A defensive howler from Dennis Souza handed 10-man Reading their second victory of the week.

The Royals, fresh from their victory over Coventry on Monday night, came away with all three points after Brazilian centre-back Souza hit an attempted back-pass straight to Kevin Doyle, who crossed for Brynjar Gunnarsson to fire into the empty net.

It was a deserved breakthrough for the Royals, who were barely troubled despite having to play more than half the match with 10 men after Jimmy Kebe was dismissed following a tangle with Souza, and they could have scored more had it not been for inspirational Reds goalkeeper Heinze Muller.

The Reds were only kicked into action after they went behind and both Kayode Odejayi and Jon Macken went close to snatching a late equaliser, while at the other end Doyle should have put the game to bed with a chance on the edge of the area.

Reds manager Simon Davey was forced to make one change to his starting XI with Rob Kozluk's absence with a hamstring injury meaning a recall for Marciano Van Homoet, while Reading boss Steve Coppell named an unchanged line up.

The visitors enjoyed much of the early possession and were denied an early breakthrough when Muller tipped Doyle's flicked header round the post.

Despite their early dominance, however, the Royals looked susceptible on the counter-attack and they almost got caught out when, after a poor defensive clearance, the ball fell to Macken who shot over the bar.

The hosts had a promising opportunity moments later with a free-kick on the edge of the area, but, after a layoff from Hugo Colace, on-loan winger Simon Whaley sent a woeful shot well wide of the target.

Barnsley striker Jamie Cureton went close with an audacious chip from outside the box but Marcus Hahnemann was alert enough to back-pedal and gather the ball.

After a quiet period the game sprung into life in the 35th minute when Kebe was sent off for raising his hands after a tangle with Souza.

The Tykes, eager to take advantage of their numerical advantage, began the second half brightly and top-scorer Macken warmed the hands of Hahnemann with a long-range shot.

But Reading were by no means second best and they went close to finding the net when Ivar Ingimarsson found himself unmarked at the far post and was only denied the opening goal by an outstretched hand from Muller.

The visitors did take the lead in the 64th minute after a defensive mistake from Souza left Gunnarsson to knock into the empty net.

And despite some late pressure from the hosts, Reading held on for a deserved victory.
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Ian Wilkinson

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