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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
16:59 13th March 2010

Report: Gylfi brace earns comfortable wi

Reading 2 (Sigurdsson 12, 22 (pen))
Bristol City 0

Gylfi Sigurdsson's brace gave Reading a comfortable and fully-deserved 2-0 win over Bristol City this Saturday.

We were well on top from the off, two goals from the very impressive Sigurdsson in the space of 11 first half minutes earning us all three points - and it could have been more.

City 'keeper Dean Gerken had to make a number of good saves to keep the score down, while credit must also go to Adam Federici for pulling off an excellent save as Jamal Campbell-Ryce bore down on him early in the second half.

That was the only real scare for Brian McDermott's in-form team, and our superb run of form shows no sign of coming to an end as we earned our seventh victory in the last eight games and our five successive home league win.

Reading (4-2-3-1): Federici; Gunnarsson, Bertrand, Ingimarsson (c), Mills; Howard, Tabb; Kebe, McAnuff, Sigurdsson; Long (Church 88)
Subs: Hamer, Khizanishvil, Matejovsky, Henry, Robson-Kanu, Rasiak
Booked: Gunnarsson (foul 30), Mills (foul 62)

Bristol City (4-4-2): Gerken; Orr, Fontaine (McAllister 72), Carey (c), Nyatanga; Hartley, Johnson, Campbell-Ryce, Skuse; Iwelumo (Haynes HT), Maynard (Akinde HT)
Subs: Henderson, Elliott, Clarkson, Sproule
Booked: Johnson (foul 9), Orr (foul 45), Carey (foul 64)

Attendance: 17,900 (1,993 away)

Referee: P Taylor

Team news
Reading made two changes to their starting XI; Andy Griffin out injured and replaced by Brynjar Gunnarsson at right back. Jobi McAnuff came in after suspension so Grzegorz Rasiak dropped to the bench and we lined up 4-2-3-1 with Shane Long leading the attack. Bristol City's team was unchanged from their midweek win at Crystal Palace.

Minute's silence
The game was preceded by an impeccable minute's silence for the late Richard Green, a Tilehurst man who recently lost his life in Afghanistan. This game was our designated fixture in the Football For Heroes week, and six soldiers who served with Richard led the teams out.

First half
Given that we came into the game as the Championship's form team, it was no surprise that we started the match very brightly - as seems to be the case in practically every match at the moment, especially at Madejski Stadium.

Any team containing Jimmy Kebe and Jobi McAnuff will be blessed with a real threat from both wings, and we showed our creativity as early as the second minute when a low cross was narrowly diverted over his own bar by the trailing leg of a City defender. The Robins' Bradley Orr did have a half chance almost straight after, but miscued as a cross bounced in toward him ten yards out.

Gyfli Sigurdsson was at the heart of all of our good play, and very nearly got on the end of a neat Matt Mills pass that Shane Long expertly dummied on the edge of the box.

We were pressing relentlessly in those opening stages, and City eventually crumbled on 12 minutes as we scored a lovely team goal that started well inside our own half.

Good skill from Brian Howard ten yards outside our box released Ryan Bertrand and the left back advanced fully 40 yards with the ball, getting toward the edge of the City area and finding McAnuff out wide. The winger's ball into the centre was an absolute peach, and Sigurdsson was on hand ten yards out to plant home a cracking header.

Goalscorer Sigurdsson was rightly mobbed in front of the east stand for rounding off a great move, but it was also noteworthy that those teammates near to McAnuff went out of their way to pat him on the back for a great assist.

Sigurdsson was certainly not about to rest on his laurels, and within the next couple of minutes he went close with another header and then a shot that curled just wide.

Our 20-year-old Icelander was irrepressable, and midway through the half he won and converted a penalty to double our advantage.

As the ball was played into him just inside the box he outfoxed Paul Hartley with a neat turn, and was clearly fouled. Sigurdsson took the spot kick himself, and even though Dean Gerken went the right way the execution was too good as it flew just inside the 'keeper's right hand post.

We were well worthy of our lead at this point, but still had to be wary of City's threat, particularly whenever the lively Jamal Campbell-Ryce was in possession.

Ten minutes before the break a brilliant header from Long put Kebe clear down the left, but he just delayed slightly too long and tried to cross when he perhaps could have shot.

Sigurdsson was very keen to complete his hat-trick as early as possible, and Hartley partly made up for giving away the penalty by clearing off the line from the Icelander's high and bouncing effort after another corner.

We then traded shots from long distance, Campbell-Ryce forcing Adam Federici into his first meaningful save and McAnuff firing wide from range after a good run.

On 42 Sigurdsson came close again, Gerken out to deny him at the near post after more good play from Bertrand.

Right on half time Sigurdsson whipped in another cracking free kick from out wide, and defender Matt Mills was very disappointed not to have headed home after shrugging off his marker inside the six yard box.

When the whistle came we were loudly applauded off by our loyal supporters, who had seen another 45 minutes of excellent football from Brian McDermott's side.

Second half
City boss Gary Johnson was clearly unhappy with his side's lack of potency in the first half, and changed his entire strikeforce at the break. It was perhaps not too big a surprise considering neither Nicky Maynard nor Chris Iwelumo had had a shot at goal; Danny Haynes and John Akinde on in their places to try to make a difference.

Kebe was first to have a sight of goal after the break, and Gerken had to be very alert to come out and make himself big, getting a hand on his effort and conceding a corner.

City looked a little more dangerous with their new strike partnership, and Campbell-Ryce had a great chance just before the hour mark when put clear through on goal. Brynjar Gunnarsson did really well to get back and put him off, but he still got a shot away and Federici saved expertly, as well as smothering the loose ball - very important goalkeeping from the Australian, who had to remain focused given he'd been a virtual spectator for a long time.

The ball was soon down the other end, and it opened up for Brian Howard, who hit a great 25-yarder that Gerken saved very well down to his left. It ran loose for Long inside the area, and he probably should have done better than shoot over from eight yards out as it bounced up, especially given his recent run of seven goals in his last six games.

City 'keeper Gerken was once lambasted by Reading supporters when making a calamitous error for Colchester at Madejski Stadium in the early part of his career - but he certainly looked the part on this occasion and once again denied Kebe as his pace got him onto the end of another good flick from Long. Without his saves the scoreline would have been much worse for his team.

We were not keen on settling for 2-0, and Sigurdsson was intent on getting his hat-trick. He had a very good chance with 74 on the the clock, but didn't get a clean contact on his shot and it dribbled through to the grateful Gerken.

Bertrand then did really well down the left and got inside the area, drilling in a cracking cross that was just behind Long - otherwise it was a tap-in for the Irishman.

McAnuff had played well on his return to the team so was keen to get in on the act, and with 12 minutes remaining went on a fantastic run from deep. He may have shot, but instead found Kebe and his effort was once again saved.

We were well on top, and Kebe then tried to repay the favour for McAnuff as he fed his fellow winger on the volley. Jobi's effort was mishit thought, but almost as a good cross for Long only to evade his head by a matter of inches.

Jay Tabb never stopped running throughout the game, and his excellent burst down the right flank allowed McAnuff to unleash well from the edge of the box but it flew just over.

City threw everyone forward in search of a consolation, but they never came close and Federici remained unruffled.

It was ultimately another very impressive performance and three fully deserved points. 2-0 was flattering on the visitors and we are playing very well at the moment, so Tuesday's home fixture with QPR should be very interesting indeed.

    Data provided by Press Association