Ruben Selles praised Reading’s character after they moved nine points clear of the League One relegation zone thanks to a comfortable 2-0 win over Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Stadium.

Selles was all smiles after striker Sam Smith put the visitors in command after eight minutes with a close-range header before Lewis Wing doubled the lead just before half-time with a stunning 25-yard free-kick.

“It takes a lot of character to win in the circumstances where we are fighting against relegation,” Selles said.

“We did a really good job to get the three points and we hope that with this result and the coming performances we will have done enough to stay in the league.

“But I think this season for Reading is never done until the final whistle – and maybe after that – but we can only control what happens on the pitch until then.

“We are just thinking about getting as many points as possible because we never know what might happen, but hopefully nothing else will happen with processes.”

Selles added: “We have been talking about how the team has been growing and maturing and today we did the job in the first half and then you could not expect us to dominate for the 100 minutes.

“They had good players to send on at half-time and they made it difficult for us over a period of 15-20 minutes but after that we regained control and we finished strongly.

“We enjoyed the victory and we enjoyed celebrating with our fans because we go all in and they enjoy that.

“Sometimes we don’t get what we want and sometimes we do but there is no doubt we go all in every single time we play.

“The way we do things is exciting for the fans and the way we play is good for the fans and the way we have connected is great.”

While Reading fans celebrated victory, Rovers fans booed their side at the final whistle following a record-extending seventh game without a goal

Manager Matt Taylor said he understood their frustration but asked for the poor run to be seen in context.

“It is understandable because they don’t like what they see at the moment but they are not alone in that,” Taylor said.

“As the manager I have to find a way to make the team function better than we did tonight.

“Moments in the game just dictate everything and certainly the weakness within us to concede that first goal in the manner we did is so frustrating.

“And then they were on top of us because they understand the situation and they don’t like what they see.

“But there is a deeper story. We all know the elephant in the room as regards where players are going to be towards next season.

“But there are still four games left this season so there is enough to play for to show their pride because the supporters want to see fight and endeavour.

“They probably saw that at the start of the second half, which is close to what I want to see out on the pitch, but they didn’t like the way it derailed towards the end.”

Reading manager Ruben Selles praised Portuguese goalkeeper Joel Pereira for his superb first-half display in the 1-0 Sky Bet League One victory over mid-table Northampton.

Pereira, formerly deputy to David Button in the Reading goal, kept his side in contention in the opening period with a series of fine saves to thwart the lively Cobblers attackers.

It set up the platform for home substitute Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan to secure the victory in the 65th minute with a superb curling shot from the edge of the penalty area.

“We made a change and Joel is fighting for that position [in goal] with everything he has,” Selles said.

“He was really good today, he kept us in the game in those [first half] moments.

“But I still don’t really think I got a big performance out of the team today, I just got a massive result.

“We did not get a massive performance, it was not our best game – nowhere near to being good enough from any of us.

“It was an equal game, both teams had chances. Northampton are a good team, a very solid team, but I expected a little bit more from us. I think that we can do better.

“Don’t misunderstand me, I will take a victory any day. The thing is that, in some games in the season, we played much better than we did today – and we didn’t get anything at all.

“Today was not our best – as a team, as a collective. But at least we were consistent enough to get the three points.”

Northampton have won only once in their past seven outings and boss Jon Brady said: “I’m quite pleased with the performance but the result is the disappointing thing today.

“In all our pre-game prep, I haven’t seen a team come here like we have and press Reading from the front. And the success we got from it.

“We had some really got chances in that first half. Sam [Hoskins] has two great efforts and their keeper makes two excellent saves. It’s fine margins today, isn’t it?

“We defended well, we pressed really well and we probably created more chances than we have in any game for a long while. Unfortunately, (we) just haven’t put the ball in the back of the net.

“And their goal was a little easy. We had worked so well all day, then they score.

“And the boys all know it. They’re just really disappointed about the result because of the way that we played.

“When Louis [Appere] went in one on one in the first half, he’s hit the target.

“But, again, their keeper has done really well. On other occasions, those sort of chances go in.”

Reading manager Ruben Selles praised the strong character of his players for brushing aside the club’s off-field worries to secure a vital 4-0 League One victory over Cambridge.

