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Report | Canaries clinch narrow victory

Daniel Farke's men edged another close affair at the Madejski this evening thanks to Mario Vrancic's winner in RG2

19 September 2018

The Royals were on the receiving end of another narrow defeat this evening as Mario Vrancic silenced Madejski Stadium's celebrations by scoring the winner only a minute after Jon Dadi Bodvarsson had equalised.

  • Teemu Pukki slides a right-footed finish into the bottom right corner for 0-1
  • Jon Dadi Bodvarsson turns home from close range to level
  • Mario Vrancic cuts celebrations short to rehand City the lead a minute later

New loan signing Saeid Ezatolahi was named on the bench and Mo Barrow returned to the squad after the birth of his baby, but Paul Clement named an unchanged eleven from the side that beat Preston at Deepdale in the week.

The Royals began positively, manufacturing a chance through good work down the left flank, but Liam Kelly's throughball into Swift's path was overhit and the sniff of a goalscoring opportunity disappeared.

At the other end, Meite conceded a foul to the right of the penalty area which was lofted into the box for Christoph Zimmerman to head just wide of the top left corner. With ten minutes played, Sam Walker had his first save to make, gobbling up a strike from Buendia from range.

But he could do nothing to save a low right-footed drive from Teemu Pukki which found the bottom right corner with 14 minutes on the clock.

The home side worked hard to respond and Sone Aluko drilled a speculative effort into the side netting, having cut in from the right wing to arrow wide of Tim Krul's goal.

Walker plucked a curling shot from Leitner out of the air with relative ease, but the Royals carved out a better opportunity when Aluko threaded the ball through for Gunter who bursting into the box cut the ball back only to find a Norwich defender who was able to hack the ball clear.

Meite then tried his luck from 25 yards and forced a fine diving save from Krul with a thunderous shot. And he had another go five minutes later, this time the ball blocked and ricocheting back against the face of Aluko.

The Royals toiled, but without creating too much more and a scrappy first half ended in City's favour.

Half-time: Reading 0-1 Norwich City

Paul Clement's men began the second period on the front foot and Kelly's low cross found Baldock who turned well inside the box and stabbed the ball goalwards. Meite looked to dart onto the loose ball but the Canaries scrapped the ball clear.

But Buendia got a chance to make it 2-0 when the Royals were robbed of posession in the corner and the ball was passed back for Buendia to pull the trigger - Tiago ilori stood firm to block it behind for a corner.

Swift led a counter attack down the middle but Baldock couldn't beat his man to get a sight of goal. Then Jamal Lewis lashed a hopeful effort over at the other end.

Seven minutes into the second half and Kelly picked out a nice pass to find the feet of Baldock who was through on goal. His strike beat Krul but cannoned into the base of the post - and the offside flag would have denied his effort anyway had it found the target.

Yiadom won the ball inside the Norwich box but dragged a first time shot wide of the left upright. Then Mo Barrow's first touch saw him cross dangerously into the box but it sailed all the way through to Gunter, who's recycled cross was cut out and cleared.

Barrow and Baldock combined to good effect on the hour but the striker hesitated in taking a shot and saw his left-footed stabbed effort charged down by a recovering defender.

The home side were pressing hard for a route back into the game and both Josh Sims and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson were introduced. And Swift had a half shot on the turn which bobbled wide of Krul's goal.

And Reading deservedly drew level when Swift's floated cross to the back post was nodded back across goal by Moore. The ball was bundled goalwards, against the post and Bodvarsson was there to convert from a yard out.

Daniel Farke's men cut the celebrations short by retaking the lead only a minute later. Breaking down the left, the ball was cut low into the box and substitute Vrancic was allowed to turn and scuff a shot through bodies in the box and inside the bottom right corner for 1-2.

Good backtracking from Yiadom prevented Pukki from setting up a Norwich third with 12 minutes left on the clock.

Time was beginning to tick away as Bacuna arrowed a left-footed shot harmlessly over from the edge of the box. And both Baldock and Yiadom had shots comfortably charged down as Norwich closed in on three points.

And Walker had to be alert at his near post to deny Vrancic a second of the evening when he was played through and swung a left boot at it 12 yards out.

Five minutes of injury time were signalled and Krul had to punch a Bacuna cross away to safety in the first of those five. But Norwich saw the game out well to secure a narrow victory.

Full-time: Reading 1-2 Norwich City

Reading: Walker, Gunter, Yiadom, Moore (c), Ilori, Bacuna, Kelly (Bodvarsson 69), Méïté (Barrow 59), Aluko (Sims 65), Swift, Baldock.
Subs: Jaakkola, O'Shea, Ezatolahi, McNulty.
Goals: Bodvarsson (72)
Yellow: Méïté, Gunter

Norwich City: Krul, Zimmermann, Klose, Aarons, Cantwell, Lewis, Leitner (Trybull 76), Buendia (Vrancic 68), Stiepermann (Rhodes 86), Tettey, Pukki.
Subs: Oxborough, Godfrey, Passlack, Srbeny.
Goals: Pukki (14), Vrancic (73)
Yellow: Vrancic, Aarons

Attendance: 12,822 (919 away)
Referee: Mr T Robinson

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