John’s Swift’s 25-yard second half strike was enough to earn all three points for Mark Bowen’s side.
That win for the Royals moves them up to 15th in the table on 29 points. Just three points off 14th placed QPR with a game in hand on the West Londoners.
Story of the match
Reading came out of the blocks quicker and the opening five minutes was summed up by a lovely moment of showboating from John Swift.
The 24-year-old was then involved in the first chance of the game that came in the eighth minute, when a Chris Gunter cross found its way to the dangerous Ovie Ejaria who had his attempt parried away by Joe Lumley, but only to Swift who also had his attempt saved well by the QPR goalkeeper.
The Royals racked up a total of four corners in the opening 15 minutes and nearly scored with one in the 12th minute if it wasn’t for a goal saving clearance from a QPR defender to hack away Tyler Blackett’s dangerous cross. Morrison was there waiting to apply the finishing touch.
QPR earned a free kick to relieve some of the Reading pressure in the 20th minute. However, the attempt was fired over by Rangers’s dangerous Eberechi Eze. An attempt which was greeted by Reading fans chanting: ‘Ovie Ejaria, he’s better than you’!
The away side started to find their feet in this game midway through the first half, and in the 33rd minute had a goal ruled out for offside.
Jordan Hugil tapped in a Bright Osayi-Samuel’s cross from the right-hand side, but the linesman raised his flag after the goal was scored to the Reading fans relief and to the QPR fans dismay.
The West-London club demonstrated why they are higher up in the table as the first half came to a close. Grant Hall headed wide from a corner before Eze penalty appeals turned down before the break.
A draw probably satisfied both sides going into the interval. The Berkshire side started the better, but the West Londoners ended the half the better side.
The second half started at a frantic pace with both sides having another set of penalty appeals waved away within the first five minutes of the second half.
The deadlock was opened by a moment of brilliance in the 52nd minute with John Swift unleashing a venomous striker form 25 yards out which flew into the top corner like a rocket.
Here is the goal if you did not manage to see it:
A 🚀 from John Swift!— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) December 26, 2019
Reading take the lead against QPR with a beautiful effort from distance.
📺 Watch it live on Sky Sports Football or follow it here: https://t.co/v3biB8Fpbh pic.twitter.com/v4GveLwcBI
That goal was Swift’s first goal back from his injury and his third goal of the season in the Championship.
Swiftly after, the Royals had another chance to add to the lead, but Lucas Joao’s header from a Chris Gunter cross on the right sailed just over the bar.
The game then started to turn into a Basketball type of match (end to end) and QPR then went mightily close to levelling the game in the 62nd minute when Eze managed to spin and poke an effort past Rafael but not past Michael Morrison who managed to clear just before the ball rolled over the line.
Joe Lumley was much the busier goalkeeper all afternoon and was called into action again in the 64th minute to deny Lucas Joao his fourth Championship goal in his last five games.
The game was nearly tied up at 1-1 in the 78th minute when Ilias Chair’s curling effort hit the under side of the bar and came out to Hugil who’s follow up attempt was somehow miraculously saved by Rafael in the Reading goal.
As we approached the end of the match, Reading were hanging on for their lives and Rafael was a hero for the Royals- denying Hugil from close range as we approached added time.
QPR threw everything they had to get an equaliser but couldn’t manage it as it ended in boxing day delight for the Royals.
Takeaways from the match
John Swift really had been missed
Swift showed tonight the quality Reading have been missing whilst he’s been out with his respective injury.
All evening, he was opening up the QPR defence with his brilliant passing and dribbling.
Alongside his wonder goal in the 52nd minute, his other stand out moment came within the first five minutes of his game with his wonderful rabona skill to create an early opening for the Royals in this match.
Ejaria vs Eze: hard to call who won round two
Both Ejaria and Eze had busy games for their respective sides.
Ejaria nearly scored within the first five minutes, and Eze nearly scored midway through the second half.
A draw is probably the right result in this match between these two players.
Rafael really has found his place at Reading
The Brazilian produced two wonder saves from Hugil to conserve the three points for Reading.
The 29-year-old has really been a massive upgrade to Joao Virginia who was the goalkeeper who started the first few games for the Royals.
The ex-Napoli goalkeeper has arguably been the best and biggest signing during Reading’s summer transfer spree.