Five-star Royals move off the bottom of League One – Reading Today Online

Reading v Carlisle United Pictures: Luke Adams

READING FC made it back-to-back League One wins as they moved off the bottom of the table with a thumping win over Carlisle United.

A manic five minute spell in the first-half saw Reading break the deadlock only for Carlisle to level moments later. But the Royals quickly restored their lead and then added another before the break as Harvey Knibbs hit a double.

Lewis Wing put seal on the points with a super strike which flew past the keeper to put the game beyond doubt before Femi Azeez scored his first goal of the season to make it 5-1.

The three points mean that Reading move within two points of Carlisle with a game in hand and are now five points from safety.

Ruben Selles made just one change in response to Reading picking up their first League One away win of the season at Wycombe on Saturday.

It was a forced change as the injured Dom Ballard, who picked up a serious knee injury, was replaced by Paul Mukairu.

There was a place again on the bench for Ben Elliott after his omission at the weekend, while there was no place in the matchday squad for Caylan Vickers.

The visitors won a corner inside the opening minute of the game which came to nothing after they tried to work a short routine.

They were then forced into an early change and after a lengthy stoppage, 35-year-old Joe Garner had to be replaced with an injury by Luke Plange.

The first big chance of the match came Reading’s way in the 14th minute when Harvey Knibbs showed tenacity to steal the ball from Carlisle’s short corner to launch a counter attack.

After bursting down the right he fed the ball through for Femi Azeez for a one-on-one chance, but the goal shy attacker poked his shot well wide of the target.

The next chance came a few moments later when Sam Smith almost connected with Azeez’s cross which was deflected behind for a corner.

Azeez then looked to break his long goal drought with a shot from distance on his weaker foot that ballooned high into the stands after he had shuffled onto his right foot.

A frantic five minutes then ensued with goalmouth action at both ends.

Reading drew first blood when Paul Mukairu played a backheel into the path of Jeriel Dorsett’s overlapping run and the defenders cross at the near post saw Carlisle captain Samuel Lavelle divert the ball past his own keeper.

The Cumbrians came up with a quick reply to level when Jack Robinson’s cross was met by Plange who poked it past David Button.

Despite his disappointing miss earlier in the game, Azeez managed to make some decisive contributions in the final third to regain some confidence.

It took just two minutes for Reading to reestablish their advantage after some bright play on the right from Azeez saw the winger drive into the box and fire in a cross that Knibbs eventually bundled over the line after it had struck a Carlisle body.

With confidence now coursing through them which was evident in their attacking play, Reading went in search of a third goal and were rewarded in the 39th minute when Knibbs bagged his second of the night.

Mukairu and Knibbs both battled on the left to win the ball before Lewis Wing maintained possession and threaded through to Knibbs who twisted and turned before wrongfooting the keeper to plant the ball in the bottom corner.

The Royals almost found a fourth in first-half stoppage time when some superb work on the wing from Azeez saw him breeze past his full-back, but his cross was intercepted in the nick of time to stop Knibbs from tapping in for his hat-trick.

Reading made a shaky start to the second-half as Carlisle threatened to grab a goal back. Dorsett was perfectly placed to make a vital block on the line before David Button came to the rescue moments later by diving at the feet of Plange.

The chances dried up for Reading as the visitors enjoyed more possession without ever threatening too much.

Selles made a double switch with a little under 20 minutes to play which saw Amadou Mbengue and Ben Elliott come on for Mukairu and Dorsett.

Wing put seal on the victory when Azeez rolled the ball back into his path and he accepted the invitation to shoot by thumping a fierce drive past Holy to make it 4-1.

The Royals put more gloss on the scoreline when Azeez broke through and slammed the ball past the keeper to break his long scoring drought.

Reading had chances to find a sixth as Knibbs went in search of his hat-trick in stoppage time as he blasted over the top.

Reading now head into FA Cup action on Sunday away to non-league outfit Eastleigh.

Reading: Button, Yiadom, Abbey, Bindon, Dorsett, Craig, Wing, Azeez, Knibbs, Mukairu, Smith

Subs: Pereira, Holmes, Elliott, Savage, Ehibhatiomhan, Mbengue, Carson

Carlisle United: Holy, Armer, Moxon, Lavelle, Gibson, Garner, Robinson, McGeouch, Mellish, Barclay, Emmanuel

Subs: Breeze, Edmondson, McCalmont, Butterworth, Whelan, Maguire, Plange

Goals: Lavelle 26’ (og), Plange 29’, Knibbs 32’, 39’, Wing 78’, Azeez 83’

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