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Match Reports

Match Report : 02/01/2016

2 January 2016

Nick kick starts 2016 with last gasp win!

The Royals kicked off the new year with a win over Bristol City, secured with an injury time strike from Nick Blackman that Brian McDermott's side deserved at the end of a game of few clear cut chances.

Matej Vydra had been denied by Frank Fielding in a first half that had also seen him fire just wide and Oliver Norwood come close with a set piece. Ali Al Habsi meanwhile didn't have a save to make, although City carried a constant threat on the counter attack - but Blackman's last gasp winner was enough to kick start 2016 with three points.

Brian McDermott made five changes to the side that narrowly lost to Brentford last Monday, starting Ali Al Habsi in goal, reinstating the well-again Andrew Taylor at left-back, choosing to name Orlando Sa and Matej Vydra alongside each other in attack, whilst also naming Jake Cooper in place of the suspended Michael Hector at the back.

With the game less than 30 seconds old, Bristol City got the first shot away when Luke Freeman pounced on a clearance from McShane to rifle low into the side netting.

Vydra found Quinn with a threaded throughball at the other end soon after, but the midfielder couldn't cut his cross back enough to prevent Frank Fielding snaffling it up at his near post.

Vydra himself had a glorious chance with seven minutes played. A lovely ball found the run of Vydra who was scurrying unmarked into the area, but as Fielding came out he was forced to hit his shot first time and directed it just wide.

Kodjia tried to hit the hosts on the break but his low cross flashed across the face of goal after the striker had twisted and turned inside McShane on the right side of the box.

Sa won a corner with a quarter of an hour played and Norwood's inswinger was directed back into the middle by Blackman at the far post and Cooper swung a left leg at it only to see it charged down before it could test Fielding. The resultant corner tested the Robins defence too, with the ball send into the far post  from the left where Vydra half-volleyed it over from a near impossible angle.

Sa then won a free kick in a dangerous position which Norwood whistled just wide of the top right corner, but skipper Paul McShane hobbled off on the half hour mark to be replaced by Anton Ferdinand.

City had to make a change of their own at the back when Baker was forced off injured and replaced by Liam Moore. And with three minutes of the first half remaining, Vydra found himself with an opportunity to shoot at goal, but his low stabbed effort was saved by the legs of Fielding.

Half-time:Reading 0 Bristol City 0

Early in the second half, Vydra picked up the ball in midfield and scampered forward. He opted to feed Sa to hi right who dug the ball out of his feet to get a shot away in the end, but it was charged down as was a Williams follow-up and then Norwood swept a first time effort over the bar.

Then Vydra had a half chance of his own, Gunter overlapping down the right to get onto Blackman's pass and he delivered a cross into the middle which Vydra got his head to but could only direct straight at Fielding.

City themselves threatened when Bennett got away from Taylor on the right and Ferdinand had to glance the ball behind when a floated cross was aimed to the far post.

Brian McDermott introduced Garath McCleary and a wonderful ball from Norwood found the winger in space on the right but his low cross was pushed away by Fielding at the near post and no-one in hoops was on hand to react to the rebound.

McCleary then delivered a low ball into the box looking for a more central Blackman but Aden Flint did enough to slice it behind for a corner which City defended well.

Williams arrowed an effort wide on the hour while City sustained their threat on the counter attack and Taylor had to charge down an effort from Moore with 20 minutes remaining.

A rare misplaced Norwood pass almost gave Kodjia a chance to shoot but forced wide he fizzed a low cross into the area instead which Quinn hacked clear.

At the other end, McCleary was creating chances, but Blackman directed a difficult header over the bar and then a brilliant low cross flashed across the six yard box but again no-one was there to get the decisive touch.

Robson-Kanu pinged a good early ball into Blackman with ten minutes to go and Blackman drove at the last man before pulling the trigger and his shot deflected wide for a corner.

Time was beginning to run out when Gunter's low drive was turned just too far in front of Vydra at the far post, then Vydra dummied and Blackman so nearly dinked a ball into the Czech striker's path only for the ball to hold up on the bounce.

Williams thundered a speculative first time effort over but our frustration in front of goal was looking like it would continue, while Kodjia at the other end was denied a winner by the offside flag in injury time.

Moments later...Reading scored! A beautiful pass was threaded into the feet of Blackman, who with one man to beat came inside on his left boot and steered the ball into the bottom left corner to send Madejski Stadium wild.

The Royals were never going to relinquish that lead and saw the remaining minutes out well to kick start 2016 with the win we were all looking for.

Full-time: Reading 1 Bristol City 0

Reading: Al Habsi, Gunter, Taylor (Robson-Kanu 73), McShane (c) (Ferdinand 31), Cooper, Norwood, Williams, Quinn, Blackman, Vydra, Sa (McCleary 56).
Subs: Bond, Keown, Piazon, Liburd.
Yellow: Quinn, Ferdinand, Norwood.

Bristol City: Fielding, Baker (Moore 41), Flint, Bennett, Ayling, Pack, Bryan, Smith, Freeman (Reid 82), Wilbraham (c), Kodjia.
Subs: Burns, O'Leary, Little, Agard, Wagstaff.

Referee: Mr D Handley
Att: 19,677 (3,321 away)

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