Goals from Sam Smith and Femi Azeez gave Reading, who are still beset by constant cash-flow problems, a commanding half-time lead and they cruised past Cambridge after the break with further efforts from Lewis Wing and Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan.

“It was really important for me to see the character of the team as the week has been another difficult one for us,” Selles said.

“The boys have been working really hard to get that kind of performance and to get those goals.

“We focused on the task in hand and it is good to find a group of players who want to compete for each other in that way.

“I’m very proud of what they did today.

“We were very ruthless in the final third, very ruthless in what we did. I would like to see that more often.

“It’s not myself who kept the players focused. I think they learnt themselves to keep focused as individuals and as a team.

“It was a great expression of the character of the dressing room. The team is alive, it means that it has that life inside.

“It makes them really difficult to beat and they showed that. So it’s not down to me, it’s absolutely them.”

Struggling Cambridge, with new head coach Garry Monk three matches into his reign, lost heavily to Reading after a previous 6-0 defeat at Lincoln on Tuesday.

“It’s been a difficult week,” said Monk. “But I’m not going to lose any belief in the squad.

“It’s been a difficult two games that we’ve had but I’ve seen enough in the players, the ability is there.

“But it’s been a symptom of these two games. We started this one well enough and with a bit of momentum.

“But it seems that every time we get that bit of momentum, we kind of shoot ourselves in the foot.

“The first two goals were similar to Tuesday (against Lincoln). They were just poor goals, just individual errors, whether that’s down to concentration or decision-making.

“And it leads straight to a goal. Unfortunately, that’s what happened on Tuesday and that’s what happened today.

“There were quite a few large spells in the game overall when we were quite competent with the ball and were doing OK.

“But we come out in the second half, again gain momentum, but not taking our opportunities is then compounded by Reading’s last two goals.

“And then you’re out of the game.”

Reading manager Ruben Selles called on his side to rediscover that “extra percentage” after they failed to capitalise on their second-half dominance in the 2-1 defeat at home to Wycombe.

Wanderers went ahead early on through a superb overhead kick from on-loan defender Nigel Lonwijk but Reading equalised with 16 minutes left thanks to Sam Smith’s 10th goal of the season.

However, the visitors then clinched a dramatic 88th-minute victory when Beryly Lubala netted a penalty after Clinton Mola had clumsily fouled Chem Campbell in the home area.

“We are creating and putting ourselves in situations to score,” Selles said. “But we need to find that extra percentage at the end to make the chances count, to make the goals.

“We were not near to being ourselves in the first half. We suffered in certain situations that we should not have suffered.

“We were disconnected in some of those moments, but in the second half we were the team who wanted to do things. We were the best team on the pitch.

“Sometimes that happens in football, when you don’t play well for all of the 90 or 100 minutes, but we were able to come back, to get it to 1-1. And then from one of Wycombe’s few attacks in the second half, it came down to that penalty that we could have easily avoided.

”The atmosphere was fantastic, the crowd was with us even though we were not at our best in the first half.

“In the second half, you could feel it every time we were approaching the goal and when we scored. The environment was really good.”

Wycombe picked up their second win in six league matches, much to the delight of manager Matt Bloomfield.

“I thought that we were absolutely excellent in the first half. Maybe as good as we have been in my tenure here for 45 minutes. We were very good,” he said.

“We could have been further ahead and I was slightly disappointed at half-time that we weren’t.

“It was never going to be the same in the second half and Reading used their athleticism a lot once the game had spaced out.

“They used that incredibly well, we knew that they are a good team.

“We had to dig in at times but we then managed to find a special moment at the end [Lubala’s penalty]. That was incredibly pleasing.

“It was disappointing to give their goal away from a set-piece situation and we knew then that we had to transition into more of a low block.

“It was a case of protecting the space behind us. The athleticism that Reading have was causing us issues.

“As well as a growing team, I want us to be a winning team.”

Ruben Selles hailed his goalscorers after Reading beat basement boys Carlisle 3-1 in Sky Bet League One.

Sam Smith, who earlier hit a post, opened the scoring before Harvey Knibbs’ double at Brunton Park.

Playmaker Knibbs bagged a brace in the corresponding fixture when the Royals hammered the struggling Cumbrians 5-1.

For Knibbs it was his 14th and 15th goals of a fruitful campaign.

Jon Mellish’s second-half header was in vain as Paul Simpson’s side slumped to a ninth loss in 10.

