If after the Charlton match at the weekend we thought this might be a stroll in the park, then think again because in the first half it was clear that Reading had done their homework on us, closed us down quickly, prevented the Cherries from getting in to their stride. That said though, when Reading broke forward, often with pace and determination, their final ball lacked quality and usually dealt with quite easily.
The Royals did fashion two opportunities they should have done better from. One saw a close range header loop over the cross bar when iot might have been easier to head the bakll home. They also saw the ball rebound off the right hand up right and away to safety.
Cherries chances were few and far between too. Pitman couldn't get the ball down quick enough when a looping back header fell short of the keeper, but the keeper was able to punch the ball away. Then on the stroke of half time a Richie effort came back off the wood work with the Reading keeper beaten!
After the break it was a very different matter as the Cherries came out with real purpose and seat about Reading in a manner we didn't see in the opening 45 minutes.
Within 5 minutes of the restart the deadlock was broken when a back flick header from Ritchie found Pitman who fed the ball ou side to Pugh whose cross found Wilson in acres of space in the Reading penalty area to head home unchallenged.
Then like buses, another goal came along quite quickly afterwards as Wilson set up Pitman for his first goal of the evening as he slid the ball beneath the Reading keeper with some ease in the 54th minute.
We had to wait for nearly another 10 minutes for a Ritchie corner from the Cherries right flank to be met, again unopposed, by Pitman to volley the ball home from close range.
At this stage Reading didn't quite kjnow what had hit them as the points were clearly remaining in Dorset.
Pitman could have easilly wrapped up a hat trick and more when he was denied by two point blank saves by Frederici in the Royals goal. Another night he could have had 4 goals top his name.
Overall the team performance was worth the 3-points and an opportunity to close the gap on the top-6.
I hate to agree with the sponsors, but I think this time they did get the choice of man of the match right, Brett Pitman, but it has to be said that there were many excellent individual performances which helped to make upan excellent team performance.
AFCB: Boruc, Francis, Elphick, Cook, Daniels, Ritchie, Surman, Arter, Wilson, Pitman
Subs: Camp, Harte, Smith, Stanislas, Fraser (for Ritchie, 79 mins), Rantie (for Wilson, 85 mins), Gosling (for Pugh, 90 mins)
Andy Burton, Brixton