Wolves 2 (Cavaleiro 16, Doherty 88)
It was a tough afternoon at the Madejski Stadium but Wolves did enough against a resilient Reading side to secure the three points and regain top spot in the Championship table.
Wolves made just the one enforced change with Ruben Vinagre coming in for the suspended Barry Douglas. On the bench for the home team were former Molineux men Dave Edwards and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson.
Wolves kicked-off attacking the end of the ground that housed almost 4,000 of their travelling supporters.
But, within a minute, it was the home fans that were close to celebrating as John Swift’s long-range shot was turned onto the post by John Ruddy.
There was little else of note until the eighth minute when Reading, once again, were close to taking the lead as Ruddy’s clearance struck Mo Barrow and bounced inches wide of the far post.
It was Wanderers, however, that drew first blood in the 16th minute. Diogo Jota’s superb short through pass left Ivan Cavaleiro with just Vito Mannone to beat and the winger danced around the keeper before rolling the ball into the empty net.
Cavaleiro almost returned the favour in Wolves’ next attack but his cross was just too far in front of Jota’s outstretched foot.
Leandro Bacuna fouled Vinagre to the left of the Reading box and then kicked the ball away in frustration with his actions earning a yellow card. Mannone punched clear Cavaleiro’s free-kick from the heart of a crowded six-yard box.
In the 28th minute, Jota beat the offside trap as he sprinted down the left flank. He fired in a low cross that Cavaleiro met at the near post but, with his back to goal and challenged by Mannone, he was only able to force a corner.
On the half-hour Edwards replaced Tiago Ilori and the Welsh midfielder received a great ovation as he ran on from all sides of the ground including the packed visitors section.
The Royals were close to pulling level in the 33rd minute following Roy Beerens’ corner. There was a brief scramble and when the ball ricochet to Yann Kermorgant he had little time to react and could only divert it wide.
Romain Saiss’s curled pass fell nicely for Leo Bonatini in the box but as the striker got in an angled shot the ball struck Mannone and was cleared.
Just before the break a low shot from Jota struck a defender and went behind. From Cavaleiro’s corner, Willy Boly headed wide.
Half-Time: Reading 0 Wolves 1
Reading made a bright start to the new half and they had three shots blocked in quick succession. Then Wolves won five corners in as many minutes – all taken by Cavaleiro but none amounting to anything of note.
Joey Van Den Berg was yellow carded for barging Jota off the ball and he was soon joined in the book by Matt Doherty for an innocuous looking challenge in midfield.
Ryan Bennett’s was a more obvious decision when he joined the list for obstructing Barrow.
A great piece of work from Jota saw him beating two men as he ran into the area but his low cross went right through the Reading six-yard box with no-one able to get a touch.
When Reading failed to clear their lines, Bonatini drilled in a shot from the edge of the box that just beat the far post.
Bright Enobakhare replaced Bonatini almost immediately and, after Ruddy has scrambled away and claimed a low drive from Barrow, Alfred N’Diaye was sent on in place of Cavaleiro.
In the 80th minute Ruddy made a wonder save to preserve Wolves’ narrow advantage. Barrow looked odds on to score as he powered a shot towards goal but the keeper somehow got a hand to the ball to turn it away. There won’t be many better saves seen this season.
However, Reading were still pressing and a low effort from substitute Sone Aluko was diverted narrowly wide of the mark for a corner.
With five minutes remaining Helder Costa replaced Jota and three minutes later the winger played his part in the goal that sealed Wanderers victory when he broke into the box and pulled the ball back for Doherty to turn and hammer a low shot past Mannone.
Reading: Mannone, Gunter, Van Den Berg, McShane (capt), Moore, Beerens (Bodvarsson 81), Swift, Barrow, Kermorgant (Aluko 66), Bacuna, Ilori (Edwards 30).
Unused subs: Clement, Blackett, Jaakkola, Richards.
Bookings: Bacuna (20 – kicking ball away after conceding foul), Van Den Berg (56 – foul).
Wolves: Ruddy, Doherty, Vinagre, Coady (capt), Boly, Bennett, Cavaleiro (N’Diaye 79), Saiss, Bonatini (Enobakhare 72), Neves, Jota (Costa 85).
Unused subs: Norris, Batth, Price, Miranda.
Bookings: Doherty (59 – foul), Bennett (64 – foul).
Referee: R. East.
Attendance: 20,708 (3,873 away supporters).
Derby County Academy Under 18s 5 Wolves 5 (Samuels 2, Taylor-Perry 2, Carr)