Report: Dons 1-0 Reading
Joe Walsh’s first goal for the Club ultimately earned the men from MK1 the three points but the performance, against a strong Royals side, will also delight the manager and fans alike.
Walsh and Jake Forster-Caskey returned to the starting XI in place of the suspended Antony Kay and Ben Reeves for the clash with the Royals.
The Dons started in a positive manner and Nicky Maynard forced Ali Al-Habsi into a smart save from a header on 13 minutes after meeting Jordan Spence’s cross.
Forster-Caskey then headed Samir Carruthers’ delivery over the top following a clever run forward as the men from MK1 began to look more dangerous.
A brilliant block from Dean Lewington denied Gareth McCleary as the Royals posed their first real threat, that prior to Carruthers firing over the top from long range.
David Martin kept the Dons on level terms with half an hour played when he superbly tipped Lucas Piazon’s 25-yard effort round the post.
Josh Murphy almost created the opener for Rob Hall on 35 minutes but the latter couldn’t get enough on the low cross after the Norwich City loanee had beaten his man.
Maynard ever so nearly latched on to a Hall through-ball following nice play by Carruthers while, at the other end, Matej Vydra dragged an effort wide when well placed after McCleary had broken.
A Hall strike, wide of the target, was the last real action of the half, while the first chance of the second period fell to Oliver Norwood, who was magnificently denied by Martin from 25 yards.
Martin was again up to the task on 58 minutes when he thwarted McCleary at the back post after the ball had fallen to the attacker following some strong defending.
At the other end, Carruthers’ teasing delivery just after the hour mark had to be dealt with by Anton Ferdinand in front of the lurking Hall and Maynard.
Forster-Caskey played in Maynard on 70 minutes with an incisive pass but, after latching on to it, his effort was thwarted by Al-Habsi, who was quick off his line.
That lifted the Dons, who went close through Murphy and Forster-Caskey, the latter being denied after a strong burst into the box.
However, the breakthrough came on 78 minutes when Joe Walsh scored his first goal for the Club, acrobatically volleying home Hall’s corner from close range after Reading had failed to initially clear.
Reading pushed for an equaliser but the Dons comfortably saw out the remaining minutes to earn a massive win – their third win in four on home soil.
Starting XI: Martin; Spence, McFadzean, Walsh, Lewington (c); Potter, Forster-Caskey; Hall (Upson 86), Carruthers (Hodson (90+2), Murphy (Bowditch 90+3); Maynard.
Unused subs: Cropper, Reeves, Church, Hitchcock.
Goals: Walsh (78).
Attendance: 13, 062 (2,190 Reading fans).