Royals overrun Robins in BristolTwo terrific goals in the opening quarter of an hour from Nick Blackman and Garath McCleary earned the Royals three points, as Reading were 2-0 victors away at Bristol City.
Chances were created at either end during the remainder of the game, and some good defending from both teams ensured that no further damage was done for the hosts, but also that the early lead was converted into a Reading win.
Royals boss Steve Clarke handed a first start of the season to winger Garath McCleary, whilst fellow midfielder Danny Williams was recalled to the side for his first start since the trip to Brentford at the end of August.
Good interlinking play in the early stages from Oliver Norwood and Matej Vydra saw the Czech win a freekick in a dangerous central position, 25 yards out. The wall stood firm however, and deflected the ball away for a throw in.
But as soon as the ninth minute, the Royals were ahead as McCleary found Blackman, who had evaded the offside trap, and he coolly find the far corner with his left foot past Frank Fielding via a deflection.
The Royals doubled their advantage on 13 minutes through winger McCleary, on his first start – this time Stephen Quinn was the provider as he picked out the wide-man breaking from the right, and the Jamaican flashed a fizzing right footed shot from just outside the corner of the box.
The first card of the day was issued to Aden Flint of Bristol City in the 26th minute following a fracas with Michael Hector during a City corner. And City found their feet more in the game, enjoying more of the possession and winning a string of corners, but at that point had failed to test Royals goalkeeper Jonathan Bond.
City created their first real chance in the 34th minute when Luke Freeman sent through Jonathan Kodija, but his shot was deflected out for a corner by Hector's sturdy block. At the other end, McCleary found space on the right wing once again, but his cutback was cleared from danger when perhaps there were better options available.
Half-time: Bristol City 0 Reading 2
Norwood tried a speculative effort from inside the centre-circle, but it didn’t trouble Fielding just after the restart. The Royals pressed forward more in search of a third, with McCleary seeing a left footed effort block by the City defence.
Lovely build up play from the Royals midway through the half saw Vydra feed Stephen Quinn in one-on-one, but the Irishman was flagged for offside with a very tight decision. Then a slick passing move from the Royals saw Chris Gunter send McCleary down the right, but the winger narrowly missed Vydra with his cross and Fielding collected.
The resulting corner saw City break with substitute Keiran Agard, but he found his shot blocked superbly by Gunter, as the hosts continued to threaten a fight-back. The Royals were taking a no-nonsense approach, summed up as heavily-bandaged captain Paul McShane fired clearances into Row Z to avoid danger.
Lucas Piazon was introduced from bench for his second appearance, and Paolo Hurtado played in the closing stages as he made his debut.
And home sub Kieran Agard’s fizzed ball across the face of goal was somehow diverted against the post when it looked a certain goal – just summarising the commitment that the Royals defence were showing.
It was the last chance of note for the hosts, as Reading got back to winning ways at Ashton Gate.
Full-time: Bristol City 0 Reading 2
Bristol City: Fielding, Williams, Flint, Ayling, Smith, Freeman, Moore (Burns 45), Wilbraham (Agard 61), Pack (Reid 56), Kodija, Bryan.
Unused subs: Hamer, Little, Robinson, Wagstaff.
Yellow: Flint, Pack
Reading: Bond, Gunter, McShane, Norwood, Vydra (Piazon 76), Hector, Obita, McCleary (Hurtado 83), Quinn (Tshibola 90), Blackman, Williams.
Unused subs: Al-Habsi, John, Cox, Cooper.
Goals: Blackman (9), McCleary (13).