On a damp afternoon at Hillsborough, Sheffield Wednesday suffered defeat to Reading, their seventh in ten games.
Wednesday came into the game hoping to get their first win at home in 2020, against a Reading side who themselves were struggling for form, with no win in seven.
The game started with a predictable rhythm and the first signs of what would be a scrappy affair, both teams blunt in their attacking phases, with no real creativity or inspiration.
It was the away side who eventually showed some creativity in attack and they opened the scoring in the 21st minute, following some wonderful footwork from Ovie Ejaria. His through ball went straight through the Wednesday defence and Yakou Meite sneaked in from the right to poke home from 12 yards.
As ever it was Ejaria who inflicted further misery on the home side four minutes into the second half, as it was his trickery which drew a foul from defender Osaze Urhoghide, who was sent off for a second bookable offence.
Reading controlled the game from then on, showing Wednesday no glimpses of getting anything from the game. In the 72nd minute the game was won as Reading went two nil up, after Adams’ corner was only half cleared into the path of Yiadom, who smashed it through a block of players, with the faintest of touches off Puşcaş to take the ball past Dawson.
After creating all afternoon, Ejaria got his chance to get on the scoresheet late on, but his shot was saved well by Dawson.
In the final minutes, referee Andy Woolmer pointed to the spot for Reading after a lazy piece of defending from Dominic Iorfa, who dangled a leg. Baldock dispatched the spot-kick, a goal which sent thousands of Owls fans heading for the exits.
Wednesday’s miserable afternoon ended with boos and whistles in the home end, while the jubilant Reading fans roared.
Garry Monk charged down the tunnel after watching his side fail to score for the fourth consecutive home game, the first time that has happened since November 2014, under Stuart Gray.
Reading manager, Mark Bowen, was delighted with the performance of his players and admitted part of their game plan was to subdue the Wednesday fans.
He said: “The conditions were awful but I asked the players to show some football intelligence and I thought we did that.”
After a fine performance from Liverpool loanee Ovie Ejaria, Bowen said: “He can go anywhere he wants in the game. He’s a special talent.”
Sheffield Wednesday manager Garry Monk said: “We’re in a very difficult cycle that we can’t get ourselves out of. The results aren’t good enough.
“What we need is just that one result to go for us, whether it’s a scrappy win or a good win, we just need that to try and signal change.
“I’m not the type of manager that won’t speak honestly and openly. I have been in changing rooms for 25 years, so I know what a good changing room looks like.”
When asked about bringing some experience back into the team, like Sam Hutchinson, Monk said: “Experience won’t help us in this moment, we have already tired that. It’s a case of not being at the level we need. The effort was there today but that extra level of tenacity and pure will to win wasn’t there.
“I have stuck with what we have done well and that hasn’t got us the results we need. I have tried changing personnel to see if that helps, but it hasn’t worked, obviously.”
Sheffield Wednesday: Dawson, Urhoghide, Iorfa, Bӧrner, Palmer, Pelupessy, Lee, da Cruz, Forestieri, Harris, Nuhiu
Reading: Cabral, Yiadom, Morrison, Moore, Richards, Rinomhota, Swift, Méïté, Olise, Ejaria, Puşcaş
Referee: Andy Woolmer
Wednesday: Urhoghide 16’ [Red card 49’]
Reading: Ejaria 67’, Yiadom 81’
Scorers: Méïté 21’, Puşcaş 72’, Baldock 90+1’