Barnsley’s three-game winning run ended with a 2-0 loss at Reading on Saturday. 

The hosts opened the scoring after 17 minutes, as Jacob Brown slipped while trying to clear off the line, then doubled their lead on the hour-mark. 

Although the Reds had at least as many chances as the Royals, it was a more sloppy performance than in recent games. 

Barnsley remain second-bottom but the gap to safety has increased from three points to five after Wigan Athletic won at leaders West Brom to go out of the bottom three.  

Gerhard Struber made two changes to the side that won at Hull City, with Kilian Ludewig and Marcel Ritzmaier coming in for Luke Thomas and Mike Bahre.

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The Reds returned to the 3-4-1-2 formation which helped them beat Middlesbrough a week earlier with Jordan Williams joining Michael Sollbauer and Aapo Halme in central defence while Ludewig and Clarke Oduor were the wing-backs.

Brad Collins had to punch away a swerving 20-yard effort by Ovie Ejaria then, after Jacob Brown won the ball deep in the Reading half, Alex Mowatt overhit a pass which should have put Conor Chaplin clean through on goal in the home penalty area. 

The opening goal arrived in calamitous fashion when John Swift’s free-kick from the right was volleyed towards goal by George Puscas and hit Yakou Meite then Brown could have cleared on the line but seemed to lose his footing and let it roll in. The goal ended a run of three successive clean sheets.

Brown could have made up for his error within a minute but he shot just wide of the bottom left corner from 20 yards. Chaplin then smashed a shot across the face of goal from ten yards out at a tight angle on the right after bringing down Mowatt’s cross. 

Cauley Woodrow missed a massive chance just before half-time when home captain Michael Morrison lost the ball deep in his half but Barnsley’s top-scorer shot wide of the bottom left corner from just inside the box when he could have squared to Brown or Chaplin.

Woodrow was then denied twice by Brazil international goalkeeper Rafael with the last action of the first half. Ludewig made an excellent 50-yard run down the right wing then squared to Woodrow who saw his first effort from just inside the box saved then his follow-up was superbly tipped over. 

For the second game in a row, Oduor was taken off at half-time with Thomas replacing him in a 4-4-2 diamond.  The Royals almost doubled their lead within a minute of the interval but Meite sent a diving header wide from George Puscas’ cross. Struber then brought on Patrick Schmidt and Bahre for Chaplin and Ritzmaier on 56 minutes. 

It was 2-0 after an hour when Puscas outmuscled Halme to get on the end of a long ball and go through on goal then beat Collins with a fine finish from the edge of the box. 

Thomas fired a 30-yard shot straight at the goalkeeper but Reading should have had a third when a good move ended with Ejaria playing in Michael Olise who fired over from 12 yards out on the left of the box.  

Woodrow came agonisingly close yet again when his front post header from Mowatt’s right-wing corner was somehow clawed off the line by Rafael who also stopped Brown putting in the rebound from two yards out. 

The Reds then had a succession of long-range shots in the final 20 minutes which were all off-target as Woodrow tried his luck, three times, as did Mowatt, Thomas and Bahre. 

Barnsley (3-4-1-2): Collins; Sollbauer, Halme, J Williams; Ludewig, Mowatt, Ritzmaier (Bahre 56mins), Oduor (Thomas HT); Woodrow; Brown, Chaplin (Schmidt 56).  Unused: Walton, B Williams, Simoes, Dougall. Yellow cards: Mowatt, J Williams, Sollbauer.

Reading (4-1-4-1): Rafael; Yiadom, Morrison, Miazga, Obita; Swift (Pele 79mins); Rinomohota, Ejaria, Meite (McCleary 64), Olise (Masika 72); Puscas. Unused: Walker, Baldock, Blackett, Masika, Richards, Pele.  Goals: Meite 17, Puscas 60.  

AS IT HAPPENED
  • 13:28pm
     
     
  • GAME UNDERWAY
  • 15:01pm
     
    Jordan Williams down with a knock to the head in the first minute after challenging for the ball. He's up and looks like carrying on
  • 15:04pm
     
    A section of the home fans are very noisy so far, despite their side's bad recent run. The visitors trying to compete. Not much going on on the pitch yet
  • 15:06pm
     
    7 The first shot of the game is for the hosts. Ovie Ejaria unleashes a powerful strike from just outside the box which seems to swerve before Collins punches it away
  • 15:08pm
     
    9 Decent chance for Barnsley as Brown wins the ball then Mowatt can play Chaplin through on goal but overhits the pass and is furious with himself
  • 15:11pm
     
    A pretty even first ten minutes. Barnsley seem to be pressing well and look likely to win the ball in some good positions
  • 15:15pm
     
    Reading seem to be playing a 4-1-4-1 formation with John Swift sitting in front of their back four and George Puscas up front on his own.
  • 15:16pm
     
    Reading have scored
  • 15:17pm
     
    Yakou Meite shoots from a free-kick by John Swift and Jacob Brown cannot clear it on the line
  • 15:18pm
     
    Brown almost levels straight away but shoots wide of the bottom left corner from just outside the box
  • 15:19pm
     
