be level and it's that man Hogan who missed the chance just moments after coming on.
Jedinak reaches the byline and cuts the ball back to the former Brentford striker but he gets under his shot and spoons it well over Al-Habsi's bar. Time running out for the hosts to find an equaliser...
69: SUB! Double goalscorer Mendes leaves the field to be replaced by Kermorgant.
63: YELLOW! Obita goes into the referee's book after hacking down Hourihane when Villa threatened to break with pace. The ball comes into the box but Reading somehow clear for a corner.
64: NO PENALTY! The resulting set-piece ricochets around the box before appearing to strike a Reading defender's hand. However, referee Scott Duncan waves away the appeals. You've seen those given..
62: SUB! Jaap Stam follows suit and introduces McCleary in place of Popa.
60: SUB! Steve Bruce makes his first change of the game as Hogan comes on for Amavi, who has not had as much success in the second half as he did the first.
59: CHANCE! Real end to end stuff as Kodjia goes close for Villa. Lansbury picks up the ball on the left wing and plays an inviting ball right across the face of goal.
However, Kodjia can't make a proper connection at the back post and is only able to stab a weak effort towards goal which Al-Habsi saves comfortably.
57: SAVE! Reading are in the ascendancy now and almost add a third. Williams plays a lovely dinked ball over the top to the onrushing Grabban.
His control takes the ball away from Johnstone and towards Mendes, who fires a shot towards goal. However, Johnstone recovers well to palm to ball out for a corner, which eventually comes to nothing.
55: CHANCE! Chester almost grabs his second of the game! The central defender gets up well to meet Hourihane's delivery but can only direct his header over the bar when well placed eight yards out.
GOAL! ASTON VILLA 1-2 READING (Mendes, 46)
What a start to the second half for the visitors! Steve Bruce will be furious with his side - they've been caught cold straight from kick-off.
Grabban picks up possession on the right-hand side and somehow finds himself in acres of space as Villa's defenders back off.
He is able to roll a simple ball across the face of goal to Mendes, who makes no mistake from five yards out to fire past Johnstone.
ASTON VILLA 1-1 READING
45: Hourihane gets us back underway at Villa Park..
SKY BET'S ODDS
Aston Villa are Sky Bet's 6/5 favourites to win this match. Reading can be backed at 7/2 for the victory and the draw is on offer at 13/8.
Sky Bet's Aston Villa v Reading odds...
HT: Referee Scott Duncan is forced to split up the two sets off players following an altercation on the half-way line. He then blows his whistle to bring the first period to a close.
Joseph Mendes fired the visitors in front after just six minutes before James Chester equalised for the hosts with a close-range header.
Both sides have had chances to add to the score - Mendes particularly guilty of wastefulness up front. It's been a really open game so far - let's hope for more of the same in the second half.
44: CHANCE! Amavi has played well in this first-half but he almost gifts Reading a second goal just minutes before the interval.
Swift curls a speculative ball into the box which the Villa defender looks to see out for a goal-kick.
He inadvertently makes contact with the ball and is forced into a feeble clearance which falls at the feet of the onrushing Popa eight yards out.
However, the Reading man can only direct his first-time shot straight into the arms of Johnstone.
42: Bacuna leaves Popa for dead on the right with superb Cruyff turn which has the crowd on their feet.
He plays the ball down the wing for Kodjia, who wins a free-kick just outside the box following a challenge from Moore.
Lansbury curls in the set-piece but Reading clear their lines with Hutton ready to pounce inside the six-yard box.
39: Reading work the ball well down the left-hand side through Kelly and Grabban, who eventually wins a corner off goalscorer Chester.
The resulting set-piece is fired towards the near post but Hutton is able to glance the ball out for a throw on the opposing side of the field.
37: Reading were 4-0 down at this point against Norwich last time out. There's no repeat of that horror show today but their defence certainly looks bereft of confidence - particularly when playing out from the back.
Gunter is forced into yet another long clearance but Grabban does well to win a throw-in under pressure from Amavi.
34: Villa are enjoying real success down the flanks - Reading's defence can't seem to cope with the home side's pacey duo of Bacuna and Adomah.
The latter beats his man on the right and plays a dangerous looping cross towards the back post which is just inches away from finding Kodjia.
29: Bacuna picks the ball up in his own half and drives at the Reading defence before switching it out to the right flank. Adomah then works it back inside Hourihane, who lines up a shot from 25 yards out.
It's a good effort but Al-Habsi is able to watch the ball fly narrowly over his bar.
30: CHANCE! Reading head straight down the other end and waste a golden opportunity to retake the lead.
Grabban finds himself free on the right. He picks his head up and plays the perfect ball across the box to an unmarked Mendes.
The Frenchman opens his body up to curl the ball past Johnstone but he gets it all wrong and spoons it over the bar. What a chance!
25: SAVE! Reading work the corner to the edge of the Villa box where Swift is waiting to fire a low drive towards Johnstone's goal.
The Manchester United goalkeeper gets down low to his right to palm the ball to safety. Better from the visitors.
