Yakou Meite scored unbeaten Reading’s fastest ever competitive goal to extend their lead at the top of the Championship to seven points with an impressive 4-2 win at Blackburn.
The Ivorian capitalised on good fortune to score after only eight seconds – his third in two games – before in-form Adam Armstrong guided home a beautiful equaliser two minutes later.
Much was made of Blackburn’s potent attack against Reading’s mean defence before the game but Veljko Paunovic’s men highlighted their own dangerous forward line with a blistering start that saw them net another two before the 19th minute through Michael Olise and Josh Laurent’s first Royals goal.
Tony Mowbray’s side were given hope in the 66th minute through Armstrong’s glancing header but the visitors had the final say courtesy of former Rover Lucas Joao, who capped a fine individual performance with a composed finish eight minutes from time.
It’s now seven wins in eight league games for Reading, who made it two consecutive Ewood Park defeats for Blackburn for the first time since March 2019.
Aynsley Pears made his debut in place of the injured Thomas Kaminski for Blackburn, while Joao was drafted in for Reading.
The Royals were ahead early when a long ball struck the heels of Barry Douglas and fell invitingly to Joao who squared for Meite and he had the simplest task of tapping into an empty net.
Blackburn hit back two minutes later through Armstrong’s sumptuous half-volley to convert Harvey Elliott’s cross and breach Reading’s defence for only the second time this season.
But Reading underlined their ambitions with two goals in the space of four ruthless minutes. They regained the lead in the 15th minute, and it was too easy for Olise, who easily glided past Derrick Williams before clinically slotting into the bottom-right corner.
They made it three in the 18th minute when Omar Richards ghosted past Joe Rankin-Costello. His cross was cleared only as far as Laurent who had time to curl beautifully beyond the dive of Pears and in off the post from 20 yards.
Rafael Cabral made a sharp save just before the break to deny Armstrong a second, thwarting his close-range header, and just after half-time, Douglas sent in a searching low cross that just evaded Blackburn’s talisman.
He got his rewards midway through the half with a brilliant, glancing header to guide home Rankin-Costello’s curling cross to net his 10th goal of a prolific season and give the hosts hope of a salvage job.
Cabral made a flying save to deny Lewis Holtby but Joao extinguished all hopes of a comeback late on with a composed run and finish, curling beyond the reach of Pears to extend Reading’s dream start.