CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND-UP: Reading stay top with victory against Cardiff

CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND-UP: Reading stay top and maintain perfect record under Veljko Paunovic with victory against Cardiff… while promotion hopefuls Brentford are forced to settle for a point at Millwall

  • Reading made it three wins in a row in the Championship under their new boss 
  • Michael Morrison and Lucas Joao netted in the second half in the win at Cardiff
  • Lee Tomlin halved the deficit but Reading held firm superbly for the three points
  • Brentford’s slow start to the new season continued after their draw with Millwall 

Reading stayed top of the Sky Bet Championship as they maintained their perfect record at the start of new coach Veljko Paunovic’s reign by beating Cardiff 2-1 in Wales.

Both sides had records to put straight – Cardiff had not beaten the Royals in their last nine clashes in all competitions, while Reading arrived having won just one of their last nine away league matches in the Welsh capital.

Cardiff boss Neil Harris gave left-back Greg Cunningham his first start for the Bluebirds since January 2019, when they were in the Premier League, and also drafted Wales international Will Vaulks into the midfield.

Reading stayed top of the league and maintained their perfect record after beating Cardiff

Paunovic made one change from the team that had beaten Barnsley, bringing goalscorer Yahou Meite into the starting line-up.

It was the specialist long throws from Vaulks that caused the biggest problems for Reading in the early stages, while a long ball from half-way by skipper Liam Moore allowed Meite to use his pace to nip in between two defenders and force Alex Smithies into the first save of the game.

Reading thought they had a good claim for a penalty in the 35th minute when Michael Olise was sandwiched between Sean Morrison and Jordi Osei-Tutu, but referee David Webb merely waved play on.

The visitors came on strong in the final 10 minutes of the opening half and Lucas Joao headed just wide from a corner swung in from the left, and then twisted and turned on the edge of the area before firing a left-footed shot that forced Smithies to dive full length.

Cardiff had not beaten Reading in their last nine clashes in all competitions and fell short again

Having taken the upper hand at the end of the first half, Reading maintained their pressure and hit the front within 70 seconds of the restart.

Olise swung in a free-kick from the left and centre-back Michael Morrison met it perfectly on the edge of the six-yard box to head home.

Cardiff responded with their best move of the game, with Osei-Tutu and Marlon Pack setting up Vaulks for a shot from the edge of the area that whistled past the left hand upright.

Lee Tomlin replaced Vaulks just after the hour and, with virtually his first touch, fired in a shot that cannoned off the goalscorer Morrison and forces Rafael to save acrobatically with his feet.

Reading then killed the game off with a second goal a few minutes later when Josh Laurent played in the dangerous Joao, who held off Nelson, twisted onto his left foot and fired home from near the penalty spot.

Lee Tomlin netted a consolation goal nine minutes from time after pouncing from close range

Tomlin grabbed a consolation goal for the Bluebirds nine minutes from time when he prodded into the net after a Kieffer Moore header from a corner. 

Ivan Toney’s ice-cold penalty rescued Brentford a 1-1 Championship draw at Millwall after Jed Wallace capitalised on Pontus Jansson’s error to put the Lions ahead.

Striker Toney walked three steps to the spot and rolled into the net, to get off the mark for his Brentford career and steer the Bees to a draw at The Den.

Toney impressed leading the line for Thomas Frank’s side, appearing to warm to his task after his £5million summer switch from Peterborough.

Ivan Toney’s cool penalty helped promotion hopefuls Brentford earn a point against Millwall

The Bees had to rally from a near-immediate setback though, when captain Jansson was caught out of position and lost a boot – to allow Mason Bennett the space to tee up Wallace.

The floored Sweden defender Jansson was left to look on forlornly at his flourescent orange boot, stray on the turf, as Bennett whipped in and Wallace nodded home.

Said Benrahma came off the bench for his first appearance of the season amid continued Premier League interest from Crystal Palace and Fulham, the Algeria winger offering a lively cameo.

But despite pushing hard at the death, Brentford could not force a winner and honours wound up arguably deservedly even.  

Brentford were forced to settle for a share of the spoils with the hosts despite pushing hard

Lee Gregory’s first-half goal was enough for Stoke to secure their first win of the Championship season at 10-man Preston.

The Potters were on the back foot throughout the first half before Tom Barkhuizen’s red card turned the tide of the game.

Gregory gave the visitors the lead before the break and, despite late pressure from the hosts, they were able to hold on. 

Jeremie Bela went from villain to hero in a tale of two late penalties as Birmingham drew 1-1 against Rotherham at St Andrew’s.

The Angolan winger calmly converted from the spot in the 90th minute – just three minutes after fouling to concede for Kieran Sadlier’s successful spot-kick for Rotherham.

Jeremie Bela turned from villain to hero after netting a stoppage-time penalty for Birmingham

Blues dominated after the first 20 minutes but could not make their numerous chances count.

Lukas Jutkiewicz, who is yet to open his account this season, had three chances, Harlee Dean had a header disallowed, Ivan Sanchez was denied twice and Bela fired wide.

Bright Osayi-Samuel’s equaliser earned a point for QPR in a 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough.

Chuba Akpom scored on his debut to put Boro ahead at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium, where Osayi-Samuel quickly hit back for the hosts and was a threat throughout.

Frontman Chuba Akpom scored on his debut for Middlesbrough in their 1-1 draw with QPR 

Boro boss Neil Warnock has been self-isolating after recently testing positive for coronavirus and did not attend the match against the club he guided to promotion to the top flight in 2011.

But he will have been heartened by striker Akpom’s perfect start to his Boro career.

First-half goals from Andre Ayew and Jamal Lowe ensured Swansea coasted to a 2-0 victory away at Wycombe to extend their unbeaten start to the Sky Bet Championship season.

The Swans have now taken seven points from their opening three games and ensured that Wycombe’s tough introduction to life in the second tier continued.

Andre Ayew and Jamal Lowe’s first-half goals helped Swansea coast to a win away at Wycombe

The hosts failed to muster a shot on target in the first half, as Ayew scored one and then set up Lowe for the second.

The result means Wycombe are the first side to lose their opening three Championship games since Colchester back in 2006. 

Barnsley claimed their first point of the Sky Bet Championship campaign after drawing 0-0 with Coventry at Oakwell.

Both sides had a number of opportunities and Coventry hit the woodwork in the first half, but for the most part there was little for the goalkeepers to do throughout the match.

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