Reading 0-3 Sunderland AFC
Sunderland ended Reading’s perfect home record in the Sky Bet Championship with an emphatic victory at the Select Car Leasing Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Tony Mowbray’s side lost Ellis Simms nine minutes before the interval, but they provided the perfect response through Patrick Robert’s first-half double.
An outstanding third was bagged by Jack Clarke, who capped off a wonderful free-flowing move with 69 minutes played to seal the points well before the final whistle.
Sunderland made one change from the side that faced Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium, as Aji Alese replaced the injured Dennis Cirkin.
Summer signing Jewison Bennett was named amongst the substitutes, with the Costa Rica international included in the matchday squad for the first time since his move to Wearside.
Reading countered in numbers with five minutes played, but an overhit pass from Jeff Hendrick ensured the opportunity turned to dust with Andy Yiadom poised to threaten the Lads' backline.
Persistent play from Patrick Roberts crafted Sunderland’s first real sight at goal with 27 minutes played, but Simms’ effort was blocked after the winger linked with Dan Neil.
Already without leading scorer Ross Stewart, Simms required multiple bouts of treatment in the stages that followed and he was eventually forced off with 36 minutes on the clock.
It did little to deter the Black Cats, who responded to the blow emphatically with a quickfire double.
Roberts provided the finishing touch on both occasions – and substitute Elliot Embleton registered a couple of assists – as two breakaway moves were finished with aplomb to hand the Mowbray’s men a commanding lead at the interval.
In search of a hat-trick, then former Manchester City man tried his luck from range with 56 minutes played, but stopper Joe Lumley was untroubled by the winger’s latest effort.
Reading responded and Tyrese Fornah fired wide, but a stunning third involving Alex Pritchard, Roberts and Neil was finished by Clarke to end any hopes of home comeback.
The former Tottenham Hotspur man could have grabbed his second soon after, with Bennette making his debut late on to complete a memorable night for the Lads.
Reading: Lumley, Holmes, Hutchison (Meite 65), McIntyre, Yiadom, Hendrick, Loum, Fornah, Hoilett, Ince, Joao (Craig 85).
Subs not used: Bouzanis, Abrefa, Rahman, Guinness-Walker, Ehibhatiomham.
Sunderland AFC: Patterson, O’Nien, Batth, Alese, Gooch, (Evans 82), Neil, Clarke, Pritchard (Matete 73), Roberts (Amad 73), Simms (Embleton 36).
Subs not used: Bass, Dajaku, Hume.