Reading claimed a much-needed three points in The Championship as they beat Nottingham Forest 3-1 at The Madejski Stadium on Tuesday night.
It was a huge game for The Royals and Jaap Stam who has had to face a significant number of questions regarding his future in recent times. However, his players produced a superb performance for him in this one as a brace from John Swift and a second-half strike from Sone Aluko secured a comfortable home victory.
Forest punished for a poor first-half performance
Forest manager Mark Warburton named an unchanged starting line-up for this one following the Reds' impressive 3-2 win against Hull City at The KCOM Stadium on Saturday evening. The Reds had the opportunity to potentially move into the play-off places if they were able to claim all three points.
However, despite this motive, it was the home side who made the better start to the game. Swift broke forward for the Royals early on but saw his shot on the edge of the box blocked by Joe Worrall. Reading had another chance just moments after as Chris Gunter caused the Forest defence problems before his shot was well held by Forest keeper Jordan Smith.
The Royals finally got the breakthrough they deserved for their early dominance around 10 minutes into the match. Modou Barrow got the better of Tendayi Darikwa down the left hand side before crossing for Swift to convert past Smith to make it 1-0. There is no doubt that Warburton would not have been impressed with his side's defending as they made yet another slow start.
Kieran Dowell grabbed the headlines for Forest last time out in the 3-2 win over Hull and he was lively again in this one. He got the better of Reading full-back Gunter before going down in the area but the referee decided not to point to the spot. It was one of very few bright moments from Forest in the first-half.
Forest could have found themselves two goals down before half-time if it was not for a smart save from Smith. Leandro Bacuna let fly from the edge of the box but saw his shot turned away by Smith. Warburton will have been pleased for his side to go into half-time just one goal down after what was arguably one of the worst halves of football they have produced so far this season.
Royals cruise to a vital three points
Forest did start the second-half a lot brighter than they did in the first. Dowell sent Ben Osborn through on goal but his shot was kept out by Vito Mannone. The Royals keeper was in action again a couple of minutes later as he managed to push away Liam Bridcutt's ambitious effort from around 25 yards out. It was a much better start from Forest but they did not take their chances when on top in the match.
The home side punished Forest for not taking their chances to get back into the match as Swift got his second of the game to double the hosts' advantage. Barrow picked up his second assist of the game as he scooped his pass over the Forest defence to give Swift a simple finish to make it 2-0 and give the away side a mountain to climb.
Warburton made a number of changes to try and get his side back into the match with Mustapha Carayol, Andreas Bouchalakis and Tyler Walker all coming on. Dowell had a superb chance to get one back for the away side as he ran through on goal but was again denied by an inspired Mannone.
The game was effectively killed off by the home side with just over 10 minutes left to play as Aluko found the back of the net to make it 3-0. He managed to dribble into the area before his shot beat Smith in the Forest goal from a tight angle. The Reds keeper will have been very disappointed with his performance as he arguably could have done better with all three goals.
The away side did manage to pull one goal back in the latter stages as Osborn played a smart one-two with Dowelled before finding the bottom corner of the net to make it 3-1. However, it was too little too late for Forest as they suffered another defeat away from home.