    So Barnsley's run of three straight clean sheets is over
  • 15:23pm
     
    Jacob Brown will be really disappointed with that goal. He should have cleared it but seemed to somehow slip and let it roll in
  • 15:27pm
     
    Barnsley have responded pretty well since the goal but, apart from the Brown shot, are yet to carve out a good chance for 1-1
  • 15:30pm
     
    30 0bita wins a corner on the left, it is taken by punched away by Collins who, a few seconds later, saves a Meite 25-yarder which is straight at him
  • 15:31pm
     
    31 A decent move down the left wing sees Oduor win a corner. It is taken by Mowatt. It is cleared and so is the follow up then a third Mowatt cross falls at the back post to Chaplin who blazes across goal from a tight angle
  • 15:33pm
     
    34 Puscas tries a 25-yard volleyed effort but it sails well wide
  • 15:36pm
     
    This 3-4-1-2 hasn't worked for Barnsley so far. Reading have controlled midfield and they look like getting between wing-backs and back 3 quite easily
  • 15:38pm
     
    YELLOW CARD
    Alex Mowatt first player in the referee's book for pulling back Ejaria
  • 15:40pm
     
    YELLOW CARD
    Jordan Williams is also booked after pulling back Michael Olise as Reading broke after they cleared a Mowatt corner
  • 15:42pm
     
    42 Massive chance for the Reds. Reading captain Michael Morrison loses the ball deep in his half and Woodrow goes through on the right of the box. He chooses to shoot with two team-mates on his left and puts it wide of the bottom left corner
  • 15:45pm
     
    Two minutes added time in the first half
  • 15:45pm
     
    Overall the Reds have had the better chances but they have not played well as in previous matches
  • 15:47pm
     
    45+2 Woodrow has two big chances just before half-time whistle. Ludewig runs down right and squares to him, his first effort is saved by Rafael who then brilliantly tips over the rebound by the same player
  • 15:48pm
     
    HALF-TIME: Reading 1, Barnsley 0. A slow start for the Reds who conceded a bizarre goal but they have finished the half strongly and had more chances than their hosts over the first 45 minutes
  • 16:01pm
     
    Luke Thomas has come on for Clarke Oduor as Barnsley return to 4-4-2.
  • 16:03pm
     
    SECOND HALF UNDERWAY
  • 16:03pm
     
    46 The Royals almost add to their lead seconds into the second half as George Puscas's cross from the right is headed wide by Yakou Meite
  • 16:05pm
     
    Attendance: 13, 263 (735 from Barnsley)
  • 16:08pm
     
    Barnsley are certainly passing the ball around nicely in midfield. They look more comfortable back in the diamond
  • 16:11pm
     
    YELLOW CARD
    Michael Sollbauer the third away man booked after bringing down John Swift on a counter-attack
  • 16:12pm
     
    Looks like Mike Bahre is coming on. it should be for Ritzmaier
  • 16:12pm
     
    Patrick Schmidt also coming on
  • 16:13pm
     
    Schmidt replaces Chaplin
  • 16:13pm
     
    Bahre replaces Ritzmaier
  • 16:15pm
     
    58 Woodrow canters into the box but his shot from ten yards is very well-blocked by Matt Miazga. The resulting corner is played short and cleared
  • 16:17pm
     
    GOAL!
    George Puscas doubles the lead
  • 16:19pm
     
    The Romanian striker latched onto a long ball, beat Halme and fired in a good finish from just inside the box
  • 16:20pm
     
    62 Thomas now shoots from 30 yards but it is straight at the goalkeeper
  • 16:21pm
     
    Reading replace Meite with Garath McCleary
  • 16:25pm
     
    Big chance for 3-0.After a good move, Ejaria plays in Olise on the left of the box but he fires over
  • 16:27pm
     
    70 So close to a goal for the Reds. A Mowatt corner is flicked on at the near post by Woodrow but Rafael somehow keeps it out then also denies Brown from point blank range. How did it stay out?
  • 16:28pm
     
    Ayub Masika replaces Michael Olise
  • 16:32pm
     
    15 minutes remaining. Barnsley have been a bit brighter in the last few minutes. Can they make it a nervous finale?
  • 16:33pm
     
    76 Bahre shoots well wide from almost 30 yards
  • 16:35pm
     
    78 Barnsley being restricted to long-range efforts, Woodrow puts a 25-yard volley off target
  • 16:35pm
     
    John Swift is replaced by Pele in Reading's last change
  • 16:39pm
     
    81 Bahre shoots from 30 yards but slips as he hits it and the effort is scuffed, then hits Schmidt's head and loops up for the goalkeeper to catch
  • 16:40pm
     
    84 Woodrow fires a 30-yard free-kick over the bar
  • 16:41pm
     
    84 Yet another long range shot goes well off target, this time from Thomas after a decent run from near the halfway line
  • 16:43pm
     
    86 Big scramble in the home box as both Brown and Schmidt have shots blocked
  • 16:45pm
     
    The last 20 minutes has just been a procession of long-range Barnsley shots over the bar. Alex Mowatt the latest to fire into the stand from around 30 yards
  • 16:49pm
     
    Four added minutes
  • 16:52pm
     
    FULL-TIME: Reading 2, Barnsley 0