Azeez double takes Royals another step towards League One survival – Reading Today Online

Reading v Charlton Athletic Pictures: Steve Smyth, Luke Adams

READING made another step towards League One survival as Femi Azeez’s double saw off fellow relegation candidates Charlton Athletic.

After a goalless first-half, Azeez opened the scoring and then scored a spectacular volley 10 minutes later to give the Royals a commanding lead.

The win lifts Reading up to 18th position on 34 points, three points clear of the bottom four.

Ruben Selles opted for the same starting eleven from Reading’s midweek away win at Stevenage which helped them escape the relegation zone.

Meanwhile, there was a spot on the bench for young striker Jayden Wareham following his excellent form for Noel Hunt’s U21s side.

Nathan Jones took charge of his first game since being appointed at Charlton, taking over a side that had gone winless in the league since November, seeing them dragged into the relegation scrap.

Two former Royals featured for the visitors, Tennai Watson and Terrell Thomas.

It was a shaky start from the Royals who were on the back foot for the opening 10 minutes before they found some stability in the game.

Reading’s first promising attack came after some strong defensive work from Andy Yiadom and Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan who built a platform to burst forward as Femi Azeez won his team a corner.

An inswinging delivery caused problems for Charlton keeper Harry Isted before Lewis Wing unleashed a powerful hit to try and catch the keeper out at the near post that was batted behind.

Corners continued to look dangerous when Charlie Savage’s delivery caused chaos before the ball struck the arm of defender Thomas in the box, but the referee waved play on.

The Addicks had their best chance of the half after they capitalised on some loose play from Reading to set Alfie May free before Tyler Bindon got across exceptionally to make a goal saving tackle.

Sam Smith had two sights of goal late in the half. First when an expertly clipped ball from Savage set him up for a volley as he swivelled and struck at goal only to be prevented by Isted.

His next chance came when he was set down the left and from a narrow angle tried to pick out the far corner with a drive that was stopped by the keeper as the half came to a close without a goal.

Reading had to stay switched on to some Charlton pressure which saw both Yiadom and Mbengue defend their box tenaciously to stop a cross coming in.

The Royals’ first chance of the second-half saw Harvey Knibbs rise to meet Wing’s cross, but he couldn’t direct it either side of the keeper.

A first sub from Selles saw Jeriel Dorsett replace Mola at left-back with an hour on the clock.

Tayo Edun picked up the first card of the game when he flew in recklessly on Mbengue and could count himself lucky to still be on the pitch.

The deadlock was broken in the 66th minute when the ball dropped invitingly in the box for Azeez and he grabbed the opportunity by slamming the ball into the net.

Azeez’s day was far from done as he went one better with a stunning strike on the volley that flew into the top corner to give Reading a two-goal cushion.

The Addicks pushed to try and find a way back into the contest, but Reading shut them out to earn another valuable clean sheet and three points.

The victory continues Reading’s excellent run of form and puts them into 18th position in League One ahead of their midweek trip to Fleetwood Town.

Reading: Button, Mola, Mbengue, Bindon, Yiadom, Savage, Wing, Knibbs, Azeez, Ehibhatiomhan, Smith

Subs: Pereira, Elliott, Mukairu, Wareham, Dorsett, Abrefa, Craig

Charlton: Isted, Jones, Thomas, Gillesphey, T Watson, L Watson, Coventry, Bakinson, Edun, May, Ladapo

Subs: Maynard-Brewer, Anderson, Ramsay, Camara, Edmungs-Green, Campbell, Kanu

Goals: Azeez 66’, 76’

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