Reading 2 Sheffield Wednesday 0: Owls hopes are fading as defence falls apart

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Sheffield Wednesday manager Stuart Gray urged his side to be more solid defensively if they are to stand a chance of making the play-offs.

Wednesday lost at the Madejski Stadium and remain nine points off the top six.

“From two crosses, they scored two goals,” said Gray. “We were then chasing the game.

“I’m so disappointed with that because, away from home, we usually defend very well. But from those two balls into the box, we got punished. It’s so disappointing the way the goals were conceded.”

Reading could have gone ahead early on when Simon Cox forced a fine save from Keiren Westwood.

On a rare Wednesday break, Chris Maguire forced a fine stop from Adam Federici, but Reading’s Garath McCleary wasted two opportunities.

Pavel Pogrebnyak was not so wasteful in the 29th minute. Stephen Kelly crossed from the right and Pogrebnyak rose alone to power home a header.

Eleven minutes later, McCleary found Nathaniel Chalobah on the break and the Chelsea loanee thundered in a half-volley from the edge of the area for his first Reading goal.

Wednesday’s Lewis Baker tried his luck from 20 yards but Federici was up to task and the Owls showed more intent after the interval but were let down by slack approach work. They could have gone 3-0 down when Jeremy Helan brought down Pogrebnyak but Westwood saved Robson-Kanu’s weak spot kick.

Reading: Federici, Stephen Kelly, Hector, Pearce, Obita; McCleary (Blackman 78), Williams, Chalobah; Robson-Kanu (Mackie 78), Cox (Norwood 67), Pogrebnyak. Unused substitutes: Karacan, Travner, Andersen, Cooper.

Sheffield Wednesday: Westwood, Palmer, Lees, Loovens, Mattock (Helan 46); Hutchinson (Dielna 68), Baker (Nuhiu 46), Lee, Maghoma, Maguire; Keane. Unused substitutes: Buxton, May, Coke, Wildsmith.

Referee: B Malone (Wiltshire).

Man of the match: Garath McCleary.