Selles said: “I always think the strikers, when they play for my teams, they have a lot of jobs to do – the first is to score goals of course.

“Sam missed the first one by an inch when he hit the post then he scored. We’re happy with his performance and he needs to keep working like that.

“He (Knibbs) just needs to continue doing what he’s doing.

“It all depends on where he wants to go. The team is putting him in positions to score goals and to lead assists.

“It’s about him continuing to perform well and working hard.

“Hopefully in the next 10 games he can score more goals and get more assists.”

Relegation-threatened Carlisle were once again outclassed and boss Simpson admitted his side struggled to cope with the Royals.

He said: “I agree, they’re a very good side. I knew they were a good side. I tried to play them down a little bit on Thursday, but I expected it to be a tough game.

“The pace that they had and the way they’re able to play, they’re as good a side I’ve seen here this season.

“We struggled. We struggled against the pace. We had to change the pace and try to sure it up. When you do that, it opens up areas where they can exploit you.

“The massive thing I’ve seen at League One level is the athleticism of the opposition we’re coming up against. We can only aspire to bring that type of player into the football club because that’s where we’ve fallen short this season.

“They’re strong, they’re quick. Yiadom, Wing, Azeez, they’re good footballers. I said before the game that I felt for the players, staff and fans for what’s happening at the club.

“But if they keep that group of players together they’ll be a real threat next season.”

New Port Vale manager Darren Moore was “bitterly disappointed” with the closing stages of the 2-0 League One defeat at Reading as late goals led to Moore’s second successive defeat since taking charge.

Vale offered little throughout a scrappy affair and Reading’s constant second-half pressure paid off through Lewis Wing, in the 76th minute, and Harvey Knibbs seven minutes later.

Vale, now eight games without a win, lie two points from safety but have games in hand over most of the teams above them.

Moore, who succeeded the sacked Andy Crosby last week, said: “I was bitterly disappointed with those last 16 or 17 minutes.

“It was a lapse in concentration that’s once again undone us this evening and we have to be better than that.

“It’s those small percentages that can decide a game and you have to be better at them, in order to drag the game by the scruff of the neck and get that positive result that we need.

“I’m disappointed because we didn’t deserve that tonight but, at the same time, we’ve only got ourselves to blame.

“There was a lot of positives, though. We had just one day to work on our shape, we had two classroom sessions, and the boys applied themselves absolutely spot on.

“Reading didn’t really cause us too much trouble in their rotations and play. We kind of saw a lot of those things off.

“In terms of us with the ball, I was pleased with the back to the middle to the attack.

“If there is one small criticism, it is probably getting those bodies in (to the penalty area) and finishing off what we had maintained throughout the game.

“We needed to commit those bodies forward to get that final contact on the ball. And it will come.”

Reading are now six points clear of the relegation zone.

“It was a good way to respond after Saturday (when they lost 4-1 at leaders Portsmouth),” said manager Ruben Selles.

“We spoke after the game and for me, that game did not reflect the way that we played and the way that we performed. Tonight reflects more the way that we play.

“It took us 15 to 20 minutes to adjust things because it was just Darren’s second game and he changed the formation that Vale usually play.

“We were prepared for a different scenario so early on it was more competitive than we first expected.

“But we adjusted after that and, after half-time, we fully adjusted in the second half. We then dominated the game.

“We stayed patient, we built up the game. When the game is open, we can be very dynamic.”

Reading manager Ruben Selles felt his side deserved the victory as they defeated promotion-chasing Derby 1-0 in League One.

The win came off the back of news that the Berkshire side were given a suspended three-point deduction for the abandonment of their recent game against Port Vale due to a pitch invasion.

A second-half goal from Paul Mukairu proved the difference in a game that closes the survival gap to four points.

While Selles was unsurprised with the decision of the EFL, he preferred to focus on his side.

He said “We are very happy with the performance of the team and the boys. They responded really well and got three points towards our target. We need to continue like we did today.

“We still need to improve, sometimes in that final third especially we miss the last pass.

“One was enough today but we could have closed the game if we found that final pass better.

“If you see previous cases from the EFL, the statement and punishment they put out today was in line with the other clubs – we knew that was going to come.

“The fans made their point last time, and they made their point today that they were supportive on the pitch. What we saw today was a team playing well.”

