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Wigan Athletic 1-3 Reading: George Puscas scores five-minute hat-trick in Royals' win

George Puscas
George Puscas doubled his league goal tally in just five minutes at Reading

George Puscas scored a stunning five-minute hat-trick to help Reading to a dramatic comeback win at Wigan.

The Royals trailed for much of the game after Joe Garner netted from close range despite Reading keeper Rafael Cabral keeping out his initial header from Anthony Pilkington's corner.

Puscas levelled from the penalty spot after Lucas Boye was brought down and, a minute later, drilled the Royals ahead with a fine finish after breaking into the box.

Garath McCleary then won possession high up the field and teed up Puscas to slam in and complete a remarkable hat-trick six minutes from full-time.

Wigan went into the fixture tied with Middlesbrough as the lowest scorers in the Championship with 16 goals, while Reading had struck just 19 times in the league, and for much of this match a single goal looked likely to settle it.

The Royals did well in the first half without threatening home keeper David Marshall, and the Latics almost doubled their lead before half-time when Josh Windass met Garner's fine cross-field ball and volleyed just wide of the left-hand post.

Puscas and McCleary spurned good chances for the Royals either side of the break as the hosts looked more likely to take the points, with Pilkington's deflected shot inches away from making it 2-0.

Reading had just two shots on target until Puscas' intervention, wrapping up only a second away victory of the season and extending Wigan's winless run to seven league matches.

The Latics remain third-bottom, while Reading move five points clear of the relegation places in 18th.

Wigan Athletic manager Paul Cook told BBC Radio Manchester:

"It's certainly some end to the game, it's certainly not the end that we wanted or probably that anyone envisaged was coming.

"To say we're disappointed would be an understatement. It's the brutality of life in this division and again, we're on the receiving end of it today.

"In football, confidence is hard to find. You can be on a bad run like we are and key moments massively hurt you in a game.

"The reality is we're in a relegation fight and wins are hard to find. To get out of it, we have to win games and I believe we're capable of doing that."

Reading manager Mark Bowen told BBC Radio Berkshire:

"I was really angry and frustrated at half-time as I said to the guys, I thought we had ample opportunity to dominate the game.

"I thought our first touch was poor, our passing was sloppy, our creativity wasn't there and maybe that was a result of playing Leeds and Brentford before that.

"I've been asking for that resilience and endeavour, but in the first half hour we forgot how to get on the ball and play.

"But we got more players into wide areas and around the front two to make those chances. But, it was a massive turning point for us and George (Puscas) that that penalty went in.

"You could see in the last 20 minutes how much his confidence grew once he found the back of the net. But the ongoing issue is we've got to get more quality into him."

Line-ups

Wigan

  • 1Marshall
  • 15Sterling
  • 22Dunkley
  • 16MulgrewBooked at 7mins
  • 3Robinson
  • 4MacLeod
  • 5Morsy
  • 7PilkingtonSubstituted forLoweat 65'minutes
  • 10WindassSubstituted forGelhardtat 85'minutes
  • 17JacobsSubstituted forNaismithat 65'minutes
  • 14GarnerBooked at 78mins

Substitutes

  • 9Lowe
  • 11Massey
  • 19Moore
  • 21Kipre
  • 23Jones
  • 33Naismith
  • 38Gelhardt

Reading

  • 33Cabral Barbosa
  • 5Miazga
  • 4MorrisonBooked at 44minsSubstituted forLucas Joãoat 61'minutes
  • 6Moore
  • 17Yiadom
  • 29Tuncará GomesSubstituted forAdamat 78'minutes
  • 8Rinomhota
  • 12McCleary
  • 27Richards
  • 19MeiteSubstituted forBoyéat 66'minutes
  • 47PuscasBooked at 81mins

Substitutes

  • 1Walker
  • 2Gunter
  • 15Loader
  • 18Boyé
  • 24Blackett
  • 26Adam
  • 31Lucas João
Referee:
Jeremy Simpson
Attendance:
8,965

Match Stats

Home TeamWiganAway TeamReading
Possession
Home51%
Away49%
Shots
Home9
Away21
Shots on Target
Home7
Away5
Corners
Home4
Away3
Fouls
Home15
Away11

Live Text

Match ends, Wigan Athletic 1, Reading 3.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Wigan Athletic 1, Reading 3.

Matt Miazga (Reading) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Joe Garner (Wigan Athletic).

Corner, Wigan Athletic. Conceded by Liam Moore.

Offside, Wigan Athletic. Charlie Mulgrew tries a through ball, but Joe Garner is caught offside.

Attempt saved. Charlie Mulgrew (Wigan Athletic) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Foul by Andy Rinomhota (Reading).

Joe Gelhardt (Wigan Athletic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt saved. Joe Gelhardt (Wigan Athletic) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Attempt saved. Kal Naismith (Wigan Athletic) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Lewis MacLeod.

George Puscas (Reading) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Sam Morsy (Wigan Athletic).

Substitution

Substitution, Wigan Athletic. Joe Gelhardt replaces Josh Windass.

Goal!

Goal! Wigan Athletic 1, Reading 3. George Puscas (Reading) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the top left corner. Assisted by Garath McCleary.

Foul by Andy Rinomhota (Reading).

Sam Morsy (Wigan Athletic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Booking

George Puscas (Reading) is shown the yellow card for excessive celebration.

Goal!

Goal! Wigan Athletic 1, Reading 2. George Puscas (Reading) right footed shot from the right side of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Lucas João.

Goal!

Goal! Wigan Athletic 1, Reading 1. George Puscas (Reading) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the centre of the goal.

Booking

Joe Garner (Wigan Athletic) is shown the yellow card.

Penalty conceded by Cheyenne Dunkley (Wigan Athletic) with a hand ball in the penalty area.

Substitution

Substitution, Reading. Charlie Adam replaces Pelé.

Omar Richards (Reading) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Sam Morsy (Wigan Athletic).

Attempt missed. George Puscas (Reading) right footed shot from the left side of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Lucas Boyé.

Foul by Andy Yiadom (Reading).

Kal Naismith (Wigan Athletic) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Offside, Wigan Athletic. Josh Windass tries a through ball, but Jamal Lowe is caught offside.

Attempt missed. Lucas Boyé (Reading) header from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Pelé with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Reading. Conceded by Jamal Lowe.

Joe Garner (Wigan Athletic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Omar Richards (Reading).

Jamal Lowe (Wigan Athletic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Lucas Boyé (Reading).

Substitution

Substitution, Reading. Lucas Boyé replaces Yakou Meite.

Substitution

Substitution, Wigan Athletic. Kal Naismith replaces Michael Jacobs.

Substitution

Substitution, Wigan Athletic. Jamal Lowe replaces Anthony Pilkington.

Substitution

Substitution, Reading. Lucas João replaces Michael Morrison.

Joe Garner (Wigan Athletic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Leeds19124328101840
2West Brom18116135191639
3Fulham19105431191235
4Nottm Forest1895424141032
5Bristol City198833127432
6Preston189453122931
7Brentford1993729141530
8Swansea198652420430
9Sheff Wed198562618829
10Cardiff197752725228
11Blackburn198382627-127
12Hull197573026426
13Millwall196852325-226
14Derby196762025-525
15Birmingham197481924-525
16QPR197482837-925
17Charlton196582626023
18Reading186392223-121
19Huddersfield194692231-918
20Middlesbrough193881627-1117
21Luton1952122540-1517
22Wigan1944111731-1416
23Stoke1942132033-1314
24Barnsley1926112138-1712
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