Report: Bristol City 2-0 Reading
Tuesday, December 26th 2017
Bristol City's super subs proved the difference as Lee Johnson's side rose back into the automatic promotion spot.
Jamie Paterson fired City ahead in his Boxing Day cameo, before youngster Lloyd Kelly sealed the win in the final embers of the game.
As Cardiff City lost at home Fulham, the Robins have gone level on points with the Bluebirds but sit second with better goal difference.
Hordur Magnusson and Marlon Pack returned to the City starting line-up to face Reading - City’s first game back at BS3 since their Carabao Cup victory against Manchester United.
City looked to take the game Reading early and were pressing their opponents at every opportunity.
And it was as a result of this that Magnusson won a free kick over on the City right. His long-range bullet made its way to Aden Flint, who bundled the ball to Josh Brownhill but the midfielder’s shot sailed just over Vito Mannone’s crossbar.
The remaining 20 minutes would be a cagey affair. City continued to harass the Royals high up the pitch and while they were winning the ball back quickly, they were limited in creating chances.
Modou Barrow had Reading’s first effort on goal but he dragged the shot wide, despite finding himself in acres of space. He received a pass from Jon Dadi Bodvarsson but couldn’t get enough curl or placement on the angled strike.
City soon began to make some stride with corner-like throws courtesy of Magnusson, which got the home crowd on their feet on more than one occasion.
Matty Taylor came close to breaking the deadlock with two headers, the first needing to be cleared by a Royals defender, while another was placed wide of goal as he latched on to a Magnusson cross.
A BRIGHTER SECOND HALF
Head coach Johnson was forced to take Nathan Baker off less than five minutes after restart due to an injury. On came Paterson and City got forward with the extra attacking player in their ranks.
Reid had appeals for a penalty not long after as he latched onto a Smith pass before taking a tumble in the Royals' box. Referee Oliver Langford dismissed the appeals but the opportunity seemed to spring the BS3 faithful into more life.
Smith was almost in again but the ball stuck between his feet as he tried to shoot and Taylor was also unable to find a clean shot on goal before it was scrambled clear.
Reading had half chances of their own before City eventually scored. Sone Aluko showed off his stopover skills before cracking a shot well off target and Fielding fisted away a low, cross from Barrow. Bodvarsson also sent a shot into the Atyeo Stand in the Royals’ final act of successive pressure before Paterson’s unstoppable effort gave the home side the lead.
Paterson passed to Pack in the build-up, who slipped a delightful ball into Reid on the edge of the Royals area. The striker held up play well before laying the ball off to the onrushing Paterson, with the attacking midfielder’s first-time right-footed shot hitting the top corner of the net, leaving Mannone with no chance of saving it.
The goal gave what this festive fixture needed as the decibels crept up inside Ashton Gate and City certainly played off that.
Fine goalkeeping from Mannone meant neither Flint, Brownhill or Reid would find the back of the net, all before Fielding saved an almost-certain Reading equaliser from Barrow’s close-range shot.
KELLY OFF THE MARK
But it was another substitute in Kelly who put the game beyond doubt as he pounced inside the final minutes.
Brownhill, named today’s man of the match, picked the ball up from Woodrow and Mannone did well to pam away the Fulham loanee's strike. But the ball rebounded to Kelly and the youngster made no mistake in finding the far corner.
The win lifts City into second in the Sky Bet Championship, as they now prepare to face the league leaders wolves at the weekend.