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Report: Reading 1-2 Rovers

Dack's strike is the difference on his milestone match as Rovers take the points back to East Lancashire

21 September 2019

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Bradley Dack scored what proved to be the winning goal on his 100th appearance for Rovers to continue their 100% winning start to September with the three points at Reading.

Dack struck from close range just after half time to put Rovers 2-0 ahead at the Madejski Stadium, only for John Swift to halve the scoreline midway through the second half.

Adam Armstrong's terrific strike handed Tony Mowbray's men the perfect start in the sunshine, and Rovers had to show their resolute side late to to keep the hosts at bay and earn the points to take back north to East Lancashire.

Mowbray made three changes to his lineup, with Tosin Adarabioyo, John Buckley and Bradley Johnson heading out to allow Lewis Travis, Corry Evans and Sam Gallagher to come in.

Adarabioyo wasn't risked after picking up a thigh knock against Millwall last weekend, whilst Joe Rothwell was ill in the night and wasn't part of the matchday squad.

Rovers began well, with Gallagher nodding a deep Stewart Downing free kick just past home goalkeeper Rafael Cabral's right-hand post.

But with the next opportunity came the first goal of the encounter in the Berkshire sunshine. Downing was the orchestrator again, with his pass finding Armstrong, who curled a brilliant effort from the edge of the box beyond the Brazilian 'keeper and in.

At the other end, George Puscas fired comfortably over Christian Walton's upright from an acute angle after being fed by Andy Yiadom.

Rovers were looking dangerous on the counter and Gallagher curled just over the bar after Evans set the frontman up in the box.

Loan midfielder Pele smashed high and wide before home captain Liam Moore lashed wide as The Royals looked to take an equaliser into the break with just a few minutes to go until the interval.

It took just three minutes of the second half for Rovers to double their lead through Dack, who wriggled away from his marker in the box to mark his century of appearances in blue-and-white with a goal, despite the efforts of Rafael.

The strike made it 40 goals from his 100 games for the club, but Rovers were indebted to Walton's right-hand post for stopping Swift's curling effort before Walton was equal to Puskas' close range effort a moment later.

Derrick Williams produced an excellent block to deny Ovie Ejaria just before the hour, only for the ball to drop kindly for Swift, who made no mistake from 18 yards.

Substitute Yakou Meite was on for Reading and lashed over just a few minutes after entering the action following Swift's dangerous pull back.

New signing Lewis Holtby was on for his Rovers debut just 48 hours after signing, playing the final 20 minutes in place of opening goalscorer Armstrong.

Holtby almost bagged an assist within minutes of coming on, before he fired just over after being fed by Dack with under 15 minutes remaining.

Like Holtby, Johnson was involved in the action and his long range effort with seven minutes to go had to be held down low by Rafael.

Time was running out for The Royals to get a late equaliser, with Puskas nodding past the post after another cross from the dangerous Andy Yiadom.

There was still one more save to Walton to make at the death, with the Brighton & Hove Albion loanee in the right place at the right time to grab a Liam Moore header.

That meant Rovers continued their 100% winning start to September ahead of next weekend's home outing against Luton Town at Ewood Park.

Reading: Rafael, Morrison (Blackett, 65), Moore (c), Swift, Obita, Ejaria, McIntyre (Meite, 57), Yiadom, Gomes, Joao (Boye, 87), Puscas.

Unused substitutes: Virginia, Rinomhota, Adam, Richards.

Goal: Swift, 58

Booked: Yiadom, 32, Morrison, 37

Rovers: Walton, Bennett (c), Lenihan, Williams, Cunningham, Downing, Evans (Johnson, 73), Travis, Gallagher (Graham, 77), Armstrong (Holtby, 70), Dack.

Unused substitutes: Leutwiler, Nyambe, Bell, Buckley.

Goal: Armstrong, 8, Dack, 48.

Booked: Cunningham, 79, Bennett, 90.

Referee: Matthew Donohue.

Attendance: 16,906 (990 away).

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