Championship leaders Wolves thrash Reading

Matt Doherty goal

Matt Doherty heads in the opening goal for Wolves

Championship leaders Wolves bounced back from Saturday’s heavy defeat at Aston Villa with victory over struggling Reading at Molineux.

The hosts were frustrated for much of the first half, until full-back Matt Doherty capitalised on hesitant defending to nod Wolves in front.

Cool second-half finishes from Benik Afobe and Doherty sealed three points.

The win was soured slightly by Wanderers’ top scorer Diogo Jota limping off before the break.

But Villa’s home defeat by QPR on Tuesday means Wolves now have a 10-point buffer to their third-placed rivals with nine matches remaining.

Nuno Espirito Santo’s side had won just one of their past five league games heading into the re-arranged fixture against the Royals, postponed because of snow 10 days ago.

Wolves’ 4-1 loss at Villa Park at the weekend saw the Portuguese make four changes to his side, including a first start for Afobe since returning on loan from Bournemouth in January.

And the DR Congo striker rewarded his manager’s faith, slotting in Helder Costa’s cross, in between Doherty’s double.

The right-back’s two strikes were clinical – the first a powerful header from Barry Douglas’ knock back, before stroking the ball in from outside the area.

Wolves still have home games to come against four sides in the bottom half – Burton, Hull, Birmingham and Sheffield Wednesday – as they seek a return to the Premier League for the first time since being relegated in 2012.

Reading, who failed to register a shot on target and have only won one of their past 17 matches, remain in relegation trouble in 19th.

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Wolves finish the season at bottom side Sunderland

Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo:

“Of course we are happy, but on Saturday we were not happy so we are looking for consistency.

“Today I think it was a deserved win and a well-played game. It was a good game, a good performance and a good result.

“I think our fans enjoyed the game, I think we were in control. We managed every situation well, we defended well and we didn’t give anything to Reading who are a good team.

“We know Diogo [Jota] and when he cannot go on the pitch we know he is in pain. Let’s see how he is.”

Reading boss Jaap Stam:

“Of course I am fed up with losing. I can’t do anything about that [my position] and if they want to make changes you need to go to the owners. I spoke to them [the owners] this morning.

“At the end of the day they are very supportive with what they are doing. In the situation we are in I hate it as well. I want to go forward, I want to win my games.

“Hopefully we can see an end to this run. We need to do things differently and the intensity has to be a lot more.

“If you do things with a certain mindset you can make it more difficult for the opposition.”

Live Text

Match ends, Wolverhampton Wanderers 3, Reading 0.

Second Half ends, Wolverhampton Wanderers 3, Reading 0.

Attempt missed. Sone Aluko (Reading) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Leandro Bacuna.

Corner, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Conceded by Anssi Jaakkola.

Attempt saved. Hélder Costa (Wolverhampton Wanderers) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Attempt saved. Hélder Costa (Wolverhampton Wanderers) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Léo Bonatini with a through ball.

Alfred N’Diaye (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by David Edwards (Reading).

Attempt saved. Rúben Neves (Wolverhampton Wanderers) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Attempt blocked. Léo Bonatini (Wolverhampton Wanderers) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Barry Douglas with a headed pass.

Ryan Bennett (Wolverhampton Wanderers) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Ryan Bennett (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Modou Barrow (Reading) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Substitution, Reading. Sam Smith replaces Jón Dadi Bödvarsson.

Substitution, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Alfred N’Diaye replaces Romain Saiss.

Corner, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Conceded by Liam Moore.

Foul by Rúben Neves (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Pelle Clement (Reading) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Goal! Wolverhampton Wanderers 3, Reading 0. Matt Doherty (Wolverhampton Wanderers) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Ivan Cavaleiro.

Substitution, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Léo Bonatini replaces Benik Afobe.

Hélder Costa (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Tyler Blackett (Reading).

Attempt blocked. Ivan Cavaleiro (Wolverhampton Wanderers) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Hélder Costa.

Ivan Cavaleiro (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Leandro Bacuna (Reading).

Benik Afobe (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Modou Barrow (Reading).

Foul by Barry Douglas (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Sone Aluko (Reading) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution, Reading. Leandro Bacuna replaces George Evans.

Foul by Ivan Cavaleiro (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

David Edwards (Reading) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Rúben Neves (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Sone Aluko (Reading) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Romain Saiss (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Modou Barrow (Reading) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Goal! Wolverhampton Wanderers 2, Reading 0. Benik Afobe (Wolverhampton Wanderers) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Hélder Costa.

Hand ball by Benik Afobe (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

George Evans (Reading) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Hélder Costa (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

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