Reading had the first opportunity on 16 minutes when captain Andy Yiadom turned in the box but saw his shot come off the post and into the arms of keeper Josh Vickers.

The home side went ahead nine minutes after the interval. Femi Azeez found the woodwork – the third time in the match the ball had hit the post – but the rebound fell into the path of Mukairu who slotted home for his fifth goal of the season.

Reading were clearly growing in confidence after going ahead, although they perhaps should have been pegged back on 64 minutes when Tyreece John-Jules directed a header wide.

That was as good as it got for Derby, who disappointed in their chance to go top, leaving manager Paul Warne frustrated at the lacklustre display.

He said “Disappointed, we had a good opportunity to get to the top of the league.

“I thought we got outfought and outrun. We didn’t win enough second balls and if you can’t play the way you want to play you have to roll your sleeves up.

“We got caught too many times in the middle of the pitch, and I don’t think we did enough in the final third to win the game.

“Maybe I should have freshened the side up a bit more, but we have got a really talented team.

“To go top, I would expect more from my team and the dressing room expects more as well.”

Reading manager Ruben Selles fears that the club may be forced to play home games behind closed doors “maybe for the rest of the season” after their League One match against Port Vale was abandoned.

Play was halted at 0-0 in the 17th minute after around 1,000 home fans invaded the pitch in the latest protest against Chinese owner Dai Yongge, who is trying to sell the club.

After repeated PA announcements for the fans to leave the pitch – including a threat of the game being called off – a hardcore group of about 40 stood in the centre circle and refused to move back to the stands.

Both clubs consulted with the EFL over the situation but at 4.25pm, the game was abandoned and will be restaged at a later midweek date.

“We know that there could be repercussions,” Selles said. “A points deduction is unlikely, but it can happen.

“It could be that we play with an empty stadium for one or two games or even the rest of the season.

“There could be a financial punishment, of course.

“It’s a big variety of things and it will be up to a panel of experts to decide.”

Selles added: “We knew that something was going on (the planned on-pitch protest) from reading the social media and all its comments.

“Basically, I had a decision to make. The decision was to come here to compete and don’t get distracted by those things.

“If it happened, we will just take it. Sometimes, with social media, things never happen. So if you lose focus and concentration, you can be late into the game.

“You can then lose the game because you were not ready in the key moments.

“Then it happened and we just took it as it comes. We went inside, people (the fans) made their point clear and the game got postponed.

“After the pitch invasion, I made sure that our players and their (Vale) players were all inside the players’ tunnel.

“Not that I was worried about the situation. I knew that our people (the fans) were not going to make any stupidity in that way.

“The invasion was not aggressive, it was passive. It was just to make the point.

“Listen, I’m sympathetic with the fact that we all want the best for Reading football club.

“I think our fans are proud with what the team is doing, the way in which we are playing and competing.

“But the fans are getting frustrated about the similar things that we are.

“I’m sympathetic but, really, what I want is just to play football matches and win football matches.”

Vale manager Andy Crosby was not available for comment on the abandonment afterwards.

But the club later posted on X, formerly Twitter: “Today’s Sky Bet League One match against Reading has been abandoned. We’d like to thank our supporters for making the trip to Berkshire and wish you a safe trip back.”

Proud Reading boss Ruben Selles saluted his team’s spirit and progress after they pocketed a precious point at promotion-chasing Peterborough.

The struggling Royals twice battled back from behind to share the spoils with the League One top-scorers, as goals from Sam Smith and Femi Azeez cancelled out efforts from Josh Knight and Ephron Mason-Clark.

Reading remain in the bottom four of League One, but Selles said: “The point is good for us, but the performance we produced and knowing we can compete in this type of game is even better.

“Peterborough are one of the best opponents in the division and getting a result here is very difficult, so I’m proud of my team.

“We had some problems as it was a new team with a lot of new characters. It took a little bit of time for us to find the connection but I think they have found it now. For me it is a pleasure to work with these players.

“The target is to be a team that is difficult to beat, that want to play together, that want to fight together and want to do great things which we showed today.

“Femi has become a very important player for us. He can make the difference with the assist and the goal, but he is also a big part of what we do defensively.”

Reading fell behind to Knight’s header six minutes before the break and were fortunate not to concede two penalties in the opening half.

