Report: Reading 0-1 Bristol City
Saturday, September 9th 2017
Aden Flint’s late strike earned City their first away win of the season in the Sky Bet Championship at the expense of Reading at the Madejski Stadium.
The big defender, making his first start of the season, struck the winner six minutes from time, firmly putting behind him a transfer window full of speculation and failed bids from Birmingham City.
Reading were wasteful with their opportunities, namely Icelandic international Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, but City’s fight and determination – helped by the travelling fans – saw them claim an important three points.
It also ended a miserable losing run of seven straight games against the Royals.
TRIO OF TEAM CHANGES
Lee Johnson made three changes to his starting XI, most notably with Flint’s recall in place of skipper Bailey Wright, who was left on the bench after jaunts to Japan and Australia during the international break.
Elsewhere, knee injury victim Eros Pisano and Marlon Pack dropped out of the starting line-up, with Zak Vyner and Callum O’Dowda given the nod in their place.
Jonathan Leko, fresh from joining on a season-long loan deal, and goalkeeper Luke Steele – a deadline day free transfer from Panathinaikos – both began life as City players on the bench.
Roared on by 3,300-plus travelling supporters, Famara Diedhiou took the first shot at goal from a free kick he earned 25 yards from goal but the Senegalese international’s attempt was wayward.
City’s bright start continued in the seventh minute when O’Dowda lofted a pass into Bobby Reid’s path in the area. The Bristolian stretched to reach the ball and send it over Vito Mannone with an instinctive flick, but the ball dropped narrowly over.
In reply, Tyler Blackett dragged a wasteful effort wide for the hosts and then Modou Barrow feathered Sone Aluko’s cross wide of Frank Fielding’s right-hand upright.
CHANCES AT A PREMIUM EARLY ON
O’Dowda, fresh from earning his sixth senior cap for the Republic of Ireland, teased an effort wide of the mark, before – on the half hour – Liam Kelly finally forced a save from either goalkeeper with a low drive that Fielding gathered at the second attempt.
City were almost gifted the opener when former loanee Liam Moore’s loose back pass wrong-footed Mannone, who hurriedly chased back to ensure the ball ended up the right side of his post – giving away just a corner, rather than an own goal.
As half-time loomed, Nathan Baker entered the referee’s notebook for a foul on Barrow. Home fans were baying for blood, wanting the former Aston Villa man to be dismissed but referee James Linington stood firm to a chorus of jeers from Royals supporters.
ROYALS OUT OF THE TRAPS
After the break Reading had the perfect chance to break the deadlock as Aluko danced into the box and rounded Fielding. Too wide to shoot for goal, the former Fulham man cut the ball back across the six-yard box for Bogvarsson but the Icelandic forward missed his kick with the goal gaping.
It only served as an aperitif as the Royals continued their charge with Fielding diving across to his left to keep out Leandro Bacuna’s long-range attempt. Moments later Barrow flashed a powerful attempt wide of the post from a good position. Now the Royals were rampant.
But City responded as the hour mark approached, with thunder and lightning flashing and crashing all around the stadium.
Reid’s trickery took him away from his marker and a threaded pass put Paterson in the clear, only for his clipped finish across Mannone to flash inches wide of the far post in front of the mass ranks of travelling fans.
DEBUT TIME FOR LEKO
Johnson opted to throw on Leko for his debut with 20 minutes left, replacing Famara Diedhiou up top. He looked fast, he was tricky and he appeared a threat – everything he promised he could be.
At the other end Bodvarsson wasted another glorious chance with an identical miskick after Aluko had cut the ball back into his path from the byline.
Leko began a quick-fire passing move which allowed O’Dowda to slip Reid forward, but Moore retreated to execute a perfect sliding challenge – and potentially a goal-saving one.
However, there was nothing Moore or his team-mates could do to stop Flint with six minutes left.
Paterson kept the ball alive in the area with a helpful nudge from Vyner's raking free kick forward. The ball rolled perfectly into the path of the onrushing defender to lash low into the corner of the net, despite a glove from Mannone.
All that was left for City to do, roared on by the ‘bouncing’ away fans, was to hold firm through five minutes of stoppage time ,in turn sealing a first win in Berkshire since 2008/09.