Cardiff hit back to leave Reading in relegation trouble
Reading remain in the Championship relegation scrap after they squandered a first-half lead and lost 2-1 to Cardiff.
Striker Lucas Joao put the Royals ahead in the seventh minute when he nodded home an Andy Yiadom cross at the far post.
Cardiff were poor in the first half but levelled in the 59th minute when Alfie Doughty curled in from just inside the home area.
Substitute Will Vaulks then secured the win when he drove in from close range five minutes from the end.
Reading had taken eight points from their previous four outings, including successive home victories over Blackburn and Stoke, to open up an eight-point cushion over the relegation zone.
Cardiff’s four-game unbeaten run had come to a shuddering halt in their 4-0 home loss to Welsh rivals Swansea last Saturday.
Reading opened strongly, with Josh Laurent seeing a shot blocked by the packed Cardiff defence.
As the ball ran free, Joao was unable to find space for a shot and was eventually crowded out.
Soon, though, Reading were ahead. Yiadom slung over a lofted cross from the right flank for Joao at the far post. Joao rose powerfully to nod past Cardiff keeper Dillon Phillips for his seventh goal of the season.
Reading kept up the pressure and, from an inswinging John Swift free-kick, Joao went close with a glancing header.
Cardiff finally managed to break forward, with Jordan Hugill twice finding himself with decent opportunities.
First he narrowly failed to get on the end of an excellent low cross from Rubin Colwill then soon after, Hugill’s speculative 20-yarder flew just over the home crossbar.
Reading quickly regained their control, with only a defensive deflection denying Tom Ince as he tried to latch on to a Junior Hoilett cross.
Swift then should have done better when through alone but Phillips made a good stop by diving at his feet to gather possession.
Reading began positively after the interval, with another Joao header – from another Yiadom cross – deflected behind by Perry Ng.
Cardiff replied with their best move of the game as Joe Ralls centred from the left wing and Colwill made a good run to the near post but his first-time effort was palmed away by home keeper Orjan Nyland.
Hoilett nodded wide from yet another Yiadom cross but Cardiff’s growing enterprise reaped its reward just before the hour mark.
Ralls released Doughty and the midfielder cut in from the right before curling a clever left-footed shot past Nyland.
Reading pushed forward looking to regain their advantage but it was Cardiff who secured the victory.
Tommy Doyle slipped the ball through for Vaulks to calmly beat the onrushing Nyland.
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