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Reading Defeat Gut-Wrenching

Lee Johnson described City’s 2-1 defeat at Reading as “a gut-wrencher” after seeing his side carve out numerous opportunities.

The visitors did not help themselves by falling two behind inside 19 minutes, but were also the victims of some dubious officiating.

Hordur Magnusson was hard done by to be penalised by the assistant referee for an alleged trip on Dominic Samuel, paving the way for Garath McCleary to open the scoring on the rebound after Frank Fielding parried his spot-kick.

Roy Beerens doubled the hosts’ lead, while Gary O’Neil pulled a goal back three minutes from time before City were twice denied penalties of their own in front of a huge travelling contingent of around 3,500 Bristolians.

“It’s obviously a gut-wrencher because again we’ve come away thinking we’ve done alright and deserved something out of the game,” Johnson told Bristol City Player HD.

“The group are really upset because they’ve given everything. The fans gave everything, which spurred the lads on to give everything.

“When we go back to Ashton Gate, if the supporters are half as good as they were today we’ll get close to smashing someone soon.

“We had 24 shots on goal against the side who are third in the league. If I can just find that extra one per cent to tip the balance in our favour, we’re going to have a really enjoyable group to work with.

“Bobby Reid has maybe had five good chances today – and in previous games too. I love Bobby Reid and he’s playing so well, but for him to go to the next level he needs to top it off with a goal or an assist to make the world know how good a player he is.”

The City head coach was reluctant to complain about the major decisions that went against his team, but made his views clear.

“There were two penalty shouts (at 2-1) – one when Gustav goes down after they had two little goes at him, and then it’s a handball,” Johnson added. “How can it not be handball?

“He (the referee) had just pulled up Tammy Abraham in the middle of the pitch after it hit his arm higher up than it did for their man. He’s thrown an arm at it – it wasn’t like it’s hit his shoulder.

“The penalty that was given is not a penalty in a million years. Nobody is in possession of the ball, it gets played down the side and Magnusson is favourite to get there, but the attacker runs from behind and clips him.

“That’s the way things are going for us, ever since the Cardiff game. I’m not going to moan because I was proud of our performance and our supporters’ performance today – we need them at the moment.”