Watford 2-0 Reading: Joao Pedro double secures Hornets victory
By Sam Evans
Watford climbed into the Sky Bet Championship play-off spots as Joao Pedro's goals either side of halftime comfortably saw off Reading 2-0 under the lights at Vicarage Road.
Goals in both halves insured the Hertfordshire side bounced back from last weekend's setback against Coventry.
Watford Head Coach Slaven Bilić made two changes to last weekend’s XI, with Christian Kabasele and Yáser Asprilla replacing suspended duo Francisco Sierralta and Hassane Kamara. Whilst Reading made five changes from their defeat to Preston, bringing in Amadou Mbengue, Lucas Joao, Sam Hutchinson, Tyrese Fornah and Ovie Ejaria.
Images by Sam Evans
The sides paid their respects prior to kick-off for Remembrance Sunday, with Watford supporter William Vandy playing the Last Post and both managers each laying down wreaths.
Once the whistle had gone, the Hornets started on the front foot with the first clear-cut chance falling to Ken Sema who blasted a rebound from a free-kick well over the crossbar after six minutes.
Watford increased their pressure on the visitors as the game approached the quarter-hour mark, and after an Asprilla shot was deflected past Joe Lumley's post the subsequent set-piece saw Joao Pedro brought down by Ovie Ejaria, and saw referee James Linington point to the spot.
Joao Pedro stepped up after being fouled and he made no mistake from 12 yards out, calmly putting his penalty past Lumley who dove the wrong way and placing the ball into the bottom-right corner of the net for his fifth goal of the Sky Bet Championship season.
Images by Sam Evans
Reading produced their first effort after 34 minutes after Asprilla fouled Baba Rahman but the following free-kick was floated too high by Fornah to cause any trouble.
The visitors had more of an attacking force after the break, with more energy and ambition than their first-half showing. Despite this early pressure Bachmann was not forced into making a proper save.
Watford had the opportunity to add a second goal and came close on the 64-minute mark, when Pedro collected a smart pass from Hamza Choudhury and his effort from outside the box was well-stopped by Bouzanis.
With only one goal still separating the sides, Reading had a chance to claw their way back into the game. When in the 75th minute Tom Ince blasted a shot just over the crossbar after a well-worked sequence of play from the Royals.
Watford finally put the game to bed four minutes from full-time when Pedro scored on the volley after Bouzanis could only parry out a teasing cross by Sarr in his direction.
A fourth victory in five takes the hornets back into a play-off position, with now 20 matches played this season. A defeat for Reading sees them stay 12th with one game week left before the month-long World Cup break. They travel to Hull City for their last game, whilst Watford have a trip to Ashton Gate to face Bristol City.