Second-placed Posh then saw a Hector Kyprianou strike ruled out for offside just before substitute Smith squeezed in a 63rd-minute equaliser.

Azeez hit a post before Mason-Clark again put Reading on the ropes by restoring Posh’s lead in the 69th minute.

But the visitors refused to roll over as Azeez levelled with five minutes to go to secure just their fifth away point.

Peterborough manager Darren Ferguson said: “I’m disappointed not to win a game that I felt we deserved to win.

“We twice led in the game, we had 20 shots and 16 corners, but the one thing we couldn’t do was get ourselves into a two-goal lead.

“I think we should have had penalties and I’m told Hector was onside when he scored, but what can you do? Everyone makes mistakes.

“Our response to conceding a goal was fantastic to go and get 2-1 up, but we just couldn’t kill the game off and ended up giving away a sloppy goal late on.

“There are going to be plenty of dropped points – especially over this period – but we’re on a really good run and we keep going.

“Reading are a good team and the manager is doing a good job. I don’t know why they are where they are.

“I knew it would be a very tough game and that proved to be the case.”

Reading assistant James Oliver-Pearce revealed boss Ruben Selles apologised after being sent off during the 1-1 draw at Lincoln.

Nelson Abbey scored an own goal for the visitors after just three minutes before Harvey Knibbs secured the Royals a much-needed point in their fight for survival at Sincil Bank.

Reading had the ball in the net on two occasions before half-time, both through Paul Mukairu, but referee Bobby Madley whistled for a foul on the defender for the first before he was denied a second time by the offside flag.

And Selles was sent off when he kicked the ball away to stop the Imps taking a quick throw-in.

Due to English Football League rules, managers who are sent off are not allowed to talk to the media.

Oliver-Pearce, who took the club’s post-match media duties, said: “It was an impulsive reaction. They had a player running to take a quick throw and he tried to delay the restart.

“He was just trying to help the team. He apologised to the dressing room, it’s the first thing he did when he walked in.

“He doesn’t want to let the team down and wants to be out there to support them and the staff.

“I wasn’t aware of it as a rule personally. Apparently if the manager does it it’s a red, but if it’s one of us it isn’t.

“I’m not sure why it’s one rule for us and one rule for others. That’s the laws of the game. It’s a game we’re frustrated by because we had chances to win the game.”

Lincoln boss Michael Skubala was delighted to escape with a point after a below-par performance.

He said: “We’re relieved to get a point. We weren’t good today, let’s be honest.

“We neither effected their last line quick enough when we were trying to be direct or kept it well enough when we needed to.

“If you can’t win it, don’t lose it. That’s the story of the day for us.

“They work hard, sometimes not in the brightest way. They’re not very clever about it sometimes.

“In the end it was a big shift, a tough shift and it’s a point for us. Reading are a good side, they have some good players and we struggled to deal with them down the sides.

“I think it was offside from what I’ve seen. I think they’re fair the referees even though they went in our favour.

“I am aware of that rule now so I won’t do it. I’m not really interested in that, I just wanted to get our lads through that game.”

Reading manager Ruben Selles admitted his side could still do better after their 5-1 thrashing of Carlisle lifted them off the bottom of League One.

An own goal from Carlisle skipper Sam Lavelle had given Reading the lead and although Luke Plange quickly levelled, a double from Harvey Knibbs gave the hosts a healthy 3-1 lead at the break.

Carlisle improved in the second half but fine finishes from Lewis Wing and Femi Azeez late on sealed Reading’s second league win in succession.

“The result was good and to score that amount of goals is always difficult in football matches,” Selles said.

“But I still think that we can do better. I still think that the worst part of our games is that, after we score the first goal, then we need to control things more.

“Yet we are in a much better position than we were a month ago. Those moments in which we have conceded, we didn’t do that today or last weekend [in the 2-1 win at Wycombe].

“As a collective, the team looks like we are all learning to manage those moments. We have the potential to score goals and compete against any team in League One.

“In the end, it was a pleasure to have a calm last part of the game.

“We knew that when the other team was trying to chase, we knew that we would be able to find the spaces to counter-attack.”

Carlisle are now without a win in four league games.

“My impression from watching back the first-half goals, we just haven’t done the real basic things properly,” manager Paul Simpson said.

“We were trying to be clever in midfield instead of just turning Reading around.

“We were not clearing our lines, we were missing tackles, we were not communicating.

