Championship
ReadingReading1BlackburnBlackburn Rovers0

Reading 1-0 Blackburn Rovers: Josh Laurent's strike earns vital win for Royals

Josh Laurent
Josh Laurent's 78th-minute strike earned Reading an important victory in their battle against relegation

Reading moved five points clear of the relegation zone as Josh Laurent's strike 12 minutes from time handed them a vital victory over promotion-chasing Blackburn.

Laurent curled a shot past goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski when the ball came back to him after Blackburn had cut out John Swift's low cross.

The Royals missed a host of chances in the first half and were indebted to goalkeeper Orjan Nyland, who made a string of fine saves after the break.

A first win in five games gives Paul Ince's men a boost in their relegation battle, while dealing a blow to Blackburn's automatic promotion hopes.

The Royals took full advantage of Barnsley's defeat at Sheffield United to move further away from danger, but Tony Mowbray's Blackburn drop to sixth and have now failed to win, or score, in their last seven away league games.

Sam Gallagher sent an early header wide for the visitors before Reading had the clearest opening of the opening 15 minutes when Kaminski was forced into a fine save from Tom Ince's close-range effort.

Reading tested Kaminski twice again either side of the half-hour mark when the Belgian first denied Andy Yiadom at the near post before pushing away Lucas Joao's goalbound header.

Laurent was next to be frustrated as the Rovers stopper tipped his effort over the bar five minutes before the break as Reading ended the first half on top but with nothing to show for their endeavours.

Blackburn improved in the second half but Tyrhys Dolan and Gallagher were both guilty of spurning good chances inside the opening five minutes.

They were turning up the pressure on the Royals, with John Buckley and Daragh Lenihan forcing Nyland into fine stops just short of the hour.

Tony Mowbray introduced Bradley Dack for the closing stages and the striker was straight into the action but again Nyland was there to save from point-blank range, with Gallagher slipping as he looked odds-on to convert the rebound, allowing Reading to clear.

The hosts made Blackburn pay for their profligacy, taking the lead after 78 minutes when Swift's cross was not fully cleared, allowing Laurent to run onto the ball and grab the goal that secured three vital points.

Reading interim boss Paul Ince told BBC Radio Berkshire:

"It was probably the perfect performance, apart from the chances missed in the first half, we should have been 3-0 up at half-time.

"We need to be more ruthless, which makes it an easier day for the old ticker, but we kept a clean sheet and we got a wonder goal from Josh.

"Looking at the results from the 12.30 kick-offs for Derby and Barnsley, we knew what we had to do against a good side going for the play-offs, so to get that result is important.

"The lads have an incredible spirit. We've had a tough week, going to Forest and Bournemouth, two top teams, and we've had illnesses, so they've put in a really good shift over this week."

Blackburn manager Tony Mowbray told BBC Radio Lancashire:

"We started pretty dominantly in the first twenty minutes, half-an-hour. They ground their way back into the game and had some efforts towards the end of the first half.

"I thought we started the second half positively, missed a few good opportunities. I thought we were in the game but it's a poor clearance and a good finish from the kid in the top corner.

"We've generally been pretty solid and don't give much away but we're just not scoring goals and every game we've had good opportunities.

"If you get the first goal we can go onto win 1-0 but we concede and go on to lose 1-0. It was a tight game. You can't win football matches if you don't score goals."

Line-ups

Reading

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Nyland
  • 17YiadomBooked at 15mins
  • 4Morrison
  • 3Holmes
  • 5McIntyre
  • 8RinomhotaSubstituted forSwiftat 32'minutes
  • 15Drinkwater
  • 9Ince
  • 28Laurent
  • 14EjariaSubstituted forHoilettat 73'minutes
  • 18Lucas JoãoSubstituted forMeiteat 85'minutes

Substitutes

  • 10Swift
  • 11Meite
  • 19Dele-Bashiru
  • 22Southwood
  • 23Hoilett
  • 24Dann
  • 33Barker

Blackburn

Formation 3-4-1-2

  • 1Kaminski
  • 26Lenihan
  • 25van Hecke
  • 16WhartonBooked at 90mins
  • 7KhadraSubstituted forPickeringat 25'minutes
  • 27Travis
  • 8Rothwell
  • 28Giles
  • 21BuckleyBooked at 49minsSubstituted forDackat 59'minutes
  • 9Gallagher
  • 10DolanSubstituted forHedgesat 60'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Pickering
  • 4Johnson
  • 11Rankin-Costello
  • 13Pears
  • 15Brown
  • 19Hedges
  • 23Dack
Referee:
James Linington
Attendance:
12,805

Match Stats

Home TeamReadingAway TeamBlackburn
Possession
Home41%
Away59%
Shots
Home8
Away16
Shots on Target
Home6
Away5
Corners
Home3
Away4
Fouls
Home9
Away10

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Reading 1, Blackburn Rovers 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Reading 1, Blackburn Rovers 0.

  3. Booking

    Scott Wharton (Blackburn Rovers) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Scott Wharton (Blackburn Rovers).

  5. Post update

    Yakou Meite (Reading) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  6. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Lewis Travis (Blackburn Rovers) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  7. Post update

    Corner, Blackburn Rovers. Conceded by Andy Yiadom.

  8. Substitution

    Substitution, Reading. Yakou Meite replaces Lucas João.

  9. Goal!

    Goal! Reading 1, Blackburn Rovers 0. Josh Laurent (Reading) right footed shot from outside the box to the top right corner.

  10. Post update

    Jan Paul van Hecke (Blackburn Rovers) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Lucas João (Reading).

  12. Post update

    Foul by Bradley Dack (Blackburn Rovers).

  13. Post update

    Andy Yiadom (Reading) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  14. Substitution

    Substitution, Reading. Junior Hoilett replaces Ovie Ejaria.

  15. Post update

    Attempt missed. Ryan Hedges (Blackburn Rovers) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left.

  16. Post update

    Attempt saved. Bradley Dack (Blackburn Rovers) left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Harry Pickering.

  17. Post update

    Attempt saved. Darragh Lenihan (Blackburn Rovers) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Ryan Giles with a cross.

  18. Post update

    Corner, Blackburn Rovers. Conceded by Michael Morrison.

  19. Post update

    Offside, Reading. Danny Drinkwater tries a through ball, but Andy Yiadom is caught offside.

  20. Post update

    Attempt missed. Lewis Travis (Blackburn Rovers) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left following a set piece situation.

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As It Stood

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5Sheff Utd3817101152401261
6Blackburn3917101249391061
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