- English Football League - Championship
- Saturday, November 3rd 2018
- Madejski Stadium
James Crawley reports from Madejski Stadium
Report: Reading 3-2 Bristol City
Saturday, November 3rd 2018
City twice fought from behind and even struck the post at the Madejski Stadium as Reading secured a 3-2 win in Berkshire.
Marlon Pack cancelled out Yakou Méïte’s opener with a cool finish inside the Royals penalty area, before Max O’Leary was left helpless when Liam Kelly’s strike on the brink of half-time found the top corner.
However, City brought the scores level once more with an instant reply, with Josh Brownhill heading the ball past Sam Walker in a four-goal thriller of a first-half.
City looked bright after the break, but Leroy Bacuna pounced the decisive goal. Brownhill would have grabbed a brace but for the post and Walker produced a big save at the end to deny Andreas Weimann.
Liam Walsh was handed his first league start of the season, as Lee Johnson named three changes to the starting XI, with Jay Dasilva and Matty Taylor joining the midfielder ahead of Lloyd Kelly, Jamie Paterson and Callum O’Dowda who named among the substitutes.
Both sets of fans paid their respects as the match following a minute’s silence in memory of those killed in last weekend’s helicopter crash at Leicester City.
The game kicked-off but was quickly paused after a head collision involving Tomas Kalas and Méïte inside the first minutes. Thankfully both players were soon back to their feet after treatment but it was the Reading man who was involved in the action shortly after to open the scoring.
It came as City cleared a Reading free kick only as far as Kelly, who put the ball back into the danger zone where he found Méïte, who rolled a shot under O’Leary.
Reading have been one of the Championship’s strugglers this season but that early looked to give them confidence as City looked to find a way through themselves. Bacuna would go close for the Berkshire outfit after receiving the ball in a pocket of space but his shot from outside the area dipped over O’Leary’s crossbar.
CAPTAIN DRAWS CITY LEVEL
But the Robins were level courtesy of on-field captain Pack. Jack Hunt darted forward and fooled the Reading defence with a fake shot, before sliding in the onrushing Pack, who slotted the ball low into the net.
The visitors were now growing in confidence themselves and Reading shotstopper Walker came to their rescue to smother a close-range Niclas Eliasson shot, before Famara Diédhiou struck a fizzing effort narrowly over the bar.
Adam Webster headed wide after another stop from Walker kept Taylor at bay, but the hosts pounced in first-half stoppage time through Kelly’s curling effort, to take what many would have expected to be a lead at the break.
However, City rallied immediately to equalise on the stroke of half-time as Brownhill headed in from Eliasson’s cross.
City had half-chances in the early exchanges after the break, with Tomas Kalas drilling a shot straight at Walker. Paul Clements’ side offered little in attack early after the restart but Adam Webster had to time a sliding challenge to perfection, with his crucial block doing enough to rob Reading of a chance on goal.
Weimann soon replaced Taylor as Johnson looked for fresh legs in the final third. Down the left City looked to create something almost immediately as Dasilva and Eliasson combined, the Sweden winger’s cross deflecting into the path of Walsh, but the central midfielder could only drag his shot wide.
ROYALS BACK IN FRONT
And the hosts struck the fifth goal of the game not long after the hour-mark with Bacuna picking out the bottom right corner. He exchanged a neat passing move with Garath McCleary as Reading threatened down the left, before he tucked his shot low beyond O’Leary.
Paterson and Kelly were soon introduced to replace Eliasson and Hunt, respectively, as Johnson looked to change the game with 20 minutes remaining.
BROWNHILL OFF THE POST
And City were almost level for a third time but for the post which denied Brownhill as he attempted to stab the ball into the net from Paterson’s delivery.
A near howler from Walker then presented Diédhiou the chance to equalise after the Royals keeper dropped a Walsh corner. The ball fell to the Senegal forward but he slipped just as he attempted to shoot.
Diédhiou was nearly the provider when Weimann went close to snatching the equaliser himself with just minutes remaining, as he latched on to his strike partner’s header, but Walker produced a strong save to block the Austrian’s shot.
Diédhiou placed a header on target, causing no problems for the Royal keeper as five minutes of added time were indicated. Walsh then went close with a last-gasp free kick on the edge of the area which wouldn’t dip in time.
But City couldn’t force another all-important equaliser with Reading holding out to secure their home win. The result leaves City 12th in the Championship, ahead of next Saturday’s home clash with Preston North End.
Photography by JMPUK.
- Meite (8') , Kelly (46') , Bacuna (66')
- Andy Rinomhota, Yakou Meite, Modou Barrow
- Pack (23') , Brownhill (48')
- Jack Hunt, Niclas Eliasson, Matty Taylor