“I don’t think that you need to be a really good footballer to do all those things better than we did tonight. And we just got punished for it.

“I thought that we started the game brightly. It looked as though it was a game in which we had an opportunity to get something out of. But we allowed it to run away from us.

“I thought that we started the second half brightly as well. To be fair, though, their fourth goal [by Wing] was a really good strike.

“But their fifth goal was really simple. A straight run down the middle and we allowed it to happen.

“So it all ends up being a massive disappointment for us. But we’ve just got to move on.

“Defensively, in the first half, it worried me. Without a doubt. There was just too many simple mistakes, you just can’t do those things.”

Ruben Selles saluted the loyal Royals who stuck by his side after Reading ended a 378-day wait for an away league win with a 2-1 triumph at Wycombe.

Former Chairboy Lewis Wing scored the winning goal four minutes before half-time after Killian Phillips had cancelled out Sam Smith’s opener.

The under-fire boss believes his side were deserving of the three points and looked forward to brighter days after cutting the gap to League One safety.

“I know the fans have been suffering during the entire season for a lot of different reasons, one of them being us not being able to win as much away,” said Selles.

“I’m happy for them. They have always been supportive of the boys. It’s always a pleasure to have that amount of fans away from home, get a victory away from home and for the boys to celebrate together.

“We were the best team on the pitch for 100 minutes. The team is growing and I’m very proud of the players and how they played the game.”

The league’s bottom side fielded Nelson Abbey, 20, and Tyler Bindon, 18, at the heart of their defence, with full-back Andy Yiadom the only outfield player over the age of 30.

But they acquitted themselves well and saw out a victory which will have banished memories of their last away league fixture – a gut-wrenching late 3-2 defeat against Shrewsbury.

“We have a couple of young centre-backs growing with the games, getting experience with the league and we had a plan from the very beginning,” said Selles.

“We knew after the second goal, if we started to go lower and lower, we would get in trouble. But the team continued applying the pressure with the high-line.

“We were not defending for 50 minutes. It was a pleasure we could keep a good team like our opponent today away from our goal in the second half.”

Wycombe boss Matt Bloomfield was left to bemoan a growing injury list as his side’s winless league run stretched to six matches.

“It isn’t easy,” said Bloomfield. “We’ve got nine to 10 injuries and some big players are missing.

“It feels like we’re making at least one or two changes regularly due to injury, which is tough, but ultimately we have to be better than what we were.

“Competing for the second balls, running, heading, tackling, those little bits that go into a performance that are actually massive.

“I’ve said many times this season how proud I am of the performance but today wasn’t one of those days.

“We were poor and we have to make sure we’re ready to bounce back on Tuesday evening against Barnsley.”

Ruben Selles wants his Reading team to be more ruthless after their woeful away form continued with a 3-2 defeat at Shrewsbury.

Sam Smith and Dom Ballard put the Royals 2-0 up inside the opening 15 minutes and they looked on course to put a winless run on the road to bed.

But Shrewsbury pulled one back through Tom Bayliss before half-time, and then two Shrews defenders spoilt the party in additional time.

Chey Dunkley bundled home in the second minute of stoppage time, and then Jason Sraha, with virtually the last kick of the game, smashed home the winner.

Selles, whose side have now failed to win away from home in the league for over a year, said: “It is painful; it has been like that for some games. I think we did a lot of good things during the game.

“We were leading 2-0 and we should have been leading more than two, but we didn’t finish the job.

“Second half, we had situations in which we were not ruthless enough, and at the end we were not ruthless enough to keep the result or to get something positive.

“My team would defend the corners better (if he had his time again).

“We will analyse, but we need to be more ruthless in the manner and the one-on-ones.

“We know how much it means to us to get points away and how much it means to us to get the three points.

“We cannot concede a goal in the centre of our goal with the ball just below our hips.

“We need to be more ruthless in the marking, in the clearance and attacking the space, we need to do it better.

“We need to demand more from each other.”

Shrews boss Matt Taylor said: “What I can do is talk about the first 15 minutes, which is unacceptable.

“Great, the emotion, great, we won the game, but people have got jobs to do, and they do not do them.

“That first 15 minutes really disappoints me. As a group, that is not what we are about.

“We scored a really good goal to get back in the game, you are given roles and responsibilities and what I cannot do is come out here and brush it under the carpet.

