Watford 2-0 Reading: Pedro nets double in Hornets win
Watford moved into the play-off positions as Joao Pedro’s double earned them a 2-0 win over Reading at Vicarage Road.
Goals in both halves ensured the Hertfordshire side bounced back from defeat against Coventry last weekend.
Yaser Asprilla and Christian Kabasele came in for the hosts while Reading made five changes from their defeat against Preston, with Sam Hutchinson, Tyrese Fornah, Lucas Joao, Ovie Ejaria and Amadou Mbengue coming in.
Watford were on top early on, although Ken Sema blasted a rebound from a free-kick well over the crossbar after six minutes.
Their good start paid off after 15 minutes when Pedro converted from the penalty spot after he was hauled down in the area by Ejaria.
The goal, the fifth for the Brazilian this season, appeared to galvanise Watford further. Keinan Davis saw his close-range shot on 21 minutes saved after good link-up play with Ismaila Sarr.
A poor start got even worse for Reading after half an hour when keeper Joe Lumley had his foot trodden on by Pedro during a challenge and had to leave the field, with Dean Bouzanis his replacement.
The visitors created their first effort after 34 minutes when Fornah floated a free-kick slightly too high to cause trouble after Asprilla fouled Baba Rahman.
Reading looked more of an attacking force after the interval, with more energy and desire than their first-half showing displayed. Despite their early pressure, their only moment of note came with a corner from Tom Ince that was collected by Daniel Bachmann.
Watford had the potential to add a second goal to their tally and almost did so on 64 minutes. Pedro picked up a pass from Hamza Choudhury and his effort from outside the box was turned away to safety by Bouzanis.
With a solitary goal still separating the sides, there was the opportunity for Reading to haul themselves back in the tie. Ince fired just over the crossbar after a well-worked move with 14 minutes remaining.
At the other end, Pedro dragged his shot just wide of the upright after collecting the ball from Samuel Kalu.
With Yakou Meite and Andy Carroll on as substitutes for Reading, the visitors pressed for an equaliser.
Sarr almost put the game out of reach after rounding Bouzanis, but Amadou Mbengue was able to head off the line.
The game was finally won for Watford four minutes from time when Pedro netted his second on the volley after Bouzanis spilled his effort.