Reading 2-1 Luton Town: Reading get back to winning ways with victory over Luton
Tom McIntyre of Reading celebrates with teammates after scoring their sides first goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Reading and Luton Town at Madejski Stadium on December 26, 2020 in Reading, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

Reading got back to winning ways on Boxing day with a 2-1 victory over Luton Town

Tom McIntyre scored his first goal for the club when in the ninth minute a corner was put into the near post and he hit it on the volley into the top right corner to give the Royals the lead.

Alfa Semedo then doubled their lead when the loanee also scored his first goal for the club, when Sam Baldock played him through and he calmly slotted home to keep Luton at arm's length.

However, Luton made it a nervy ending at the Madejski Stadium when Kazenga Lualua smashed it from 25 yards out into the bottom corner, but it only ended up being a consolation.

This result means Reading rise to fifth in the table, while Luton drops to 15th in the Championship.

Story of the match

Reading came into this game having lost their last two games, to Norwich City and Brentford. They made two changes to the team that lost 3-1 last weekend, with captain Liam Moore being omitted from the squad because of an injury, with McIntyre coming in. This caused a defensive reshuffle, with McIntyre being moved to left-back, Tomas Esteves being moved back to right-back, and Tom Holmes moving to his more familiar centre-back position. Michael Olise was also dropped to the bench, with Sone Aluko coming in.

Luton made three changes coming into the visit to the Madejski Stadium, as they came off the back of a 0-0 draw with high-flying Bournemouth. Glen Rea came back from suspension and started for the Hatters, while Danny Hylton and Rhys Norrington-Davies started on the bench, with George Moncur and Jordan Clark coming into the starting lineup, the latter scoring the only goal the last time the two sides met in August.

The first real action of note was within the first five minutes when Semedo was brought down and received treatment on the pitch.

Then the first goal came in the ninth minute, with a well-worked corner, as the ball was whipped to the near post where McIntyre hit it on the volley and guided it into the top right corner which gave the Royals the lead.

Other than that it was a relatively quiet 30 minutes, as the chances started to even out after a positive start from Reading.

Near the end of the half, a number of sloppy passes from Luton lead to a number of good chances for Reading, however were lacking that cutting edge and that killer pass to make them count. 

However, they did make one count five minutes before halftime, when Semedo played it to Baldock, who cut in and played to back to Semedo who continued his run into the box, and slotted it past James Shea to double the Royals lead before the break and score his first goal for the club since joining on loan from Benfica.

Luton did have a penalty shout near the end of the half, when Mcintyre ran into Martin Cranie on the edge of the box, and on second look looked to be inside the box, but the referee deemed it to be outside. The resulting free-kick came to nothing. Luton came close when some nice play lead to Pelly Ruddock-Mpanzu managed to get himself free on the left-hand side of the area, and played it across goal but there were no other players in orange to poke it in.

Luton made three changes for the second half, with Norrington-Davies, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, and Hylton all coming on for George Moncur, Cranie, and Rea. 

The second half started scrappily, with a number of fouls going in from either side. Luton made their fourth change when LuaLua came on for Ruddock-Mpanzu, while John Swift made his return from three months out with injury, coming on for Semedo. Luton then brought on Harry Cornick for Danny Potts in a bid to get back into the game

With ten minutes to go, Luton had a good chance when a free-kick was dinked in, and James Collins tried to get something on it but Rafael made himself big and managed to stop the hatters from getting a goal.

However, the Hatters did manage to get a goal, when in the 88th minute Kazenga Lualua shot from 25 yards out and it dipped past Rafael into the bottom corner which gave Reading a headache going into the final minutes.

But Reading managed to get it over the line, with three points bringing them up to fifth in the table, meanwhile, Luton drop to 15th.

Man of the match: Josh Laurent (Reading)

In what was a poor game, it was certainly lacking quality but Laurent was the standout.  Making brilliant tackles but more importantly, he was a brilliant progressive runner, bringing the ball up the pitch, and Luton couldn't handle his pace and power.

 

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