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Veljko Paunovic pleased to see Reading rediscover form in Luton win

Reading v Luton Town – Sky Bet Championship – Madejski Stadium
(Image credit: Tess Derry)

Reading manager Veljko Paunovic felt that his team reproduced their rampant early-season form – at least in the first half – as they earned a hard-fought 2-1 Sky Bet Championship win over Luton.

Centre-back Tom McIntyre gave Reading a ninth-minute lead from a superb volley and Alfa Semedo made it 2-0 before the break.

Luton improved markedly after the interval but could find no way through until a fine 25-yard strike from substitute Kazenga LuaLua in the 90th minute.

Reading won seven of their opening eight league matches this season.

“It was a very important win,” Paunovic said. “It was not in the nicest way but definitely the needed one.

“In the first half we were very dynamic, with a very narrow approach and clinical in our execution.

“The performance and the spirit were exactly what we had at the beginning of the season.

“Unfortunately, in the second half, we were not consistent with the ball possession and we had to change our approach a little bit.

“But we defended well until we conceded the late goal. This happens but we will definitely look to address that and fix it.

“We then almost started to be nervous and our win was almost put in jeopardy.”

Reading-born McIntyre’s goal was his first for a club he joined at eight years old.

“It was a beautiful goal, very well executed,” Paunovic said. “It was a prepared set-piece and I’m so happy for Tom.

“I know how long that he has been at the club and he is practically the club’s child.

“It was very important for him and he has had to wait a long time for his opportunity.

“It came in today’s game, in which he had to play in a little modified position than what he’s used to.

“But he has a great memory and he was very solid defensively as well.”

Luton have now won only twice in 11 matches.

Manager Nathan Jones said: “Yes, we were undone by two goals from only two shots on target, but that can happen to you at this level.

“There’s a lot of good sides that can do that. Their second goal was a really swift counter-attack and the other one was from a set-play.

“I’m a bit disappointed that we should have been better in the build-up to their second goal. We gave the ball away too cheaply.

“We should have been better. We had people running off us and that can’t happen. You get punished when it does.

“But we had enough of the game to have scored two goals today.

“We scored one but we had plenty of chances and should have had a penalty. We also put in umpteen amounts of crosses.

“We also had a lot of opportunities around their box. We just need to show a little bit more quality.”

Of his three substitutions at half-time, Jones said: “Look, we’ve got three games in a week and we want to make the most of those.

“We’ve had to mix the side up a bit but we weren’t getting any impact, so I really had to make changes.

“I thought that the subs made a really good impact. We just needed to be a little bit more fluent in what we were doing.

“If we had been, we’d have got something from the game.”