24: Reading enjoy a rare spell of possession inside Villa's half but Popa is well marshalled by Amavi, who has had real joy down the left-hand side.
The Royals lump a hopeful ball into the box and Chester is forced to clear behind for a corner.
20: The home side are dominating possession now and launch another attack down the left. Reading captain Gunter hoofs the ball into the stands to buy his team-mates a bit of respite.
15: YELLOW! Reading look a bit shell-shocked after that equaliser and Williams goes into the referee's book for a clumsy challenge in midfield.
It's worth noting that Villa's goal came from a corner which was won after Al-Habsi made a brilliant save to keep out a deflected effort from Lansbury.
The Omani goalkeeper can count himself unlucky to have conceded so soon afterwards.
GOAL! Aston Villa 1-1 Reading (Chester, 13)
Villa have looked dangerous since that early goal and deservedly draw themselves level from a corner on the right.
Chester gets above his man at the back post to direct Hourihane's deep delivery past a helpless Al-Habsi. Game on!
ASTON VILLA 0-1 READING
11: Reading put the ball into the net for a second time but it won't count as the linesman had already ruled that the ball had crossed the line for a goal-kick.
Villa are stroking the ball about well in midfield - there's plenty of space for the likes of Hourihane and Lansbury - but a speculative long ball brings the hosts' latest attack to a premature end.
ASTON VILLA 0-1 READING
9: Villa have responded well to going a goal behind and almost found an immediate equaliser - Kodjia firing a shot straight into the grateful arms of Al-Habsi from inside the area.
Adomah then whips a dangerous ball into the box but Kodjia can only direct his snap shot wide of the mark under pressure from Blackett.
GOAL! ASTON VILLA 0-1 READING (Mendes, 6)
It's been all Aston Villa so far but Reading take the lead against the run of play.
Mendes picks the ball up in midfield and is afforded too much space by Chester as he strides into the box.
The French striker drives a low shot towards goal which Johnstone can't get a hand to and it nestles in the bottom right-hand corner.
What a start from the visitors!
ASTON VILLA 0-0 READING
2: Villa get on the front foot immediately through Amavi, who almost gets in behind the Reading defence but can't quite keep the ball in play. Al-Habsi then fails to clear his lines and is almost punished when Bacuna's speculative shot sails dangerously close to his goal. Good stuff from the hosts.
1: Scott Duncan blows his whistle are we're underway at Villa Park!
THREE MINUTES TO GO
The players are out in the pitch and we're now just three minutes away from kick-off. It's not quite a full house at Villa Park which is perhaps understandable given the club's mid-table position.
However, the fans that have turned out today are making some noise ahead of kick-off. Can Steve Bruce's side extend their winning run at home or will Reading bounce back from their heavy defeat to Norwich?
READING TEAM NEWS
Starting XI: Al-Habsi, Gunter, Moore, Blackett, Obita, Swift, Williams, Kelly, Popa, Mendes, Grabban.
Subs: Jaakkola, Evans, McCleary, Kermorgant, Meite, Ilori, Mutch.
ASTON VILLA TEAM NEWS
Starting XI: Johnstone, Hutton, Chester, Baker, Amavi, Jedinak, Lansbury, Bacuna, Hourihane, Adoma, Kodjia.
Subs: Sarkic, Richards, Elphick, Hogan, Bree, Gardner, Grealish.
TEN MINUTE WARNING
The players are back in the changing rooms and we're now just 10 minutes away from kick-off at Villa Park.
Here's a reminder of the two teams...
KICK-OFF COMING UP
BRUCE TARGETS PROMOTION
Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce is "quietly confident" his side can claim promotion from the Sky Bet Championship next season.
Bruce's hopes of leading the West Midlands club to the play-offs this campaign look all but gone, with Villa 11 points off sixth place in the Sky Bet Championship with just five games remaining.
However, the 56-year-old claims his side can be at the forefront of a Premier League push next term and predicts the Villans to mount a strong challenge for promotion.
CLICK HERE to read the full story.
Reading can move a giant step closer to securing a play-off place in they overcome an in-form Villa side this afternoon.
The Royals will overtake fourth-placed Leeds if they avoid defeat at Villa Park but Jaap Stam will no doubt be targeting all three points.
Here's a look at the top half of the table..
You'd like to think we'd see a huge reaction from Reading following their annihilation at Norwich. However, faced with a Villa team who have been Jekyll and Hyde, you can't be too sure.
Steve Bruce has made it clear that next season's target is promotion and nothing less, so finishing the season strongly will only help for the forthcoming campaign. I expect to see a response from Reading, but Villa will be a tough nut to crack.
PRUTTON PREDICTS: 1-1 (Sky Bet's odds: 8/1)
MATCH HIGHLIGHTS: NORWICH 7-1 READING
MATCH HIGHLIGHTS: BURTON 1-1 ASTON VILLA
Aston Villa head into the match on a five-game unbeaten run,
although Steve Bruce’s side were held to a 1-1 draw by Burton Albion last time
Reading are looking to bounce back from their embarrassing 7-1
defeat at the hands of Norwich as they continue their pursuit of play-off spot.
Here’s a look at the form guide for both sides..
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