Reading: Al Habsi; Gunter, McShane, Hector, Obita; Norwood, Tshibola; John, Blackman, Piazon; Sà
Subs: A Taylor, McCleary, Fernandez, Williams, Cooper, Moore, Liburd
As we have been becoming accustomed to in recent outings, Reading started the game strongly, with Ola John, Lucas Piazon and Nick Blackman all going close in the opening ten minutes. The Royals continued to show more attacking promise than their London visitors as the half progressed, yet were unable to find a way through a resilient Charlton back line. Oliver Norwood provided the in-form Nick Blackman with a half-chance in the 34th minute, before sending an effort of his own over the bar just four minutes later. It was only in the 41st minute that the Addicks finally troubled Ali Al Habsi in the Reading goal, with the Omani doing well to keep out Johann Berg Gudmundsson's strike from just outside of the area.
Steve Clarke responded to the frustrating nature of the first half's proceedings by pushing Blackman into a slightly more central role alongside Orlando Sà, as Reading continued to pile on the pressure. An ambitious deflected effort from Michael Hector from 30 yards saw the Royals go close again, before Blackman skied an effort over the bar minutes later from around the same range. Not even a fine team passing move on 59 minutes was enough to breach the Charlton net, with Aaron Tshibola's effort drifting wide, after some silky build up play from Sà and Piazon.
Arguably the game's turning point arrived in the 68th minute, with the dismissal of Charlton defender Patrick Bauer for a second bookable offence. Some nifty footwork from Blackman had drawn a foul from the German, who left referee Robert Lewis with no option but to send him off. Clarke responded immediately with a double substitution in the form of the fresh legs of Gareth McCleary and Danny Williams, who came on for Orlando Sà and Aaron Tshibola respectively.
Reading wasted no time in capitalising on their numerical advantage, as an unmarked Nick Blackman was able to head home from close range on 76 minutes, finally breaking through the spirited Charlton defence. The neat finish took Blackman's tally to 10 goals for the season, as well as marking the first occasion in his career where he has scored in five consecutive games.
The Royals continued to press, as Norwood, Blackman and Williams all had efforts to extend the home side's lead, as well as taking their shots total to above twenty for the afternoon. Clarke used his final substitution to consolidate Reading's winning position by bringing on Alex Fernandez for the attacking Piazon, as the Royals went on to secure a deserved three points from a game that they had largely dominated.
We'll have more reaction up as soon as possible, including a full report and player ratings, so check back for that a little later this weekend.