A TOOTHLESS Reading FC display saw them continue their downward spiral following a 2-0 defeat to Championship table-topping AFC Bournemouth.

Goals either side of the break from Dominic Solanke and Jamal Lowe condemned Veljko Paunovic’s hosts to their third defeat on the spin.

Royals had plenty of chances but a lack of end product was rightly punished by Scott Parker’s ruthless Cherries.

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Paunovic was forced into one change to his starting XI with goal-shy George Puscas coming into replace the injured Femi Azeez. Royals’ injury crisis was clear to see with a bench comprised almost entirely of youth team players.

High-flying Bournemouth’s squad meanwhile was boosted by the return of Lewis Cook following a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

All the focus was on Scott Parker’s Cherries but it was Reading who thought they had taken the lead when Puscas missed an early sitter.

Reading Chronicle: Andy Yiadom drives forward. Image via Jason Dawson.Andy Yiadom drives forward. Image via Jason Dawson.

John Swift had darted beyond Bournemouth’s defence and cut the ball back perfectly for Puscas who lost his footing at the final hurdle. Thankfully, the

Romanian international’s blushes were spared after the linesman deemed Swift to have been offside.

Puscas should have had the ball in the net for a second time with 17 minutes on the clock after a sublime piece of skill by Swift.

The ex-Chelsea man’s Rabona-style cross fell perfectly for Puscas in the middle of the 18-yard box but he could only guide the ball narrowly wide of Mark Travers’ net.

Bournemouth did finally start to find the passing rhythm and the ever-tricky Ryan Christie was a constant thorn in Royals’ side.

Reading Chronicle:  Image via Jason Dawson Image via Jason Dawson

The 26-year-old did brilliantly to work an angle on the right-wing but curled his strike wildly over Luke Southwood’s crossbar with 30 minutes played.

Parker’s visitors looked bereft of ideas going forward but did take the lead against the run of play right on the stroke of half time.

A corner from the left was nodded back across the six-yard box by Gary Cahill and Dominic Solanke had the easiest of finishes to nod the ball into the back of the net from just inches away.

Puscas’ third clear-cut opportunity of the game fell after 53 minutes following another pin-point delivery from Swift fell kindly to the ex-Inter Milan man. 

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Royals’ only fit, senior striker - who has not scored in 19 league games - tried to stab the ball beyond Travers’ reach but was superbly denied by Lloyd Kelly’s last-gasp tackle.

But the visitors soon doubled their lead after a costly error from Danny Drinkwater gifted the ball to substitute Jamal Lowe.

Lowe, once a transfer target for Royals, had time and space to pick his spot and simply curled the ball beyond Southwood’s reach and into the bottom corner.

In truth, Reading looked a different team in the second half and struggled to show any of the attacking creativity they displayed in the opening 45 minutes.

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Their first real sight at goal fell on the 80th minute when Drinkwater lined up a volley from the edge of the area but got his execution horribly wrong.

Paunovic swapped Puscas for Jahmari Clarke with five minutes to play as Royals desperately tried to claw their way back into the game.

But they were thwarted by a resilient travelling defence as Parker’s Bournemouth stayed calm to claim all three points in front of a less than impressed home crowd.