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Match Reports

Böðvarsson and Evans oust Blues at St Andrew's

Dominant Royals earn first away win of the season with comfortable 2-0 victory

26 August 2017

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The Royals picked up their first away win of the season with a dominant display at St Andrew's this afternoon; second half goals from Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and George Evans were enough to see off the threat of Harry Redknapp's Birmingham City in a game which Reading controlled.

  • Blackett and Gunter force first half saves from Stockdale as Royals dominate
  • Mannone fingertip save pushes a fierce Bramall effort wide in first half injury time.
  • Bodvarsson heads home on the hour to score his first goal for Reading
  • Evans drills a late effort into the bottom left corner to secure the points.

Striker Jón Daði Böðvarsson returned to action for the first time since the opening day after coming through injury, while Tiago Ilori and Joey van den Berg also made the starting eleven. Dave Edwards was announced as a new signing before kick-off but the former Wolves man will have to wait until after the international break to make his Reading bow.

Reading assumed total control in the early stages, passing the ball about patiently and looking to create an opening when Kelly's early ball into Barrow allowed the formwe Swansea man to drill a low cross into the middle which was hurriedly hacked behind for a corner.

Kelly's deep delivery was recycled by a ball-juggling McShane inside the box and the ball fell to Kelly whose driven effort was charged out to Blackett.He then stabbed a shot on target and forced a five save from David Stockdale to keep the game goalless.

Bodvarsson and Bacuna aimed efforts from distance wide of the target while Jaques Maghoma's cross needed heading away by McShane at the other end in a rare Blues foray into the Reading box.

Liam Moore connected well with a Kelly free kick but aimed his header across goal and just wide of the right upright midway through the first half.

Good work from Bodvarsson kept the throughball from Barrow alive and he fed the ball back to Blackett, who's deep cross was volleyed goalwards first time by Gunter in an advanced position - but it was easy for Stockdale to gather this one as the visitors continued to dominate.

The Royals had the ball in the back of the net before the break, Kelly threading a ball into Barrow who raced through the middle and calmly slotted it wide of Stockdale. But the offside flag had been raised against Barrow to his dismay.

But in injury time at the end of the first forty-five minutes, Mannone had to make a fingertip save to deny Cohen Bramall a 25-yard opener as the ball whistled towards the top right corner before the Italian intervened.

Half time | Birmingham City 0-0 Reading

Harry Redknapp made a change at the break, bringing Lukas Jutkiewicz on for Chiekh Ndoye to add more attacking threat to the home side.

But it was Reading who came close to breaking the deadlock when Gunter got in behind to race onto a threaded ball down the right. He pulled a cross back, Bodvarsson dummied it and Kelly arrived to sweep a shot at goal - but Stockdale was down well to his right to save.

A Bramall free kick couldn't beat the Reading wall, but it should have been 1-0 to the Royals just before the hour mark. Kelly found space down the left side of the City box and picked out Barrow on the edge of the six yard box. But the forward miscued his first time shot and passed the ball wide of the bottom right corner to a sigh of relief from the St Andrew's faithful.

It didn't matter though because moments later, the Royals rippled the net. Bacuna scurried onto a one-two and teed up a cross for Blackett. He delivered a delightful ball into the middle where Bodvarsson angled a header past Stockdale for 1-0.

City looked to respond but a timely challenge from Ilori stopped Maghoma in his tracks and then a counter attack saw Barrow pull the ball back for Kelly whose first time effort sailed high over the bar from the edge of the box.

Evans and McCleary came off the bench to add fresh legs to Reading's defence of their lead and McCleary fed Gunter whose cross towards Bodvarsson looked perfect only for a push in the back of the Icelander to deny him a clean header at goal - nothing was awarded by referee Stephen Martin despite protests from Bodvarsson.

But it took a very good block from Moore to deflect a shot from substitute David Davis over the crossbar as City looked for an equaliser.

Bacuna powered into the Birmingham box but could only find the side netting with a shot from a narrow angle and, with only one goal in it, a game which Reading had bossed was still alive.

So with six minutes left on the clock, Reading added a second. McCleary scuttled onto a ball over the top and his low cross towards Bodvarsson was cut out on the edge of the six yard box. It came back to McCleary who pulled the ball back once more, this time picking out Evans who brilliantly swept the ball into the bottom right corner for 2-0.

Gallagher did well to work a pull back from the byline in the final minute of normal time but Maghoma was denied by a could of charging Reading defenders and McShane nodded the loose ball into the arms of Mannone as four minutes of additional time were signalled.

Sam Smith came on for his league debut and directed a deflected shot just wide of the left upright in injury time. And the last kick of the game saw Kieftenbeld drive well wide. But the points were deservedly Reading's to take home on the coach.

Full time | Birmingham 0-2 Reading

Birmingham City: Stockdale, Jenkinson (Nsue 32), Grounds (Davis 78), Roberts, Kieftenbeld, Bramall, Ndoye (Jutkiewicz HT), Gallagher, Maghoma, Morrison (c), Gleeson.
Subs: Kuszczak, Shotton, Gardner, Harding.

 Mannone, Gunter, Blackett, McShane (c), Moore, Ilori, Van den Berg (Evans 70), Kelly, Bacuna, Barrow (McCleary 76), Bodvarsson (Smith 88).
Subs: Jaakkola, Andresson, Popa, Clement.
Goals: Bodvarsson 60, Evans 84

Att: 19,993 (895 away)

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