Reading 3-0 Luton: Royals revival continues under Mark Bown
Report and highlights from the Sky Bet Championship clash at the Madejski Stadium
Last Updated: 09/11/19 7:28pm
Reading extended their unbeaten Championship run under new manager Mark Bowen to four matches with a 3-0 home win over Luton.
Defender Michael Morrison gave Reading a 22nd-minute lead when nodding in from a corner.
On the half-hour, midfielder Ovie Ejaria made it 2-0 with an angled drive from outside the area.
Against a poor Luton side, Reading added a third goal 11 minutes from time when substitute Garath McCleary coolly slotted home.
Bowen replaced Jose Gomes last month and had led his side to two victories and a draw in his opening matches in charge.
Luton, the League One champions last season, had lost their previous three league games and six of their past nine.
It was their first meeting with Reading since August 2008, when the hosts won 5-1 in a League Cup second-round tie at the Madejski Stadium.
Luton began brightly with Callum McManaman crossing into the home area only for goalkeeper Rafael to gather comfortably.
Reading counter-attacked quickly, Luke Bolton having to make a fine saving tackle as Omar Richards threatened to break through the Luton cover.
As the game see-sawed in the steady rain, Luton captain Martin Cranie found himself free at the back post from a Jacob Butterfield corner.
Although Cranie struck his shot powerfully, Rafael made a fine save.
Luton had another chance soon after from a well-flighted Harry Cornick centre from the right but James Collins misdirected his header and failed to trouble Rafael.
Reading replied with a mazy run from Richards, whose eventual 20-yard effort produced a superb save from keeper James Shea.
However, from the resultant corner, Reading went ahead as John Swift slung over the set-piece and centre back Morrison rose alone to beat Shea with a firm header.
Eight minutes later, Reading increased their advantage.
A fast break out of defence along the left flank saw Swift release Liverpool loanee Ejaria, who cut in and curled a precise shot past Shea.
Sam Baldock had a chance to stretch the lead further before half-time but Shea made a fine stop from his accurate attempt.
Luton offered little going forward and were pressed back again after the interval.
A poor defensive clearance found the unmarked Swift but he lost his composure and blazed high over the crossbar.
Reading continued to push forward, with Luton still unable to make much headway in attack.
The home side resumed control when Richards once again found space on the left wing.
His excellent cross was met by George Puscas at the far post but Shea made a superb save to keep out the Romanian's close-range header.
McCleary sealed it for Reading in the 79th minute when seizing on an error by Alan Sheehan before running through to calmly beat Shea.
What the managers said...
Reading's Mark Bowen: "Before the game started, I was banging the drum. It was all about 'I don't care how we win the game, just get three points on the board'. Now I'm sitting here really full of pride for the manner in which we won the game. People might say that Luton weren't great but I'm a great believer that they're as good as you let them be. Simple as that.
"We married the two sides of the game exactly right - when you haven't got the ball and when you have got the ball. I know with
Luton's Graeme Jones: "Some players don't need any psychological help. Sports psychology is what we're talking about here. I've worked at every level and, without revealing names, we've used sports psychologists through the years. Some people can repair themselves, some people need help. And we're at a point now where maybe we're going to have to think about going down that route.
"It's an area that I understand, it's an area that I will be looking at deeply. It's a reality of the mental step in the Championship, which I keep speaking about. As a group, that's an area that we have not overcome yet. I'll assess the boys when I speak to them and we'll take it from there."