Nottingham Forest suffered a 2-1 defeat at Reading’s Madejski Stadium this evening.The hosts turned the game on its head after Ben Osborn had coolly put Forest in front, Matej Vydra and Oliver Norwood finding the net in the second half.
Forest’s problems in central defence also continued after Kelvin Wilson hobbled off in the first half.
Paul Williams made a number of changes to the side that lost to Brentford on Saturday.
Henri Lansbury returned to the starting line-up as captain, joining Kelvin Wilson, Oliver Burke and Dexter Blackstock.
Michael Mancienne and Eric Lichaj were unavailable through injury and suspension. Gary Gardner filled in for the latter at right back, while Federico Macheda dropped to the bench.
Forest had the first chance of the match on three minutes when Blackstock nudged the ball into the middle after receiving a cross at the back post. Lansbury was first on the scene to flick it goalwards but Ali Al Habsi was able to make the save.
Reading’s response came from experienced forward Yann Kermogant, who headed the ball across goal only for ex-Royal Matt Mills to hack it off the line.
Kermogant came close again moments later, producing another good header but this time being left frustrated by an excellent save from Dorus de Vries.
Former Forest men Chris Gunter and Simon Cox were both named in Reading’s starting line-up and the latter tried his luck on 19 minutes after showing good feet just outside the area. He could only fire the ball over.
Reds midfielder Osborn scored a sensational goal in last season’s trip to the Madejski and he sensed an opportunity to repeat the feat on 24 minutes when he collected the ball 30 yards out. He sent it whistling towards the top corner but Al Habsi did brilliantly to push it over one-handed.
Two Reading chances followed, Paul McShane heading the ball over and de Vries making a strong save from Danny Williams before Gardner found himself in the book for hauling back Jordan Obita.
With Mancienne and Jack Hobbs both facing lengthy lay-offs, the central defence area was one of concern for Forest going into the match.
And their problems worsened on 32 minutes when Wilson hobbled off the field with an injury. Danny Fox replaced him.
Forest needed no sympathy for their injury plight, however, as on 41 minutes they took the lead. David Vaughan supplied Lansbury, who in turn threaded the ball into the area for Osborn to finish calmly with his weaker right foot.
Cox saw an effort deflect wide before Kermogant curled the ball narrowly over in added time, leaving The Reds to return to their dressing room with their lead in tact.
The home side started the second half on the front foot and, moments after de Vries had made a good save following a goalmouth scramble, Kermogant saw yet another header flash wide.
It could have been 2-0 to the visitors on 58 minutes, however, but for a brilliant Al Habsi save.
Burke pulled the ball back and Lansbury left it for Osborn on the edge of the area. The left midfielder struck the ball sweetly but Al Habsi dived to his right to keep it out in spectacular fashion.
At the other end, Williams fired a low shot comfortably wide before having his path blocked brilliantly by Bojan Jokic when he looked certain to score at the back post.
Seconds later, however, the home side had their equaliser when substitute Vydra got the final touch on Norwood’s long-range effort, ensuring the ball flew past de Vries and into the corner.
Williams made his first change during the subsequent stoppage, Jamie Ward replacing Burke down the right, before Lansbury came off for Robert Tesche on 74 minutes. Mills was handed the captain’s armband.
Had Norwood been left frustrated by Vydra’s poaching instincts robbing him of a potential goal earlier in the match, those emotions were to be short-lived because he fired his side into the lead on 81 minutes. The midfielder curled the ball off the inside of the post from 25 yards and it bounced over the line.
Osborn looked like Forest’s most promising prospect in their search for an equaliser and he nearly provided one with two minutes to play. Much to the agony of the 816 travelling fans, he flashed the ball inches wide of the far post with a low, driven effort from the corner of the box.
The Reds were unable to find an equaliser in added time, the match ending 2-1 to Reading.
Forest: De Vries, Gardner, Mills, Wilson (Fox 32'), Jokic, O.Burke (Ward 69'), Vaughan, Cohen, Osborn, Lansbury (c) (Tesche 74'), Blackstock
Subs not used: Evtimov, Macheda, O'Grady, Grant
Goal: Osborn 41'
Booking: Gardner 32'
Reading: Al-Habsi, Gunter, Obita, McShane (c), Cooper, Norwood, Williams, Quinn, Piazon (John 61'), Cox (Vydra 61'), Kermorgant
Subs not used: Bond, Taylor, Evans, Hector, Ferdinand
Goals: Vydra 68', Norwood 81'
Referee: Dean Whitestone
Attendance: 15,678 (816 away)