2016/17 English League Championship, 2016/2017 English League Championship
  • James Chester (14')
  • Joseph Mendes (6', 46')
  • Lewis Grabban (79' PEN)

Joseph Mendes leads Reading to victory at Aston Villa

Joseph Mendes scored twice as Reading tightened their grip on a playoff place with a 3-1 victory at Aston Villa.

Striker Mendes marked his full league debut in style as Reading, who - who recovered from last week's 7-1 thumping at Norwich, went back up to fourth in the Championship.

He had previously made just nine substitute appearances in the league, with his only other goals coming for the under-23s in the Checkatrade Trophy.

Lewis Grabban's second-half penalty sealed victory as Reading went six points clear of seventh-placed Fulham ahead of Monday's visit of relegated Rotherham.

Mendes provided the perfect tonic following Reading's Carrow Road thrashing and fired them ahead after just six minutes at Villa Park.

Jordan Amavi miscued a clearance to allow the forward to burst into the area, and his low drive beat Sam Johnstone.

But Villa levelled eight minutes later when Chester cashed in on Ali Al Habsi's mistake.

The goalkeeper made a fine save when Henri Lansbury almost deflected in Mile Jedinak's drive but went missing from the resulting corner and Chester headed into an unguarded net.

Johnstone then pushed away John Swift's 25-yard drive after 27 minutes while Conor Hourihane shot over for the hosts.

But Reading should have regained the lead after 30 minutes when Mendes missed a glorious chance.

A rapid break released Grabban to put the ball on a plate for Mendes, only for him to fire over.

The Royals were content to attack on the break while Villa lacked further killer instinct, and the visitors made them pay just 19 seconds into the second half.

Villa kicked off but immediately squandered possession and Grabban went down the right and crossed for Mendes to tap in from five yards.

From then on, Reading were in control and Johnstone twice denied Grabban -- but they survived a scare with 22 minutes left when Scott Hogan fired over from 12 yards.

But Grabban sealed things with 11 minutes to go when Leandro Bacuna fouled Liam Kelly in the area and the Bournemouth loanee converted the penalty.