Reading 2-1 Brentford: Royals boost survival hopes
Reading move four points clear of the relegation zone after crucial win
Last Updated: 13/04/19 6:58pm
Reading eased their Championship relegation fears with a tense 2-1 victory over Brentford at Madejski Stadium.
Two goals from Reading's leading marksman Yakou Meite gave the home side a healthy cushion early in the first half.
Top scorer Neal Maupay gave Brentford a chance on the stroke of half-time, but Reading could have added to their tally in the second half, only to squander a series of good chances.
Reading had enjoyed a decent run, collecting four wins and six draws from their previous 13 matches.
They drew 2-2 at leaders Norwich on Wednesday night thanks to a dramatic injury-time equaliser from Andy Rinomhota.
Mid-table Brentford ended a sequence of five games without a victory when defeating bottom club Ipswich 2-0 at home on Wednesday.
Reading began impressively, with a long pass from Ovie Ejaria almost picking out the fleet-footed Meite.
But Brentford defender Mads Bech Sorensen did well to intercept with a timely headed clearance away from the danger area.
Dominant Reading then struck twice in seven minutes, both from clinical Meite finishes.
First, in the eighth minute, he latched on to a superb through ball from Mo Barrow to calmly beat keeper Luke Daniels.
Barrow should have increased the lead soon after, but somehow missed Nelson Oliveira's pinpoint cross from only a few yards out.
Brentford failed to learn from their defensive lapses and were punished again in the 15th minute.
Lewis Baker curled over a free-kick from the right flank and Meite guided in a glancing header at the near post for his 12th goal of the campaign.
Brentford responded positively, with an abundance of neat approach work.
But they lacked an effective end product - until Maupay pounced on the stroke of half-time with his 26th goal of the season.
Home goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez fumbled a long-range free-kick attempt from Said Benrahma and the prolific Maupay nodded in the rebound.
Reading almost restored their two-goal advantage early in the second period.
Baker tried an audacious attempt from a free-kick, from all of 45 yards, but Daniels just managed to retreat in time to tip it over the crossbar.
Meite could have completed his hat-trick after ghosting beyond the Brentford defence to meet an Andy Yiadom cross.
But his firm header, with Daniels stranded, cleared the bar.
From an almost identical Yiadom centre soon after, Oliveira volleyed over when it appeared easier to score.
Brentford were restricted to swift counter-attacks but were nearly caught out again at the back when Ejaria was allowed space 20 yards out.
However, his poor effort failed to trouble Daniels.
Brentford did launch a late rally but Martinez atoned for his earlier error with smart saves to keep out Sergi Canos and a deflected Sorensen header.
Jose Gomes: "It was a very important three points for us. I think we could've finished the game in the first half, the way that my players used their speed in behind the Brentford defensive line.
"We missed some [goalscoring] situations but we deserved these three points, even at the end of the game, when everyone was a bit nervous with all the Brentford corners and free-kicks. But that's the Championship and, in those moments, we must protect ourselves and defend properly. My players were really brave to do it."
Thomas Frank: "The positives are that we were better in the second half. We had more intensity, we forced Reading back and also created more opportunities for ourselves.
"We showed great willpower to do everything that we could to get back into the game. But on the day we lacked the quality to create enough clear-cut chances."