Wednesday lose Westwood but start with a win
Royals no match for Bullen’s men
Ten-man Sheffield Wednesday opened the Sky Bet Championship season with a 3-1 win over lacklustre Reading at the Madejski Stadium.
Kadeem Harris, impressing on debut after his free transfer from Cardiff, slotted Wednesday ahead with half an hour gone, only for Yakou Meite to head in an equaliser nine minutes after half-time.
However, Wednesday soon regained their lead through Sam Hutchinson and – after goalkeeper Keiren Westwood had been sent off with 10 minutes remaining after a late challenge on Mo Barrow – substitute Lucas Joao made the points safe at the end.
Wednesday, under the caretaker leadership of Lee Bullen following Steve Bruce’s departure to Newcastle three weeks ago, were the first to threaten with striker Steven Fletcher bringing a good smothering save out of on-loan Everton goalkeeper Joao Virginia at his near post.
Reading, who finished in 20th place in the second tier last term, seven points clear of the relegation zone, replied quickly and Meite nodded well over from a John Swift corner..
Swift then tried his luck from a 25-yard free-kick but his ambitious attempt also sailed high over the crossbar.
Wednesday were content to build patiently but were gifted an opening by a sloppy pass from Danny Loader. Harris sped through but was denied by 19-year-old Portuguese Virginia, again at his near post.
Reading believed they should been awarded a penalty when Andy Yiadom’s shot was blocked near the goal-line by Tom Lees. However, referee James Linington waved away the appeals and indicated that the Wednesday captain had used his chest and not a hand.
Barry Bannan saw a clever chip drift narrowly wide before Wednesday went in front on the half-hour when Harris escaped along the left, cut in and placed a precise effort past Virginia.
Wednesday continued to push forward early in the second half but Reading drew level in the 54th minute. Josh Barrett’s clever chip from the edge of the area was perfect for Meite to nod home past Westwood.
Wednesday were back in front two minutes later when Hutchinson was left unmarked at a Bannan corner to powerfully head past Virginia.
Reading manager Jose Gomes brought on substitute Charlie Adam for his debut and the former Stoke midfielder showed some neat touches, including a fierce long-range shot that flew just over.
Westwood was sent off in the 80th minute when he clattered into Barrow as the forward raced on to a through-ball.
But Wednesday held on comfortably after bringing on reserve goalkeeper Cameron Dawson and they even managed to add a third goal as time expired, when Joao drilling past Virginia on the turn.