Reading 0-1 Brentford: Lasse Vibe boosts Bees play-off hopes
Last Updated: 20/01/18 7:06pm
Brentford strengthened their push for the Sky Bet Championship play-offs with a scrappy 1-0 victory at lowly Reading.
Florian Jozefzoon saw a goalbound effort cleared off the line by Tyler Blackett in the second half before Lasse Vibe snatched the winner in the 74th minute.
Reading created only limited openings but Liam Kelly's well-flighted free-kick struck the Brentford crossbar midway through the second period.
A solid run of four wins in their five previous matches had seen Brentford move to within three points of the play-off places. They defeated Bolton 2-0 at Griffin Park last Saturday.
Reading's poor form had seen them slide towards the relegation zone. They halted a winless run of eight matches in all competitions with a 3-0 victory over Stevenage in an FA Cup third-round replay at Madejski Stadium on Tuesday.
Iceland striker Jon Dadi Bodvarsson scored a hat-trick against the League Two outfit and was rewarded with a rare Championship start.
It was Reading who made the early running, with Brentford content to sit back and soak up the pressure. A dangerous free-kick from Kelly was cleared by the Brentford defence, then Bodvarsson had a fierce shot blocked.
But when Brentford broke quickly, it was often effectively. Vibe had the game's first chance in the eighth minute, producing a fine save from Reading goalkeeper Vito Mannone. From the follow-up, Ollie Watkins' well-struck effort was charged down by the home defence.
Reading replied when full-back Chris Gunter escaped on the right flank and crossed low into the middle. Kelly could not make up his mind whether to control the ball or shoot first time and in the end did neither, with the opportunity going begging.
Brentford responded with a fine 20-yard free kick from Yoann Barbet, which Mannone just managed to tip over the bar. From another free-kick from slightly further out, Jozefzoon sent his attempt just wide of Mannone's right-hand post.
Three minutes into the second half, Brentford should have gone in front. Jozefzoon found himself with plenty of space in the Reading area but his shot was hacked off the line by half-time substitute Blackett.
Reading gradually improved and Bodvarsson went close with an attempt from a Gunter cross. Kelly went even closer in the 64th minute, when his 20-yard free-kick clipped the top of the bar with Brentford goalkeeper Daniel Bentley well beaten.
But after Mo Barrow wasted a good opening for the hosts, Brentford went straight down the other end to grab the winner 16 minutes from the end.
Reading had several chances to clear the threat but instead allowed Vibe to crash home from just inside the area.
Jaap Stam: "What went wrong? You can see in the decision-making and the accuracy in passing, at times, was just not good enough. Sometimes, in winning the second ball and anticipating situations, we can do better.
"And when you get a moment when you can score, you need to take that opportunity and put it in the net. When it doesn't happen, in the second half, they then come out and score. And then we have to get back into it."
Dean Smith: "Lasse had a really good pre-season but then got injured early on in the campaign. But he's just starting to come back now and looking like the goal threat that he's always been. He's a clever player. He takes shots early, when goalkeepers and defenders don't expect it, and he makes great runs as well. At times, he's very selfless.
"It was always going to be a tough place to come here but I'm really pleased. We asked a lot of our front three, in particular, to press Reading a little bit higher. The demands on them physically were up there but they didn't shirk it. And I thought that, on the balance of chances, we deserved to win."