- English Football League - Championship
- Saturday, November 28th 2020
- Madejski Stadium
James Crawley reports from Madejski Stadium
Report: Reading 3-1 Bristol City
Saturday, November 28th 2020
Bristol City slipped to a 3-1 defeat in a lively second half at the Madejski Stadium.
After a lacklustre opening period, Ovie Ejaria put the Berkshire outfit ahead ten minutes after the break though substitute Nahki Wells equalised for the Robins with a little over 15 minutes remaining.
However, Yakou Meite had proved himself a handful all afternoon and put the Royals ahead just three minutes later, while Lucas Joao grabbed the third in injury-time.
The visitors had two penalty appeals dismissed though neither looked clear-cut, while Taylor Moore may feel fortunate to escape a red card for a late tackle in the second half. Veljko Paunović’s men could have had another goal too, only Omar Richards saw a deflected effort hit the bar.
Reading overtake City who go fourth in the Sky Bet Championship, as Dean Holden’s side conceded the potential to go top of the table, ahead of the remaining weekend fixtures.
Holden named an unchanged starting XI, with Jack Hunt again captaining the side.
Tomas Kalas travelled with the squad but the fixture came a little too soon for the towering centre-back, who suffered a tight quad last week. It is hoped the club captain will be involved for Tuesday’s trip to QPR. However, midfielder Tyreeq Bakinson would return to the matchday squad having completed his 10-day self-isolation, following a positive Covid-19 test. He was named among the substitutes.
Dan Bentley would be the busier of the two keepers in a first half where City looked defensively unbreakable without the attacking spark.
Hard to breakdown
Even when City had the ball in Reading’s half, they were often met by a wall of blue and white as the Royals often left only Joao furthest up the pitch.
And it was on the counter-attack that the hosts almost went ahead once City lost possession. Andy Rinomhota drove forward confidentially before finding Meite, who was allowed to cut inside and force Bentley into aone of many saves during the 90 minutes, though the keeper needed to smother at the second attempt.
Reading’s number 11 headed over from a corner, before his acrobatic effort forced Bentley into a smart stop as the home side continued to knock on the door.
City remained resilient but without a shot on target themselves. They would finally break the Reading line when Tommy Rowe slid a through ball into Callum O’Dowda and the Republic of Ireland international looked for Famara Diédhiou with the cutback but the striker was challenged immediately.
The replays suggested contact on Diédhiou from Liam Moore’s boot but a spot-kick decision may well have been a harsh call on this occasion.
At the other end, Joao had been quiet to this point but he was allowed to cut inside and saw his first shot of the game tipped over by Bentley, before the half-time whistle sounded.
A more lively affair
The question was how, or if, the Robins would mix up the play for the second half but, similar to the first showing, Reading looked to catch the visitors out on the counter. Michael Olise released Joao who found Meite to his right, but Bentley again thwarted the strike before Hunt cleared the danger.
City would have the ball in and around the Royals box soon after but when Rowe failed to get a shot away, Reading managed to break again. Joao would use his body well, holding off City’s defenders, before finding Ejaria. The midfielder cut inside and saw his right-footed effort cruelly deflect off Zak Vyner, with Bentley helpless.
Reading’s Moore was then at the centre of another penalty appeal when he clashed with O’Dowda minutes later but again play continued, while O’Dowda would muster a first shot on goal for Holden’s side though it was a comfortable save for Rafael.
Holden introduced Chris Martin and Wells from the bench, with Diédhiou and Rowe making way for a change of system with City now chasing the game.
Their task would have been all the harder if centre-back Moore had seen red for a studs-up tackle on Josh Laurent. The defender let the ball get away from him and he lunged in on his opponent, though his feet were low when the contact was made. Referee Jeremy Simpson opted to show Moore the yellow card, though it was a tackle that caused some commotion on the Royals touchline.
The pendulum was in the host’s favour but as their attacks continued, so did Bentley’s form between the sticks as he did all he could to not be beaten again. He made two saves just minutes apart, first to push away a Tom Holmes header, before he stood firm to deny Meite one-on-one.
Late goal action
It had been one-way traffic but with just their second shot on target, the Robins were level inside the 73rd minute. Chris Brunt replaced Ádám Nagy before Paterson’s free kick was flicked on by Moore and Wells was on hand to bundle the ball home and capitalise on poor Reading defending.
Brunt almost grabbed an assist when Martin headed just wide as it looked City might put the home side on the backfoot at last, but within minutes of equalising they were behind once more.
All credit will go to Olise for his assist as he unleashed Meite with pass via the outside of his boot and Meite did enough to hold off Dasilva before picking out the bottom corner.
Richards then rattled the crossbar with a deflected shot that had Bentley backpedalling, and with the Robins keeper stuck in his net, Meite went close to grabbing his second goal but placed the follow-up header wide.
Holden made two late substitutes with Opi Edwards making his first Championship appearance when he replaced Hunt, while Han-Noah Massengo – making his fourth appearance of the season - replaced O’Dowda.
But the substitutes couldn’t help City find another equaliser with Joao sealing Reading’s third. Meite turned provider this time, showing strong running down the right and Joao finished off the move in stoppage time.
City will now lick their wounds before another away trip to QPR on Tuesday night. The match will be streamed exclusively live on Robins TV, with passes now available to supporters.
- Ejaria (54') , Meite (76') , Lucas João (92')
- Michael Olise, Yakou Meite, Ovie Ejaria
- Wells (73')
- Tommy Rowe, Jack Hunt, Callum O'Dowda, Ádám Nagy, Famara Diédhiou