“I cannot come out here and not own it, from my perspective, that first 15 minutes is unacceptable.

“We got the second goal and there seemed to be an uprising in belief in the players.

“I must make a special mention for Jason because he gets that moment tonight.

“Having seen how hard he has worked and understanding his injury history and coming into the team at a difficult time, he has really taken his opportunity.”

Reading manager Ruben Selles urged his team to be more ruthless in front of goal after a scrappy 1-1 home draw with Bristol Rovers in League One.

Bottom-of-the-table Reading went ahead five minutes before the interval when striker Sam Smith rifled in his first goal of the season.

But Rovers levelled in the 57th minute when former Reading loanee Chris Martin lofted a fine shot over home keeper David Button.

Reading are now winless in eight league matches.

“Football is all about moments and we had a moment to make it 2-0 [Harvey Knibbs’ chance shortly before half-time],” Selles said.

“Then, in the second half, they scored their goal. But we had many situations to score our second one and we didn’t do it.

“When we did make that pressure with that action from Sam, it was good that he got his goal.

“But we can be better in this area, with our finishing. We had a lot of ball in the opposition half but in those situations, we need to get in more shots and more shots on target.

“We made a lot of turnarounds, when we won the ball, but we made some mistakes after that.

“If we want to be competitive, we have to take advantage of these good positions.

“It is not about individual players missing these chances, it is about all of us. We have been in these situations before. It is as a team that we need to take these chances.

”We have been making a rotation in our League One squad. And I have been trying to be consistent with 80 per cent of the team.

“When we make our selections, we always try to have some options.”

Rovers caretaker manager Andy Mangan is now unbeaten in three league and FA Cup matches in charge since replacing the sacked Joey Barton last month.

“The feeling in the dressing room, it’s really frustrated,” Mangan said. “I feel like the result has cost us three points.

“We’ve created several chances, going right through to the very end.

“We felt like we played well throughout and we had the better chances over the 90 minutes. We all know that.

“We cost ourselves on the first goal. And it’s always hard when you’re 1-0 down.

“But we showed a lot of guts in the team to come back. We were really positive at half-time.

“We came out firing in the second half. The first 20 minutes, we managed to get that goal.

“And although we might have dropped off a bit after that, I still thought we should have won the game in the end.”

Reading manager Ruben Selles admitted that he was pleased that his struggling side avoided an upset against lower-division opposition after their 3-2 FA Cup first-round win over MK Dons.

Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan gave Reading a third-minute lead with his sixth goal of the season, but Alex Gilbey levelled before the break.

Second-half efforts from Harvey Knibbs and Lewis Wing eased Reading into a two-goal cushion, with Max Dean halving the deficit with a late consolation for the Sky Bet League Two outfit.

Selles, whose side sit bottom of League One after losing their last five games, said: “The FA Cup is always difficult.

“Whoever is your opponent, we have often seen teams from higher categories falling to teams in the categories below. So, we put in a good performance.

“Perhaps we should have finished the game a little bit earlier. We just made it complicated in the last minutes.

“But I’m happy with the performance and keeping the team together, no injuries and we go into the next round. It was a good day.

“We got a little bit caught out in the first half, especially with their first goal. It was just that pass in between, we should have defended it much better.

“We were missing a few things in the first half, which is why we changed at half time. We were missing with the wingers, the one-against-one situations and the pressure.

“It was a matter of changing the dynamic of the game. We had to be much more on the front foot, much more aggressive with the pressure. We were much better in that way in the second half.”

New MK Dons head coach Mike Williamson, who succeeded Graham Alexander last month, said: “The halves were contrasting and, from our point of view, that was disappointing.

“That’s been a bit of a theme, our starts to the second half, and that’s something that we need to address.

“But I think that you can see the detail that we’re putting in and it’s evident what the boys are taking on.

“We’ve just got to find a way of wrestling the momentum back when we do go behind.

“We have to accept that we are going to suffer in periods of games. It’s how we get back into it and get back on the ball.

“In the first half, you could see what we were trying to achieve. But there was still an element of frustration getting the better of us.

“When other teams do step on and step up, we haven’t quite got to grips with that yet.

“Again, though, the boys fought all the way to the end. Even though we were running out of time, we never gave up. So there was still so many positives to take.”

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