Lucas Joao shoots Reading back up Championship table after a double against Stoke

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Reading went ahead in only the second minute, when Lucas Joao - on his 29th birthday - took advantage of poor Stoke defending. But the visitors drew level in the 40th minute through Ben Wilmot and went in 1-1 at the break. Joao struck again, from a penalty in the 57th minute, but Stoke produced a poor second-half display and were unable to find another equaliser. Neil took charge of Stoke last Sunday, having left his job as head coach of Sunderland, to replace the dismissed Michael O'Neill at the Potteries club and is now winless in his first two games. In Neil's first match at the helm, his new side drew 1-1 at home to Swansea on Wednesday thanks to Tyrese Campbell's stoppage-time equaliser. Reading had gone top of the Championship eight days ago - after a third successive victory - but had since slipped to seventh place. They began brightly and took the lead on their first foray forward. Home keeper Joe Lumley launched a huge clearance via route one and counterpart Jack Bonham, racing out of his area, totally misjudged it - allowing the ball to bounce over his head. Joao's half-hit effort was on target but backtracking Stoke defender Aden Flint should have done better than inadvertently divert it into his own net. Stoke responded with a patient approach, building slowly from midfield before trying to penetrate the rigid Reading defence. They had little joy, though, with Lewis Baker firing weakly at Lumley from distance and a dangerous Tarique Fosu cross from the left evading all his team-mates. Reading soaked up the sporadic pressure with ease and should have doubled their lead shortly after the half-hour mark. Tom Holmes headed back a Junior Hoilett corner but Shane Long blazed over when it seemed easier to score. It proved costly, with Stoke equalising five minutes before the break. Flint made amends for his earlier error, nodding the ball into the six-yard box from a Fosu corner for Wilmot to pounce from close range. Stoke opened the second half with gusto, Campbell escaping along the left flank and crossing precisely into the home area. But Sam Clucas, rushing in from deep, failed to compose himself and drove wildly over. Reading regained their lead 12 minutes after the interval, after Joao had latched on to a Tyrese Fornah pass and been clumsily brought down by Wilmot. Joao thumped the resultant spot kick past Bonham for his third goal of the season. Stoke tried to find another leveller but their endeavours lacked guile and Reading held on reasonably comfortably for a fourth successive home league win this season.

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