- English Football League - Championship
- Friday, April 19th 2019
- Ashton Gate
James Crawley reports from Ashton Gate
Report: Bristol City 1-1 Reading
Friday, April 19th 2019
Josh Brownhill’s equaliser earned City a more-than deserved point at Ashton Gate in a 1-1 draw with Reading.
It had been pretty much one-way traffic in the first-half as City looked bright from the off and created a number of opportunities without finding the breakthrough goal.
But a well-worked set piece saw the Royals take the lead with Yakou Méïte steering the ball past Max O’Leary.
The City supporters had been in good voice all afternoon though and roared City to an equaliser with Brownhill popping up at the back post to turn in Niclas Eliasson’s cross.
Lee Johnson looked for leadership with the returns of Korey Smith and Bailey Wright to the starting XI, although Smith’s afternoon would be cut short in the first half as he was forced off, following a collision. Jay Dasilva and Jack Hunt were deployed as wing-backs too, shifting in and out of a back three and five, depending on the duties required.
Assistant Head Coach Dean Holden had suggested in the week that City’s front play would be key and it was an intense, attacking start from the Robins with the home crowd roaring from the off. And much like the early moments against West Brom, Brownhill almost fired City ahead in BS3 inside two minutes; this time, however, he saw his shot blocked.
Reading could barely keep the ball out of their half inside the first five minutes and City’s pressure nearly told again when Tomas Kalas looked to lob Emiliano Martinez with a looping header, but the keeper was tall enough to pluck the ball out of the air.
Reading’s first chance would soon fall to Liam Moore but the Royals captain couldn’t keep his header down as O’Leary gratefully watched the ball travel over his crossbar.
City enjoyed a great deal of possession but were almost found out when passing the ball around at the back. Smith was caught out by Ovie Ejaria who ran at the backline before seeing a shot deflected. The ball rolled to Méïte, with Adam Webster misjudging the ball, and the Royal man managed a shot on the turn which O’Leary tipped over.
The hosts were soon back on the offensive with Andreas Weimann and Famara Diédhiou leading the charges. It was positive football in the late spring sunshine but Ashton Gate would be on its feet to clap Korey Smith who had to be stretchered off the field after a collision inside Reading’s half.
After the lengthy stoppage, City were pouring forward once more with Liam Walsh becoming Smith’s replacement. Back on the pitch for the first since November, the midfielder almost fired City ahead but for a low save from Martinez. Weimann kept the attack alive and found Brownhill whose effort was cleared off the line before Jack Hunt volleyed narrowly wide.
The Robins looked comfortable and confident in their ability to create chances but still the scoreline remained goalless as the break neared. Only Modou Barrow went an inch from connecting with Moore’s low cross, while at the other end Diédhiou’s couldn’t steer a first-time effort on-target and Weimann powered forward before curling a shot wide himself.
But it was a Reading free kick direct from the training ground which broke the deadlock, less than five minutes into the second half. The dead ball was played sideways before being played into the path of the on-running Andy Rinomhota whose squared ball was tucked past O’Leary by Méïte in front of the travelling fans.
The goal was certainly against the run of play and City had done little wrong up to now, so more of the same was needed as they pushed to force a much-deserved equaliser. However, more chances went begging with a Diédhiou header and curled strike from Dasilva both straight at Martinez, before Weimann drilled a shot into the side netting.
The introduction of Eliasson, on to replace Wright on the hour-mark, signalled a tactical switch with Johnson reverting to a back four with the pace of City’s substitute a new avenue to attack from.
And the Sweden winger turned the provider ten minutes later as City finally found a goal they had been hunting for. Dasilva brought City forward and played in Eliasson whose cross was deep but perfect for the waiting Brownhill at the far post, who nodded the ball into the net.
Matty Taylor would be Johnson’s last roll of the dice and the pest of a striker instantly found himself the target as City pumped themselves forward for the final ten minutes.
Reading set themselves up for the counter though and used Martinez to quickly launch the Royals up the other end with City needing Walsh to clear the danger. Moments later they were back on the break and only Nelson Oliveira’s high and wide finish proved a waste after a one-two with Garath McCleary had put him through on goal.
City would have one final chance when Diédhiou laid the ball into Taylor’s path but the forward’s dragged effort sailed the wrong side of Martinez’s far post.
The 1-1 result leaves City sixth in the Sky Bet Championship ahead of the later kick-offs.
Next for Johnson’s men is an Easter Monday trip to Sheffield Wednesday before their final return to BS3 this season against Frank Lampard’s Derby County.
- Brownhill (72')
- Bailey Wright, Korey Smith, Andreas Weimann
- Meite (48')
- Ovie Ejaria, Yakou Meite, Modou Barrow