Match Report: 2009/2010 Season

13 March 2010: CHAMPIONSHIP
Reading: Sigurdsson (12 mins, 22 mins - pen).
Bristol City: -
Half Time: 2-0
Attendance: 17,900

Pos Team P Pts GD
15 QPR 35 44 -4
16 READING 34 44 -4
17 Ipswich 36 44 -6
Reading: Federici, Mills, Ingimarsson, Bertrand, McAnuff, Tabb, Howard, Kebe, Sigurdsson, Gunnarsson, Long (Church, 88) Subs not used: Rasiak, Hamer, Matejovsky, Henry, Robson-Kanu, Khizanishvili.
Bristol City: Gerken, Orr, Fontaine (McAllister, 72), Nyatanga, Carey, Campbell-Ryce, Skuse, Johnson, Hartley, Maynard (Haynes, 46), Iwelumo (Akinde, 46) Subs not used: Clarkson, Elliott, Sproule, Henderson.
Reading: Gunnarsson, Mills.
Bristol City:Carey, Johnson, Orr.
Ref: P Taylor (Hertfordshire)
In a complete reversal of the corresponding fixture last season Reading swept aside their opponents in the opening twenty minutes. Gyfi Sigurdsson's gave Reading a deserved early two goal lead and City never looked likely to recover. Every player Reading was comfortable in possession and sufficiently confident to hold the ball until the right passing option presented itself. In contrast City were content to knock the ball back from whence it came with head or boot without much concern for its destination. The Royals passing and movement clearly unnerved the City defence as they streamed forward creating numerous chances.

As early as the second minute a City defender sliced a clearance perilously close to his own goal. The inevitable first goal was a coaches dream. A long run by Bertrand followed by a short pass wide to McAnuff. McAnuff, without needing to take on his marker, simply made room for the cross which was inviting to say the least. Sigurdsson timed his run between two defenders perfectly and headed the ball into the corner of the net giving the 'keeper no chance. City had contributed to their own downfall by their failure to retain possession. Just after twenty minutes Sigurdsson was brought down inside the box and looked typically assured when he smashed the ball past Gerken from the spot. It was not all one-way traffic and Gunnarsson who was having trouble containing Jamal Campbell-Rice was eventually booked for dragging him back. Reading were defending so well as unit it didn't matter. Sigurdsson might have had a hat trick but his mishit shot was headed off the line. A good chance for a third goal was wasted when Mills headed over from close range from Sigurdsson's free kick. Referee Taylor had a particularly good first half. He was fair, consistent, and didn't miss much.

City made two changes at half time but it had little impact although they did manage to subject Reading a spell of pressure in the early stages of the second half. Their best chance came when Campbell-Rice raced through the middle of the Royals defence. Gunnarsson, who is often caught out over ten yards for pace, did really well to catch him and make a crucial challenge. Campbell-Rice however, managed to stay on his feet and get his shot away but Federici flew out to made an excellent save. From that point City faded gradually. Reading continued to seek the third goal to make the point safe and created sufficient chances to make the scoreline embarrassing but could not apply finish required. Long, McAnuff and Sigurdsson squandered chances but in the end it did not matter. Kebe again impressed not only with his pace but with his awareness and quality of passing which means he is now effective even when he is not taking players on. McAnuff tormented City on the right wing throughout the second half. Seeing a couple of wingers of this quality in this form is reminiscent of the Little and Convey era. Talk of the play-offs may be premature but when a team has the capacity to attack down both flanks with skill and pace, scoring goals becomes much easier and keeps opponents on the back foot. Reading will not win every game between now and the end of the season but they are certainly capable of beating anyone in this league on current form.

The fans were on also on top form today. As the City followers realised defeat was inevitable they sloped off with 'Is there a fire drill?' ringing in their ears. Any Royals fan here today will almost certainly be back for more on Tuesday night especially with the added incentive of a possible opportunity to bait Neil Warnock. Whatever the outcome I am sure there will not be a repeat of the this season's humiliating capitulation at Loftus Road.
John Wells

Since watching us get beat at home by Cardiff under the management of Brendan Rogers, last year, and watching the style of football that was being played too, made me decide that enough was enough.....especially when the expense can be quite prohibitive, especially for myself. With the change in management and the ongoing success in the FA cup and league, I decided I would go to the midweek match against Derby and the match today. After having been twice now, under Brian McD's management, I sense there is a feel good factor once again. Some fans were already talking about it but I am convinced it is back and it is a pleasure once again to go to a match and not have to squirm and nail bite, wondering when we are going to concede but now sit with positive expectation and wonder when we are going to score. We did terrifically today although the second half relied more upon our back four to impede the opposition; yes we had chances in the second half but for whatever reason didn't put them away as clinically as we have done.
Woodley Royal 124

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Gylfi Sigurdsson scored both goals as Reading eased their relegation fears further with victory over Bristol City. The Royals went ahead when Jobi McAnuff crossed superbly for Sigurdsson to head in from close-range. And the Icelandic midfielder doubled their lead from the penalty spot after being brought down by Paul Hartley. Bristol City pressed for an equaliser and Jamal Campbell-Ryce brought a good save from Reading keeper Adam Federici but the Robins could not break through. Shane Long spurned a chance to make it 3-0 late on, but nonetheless Brian McDermott's side made it seven league wins from eight to move six points clear of the bottom three. Bristol City had an early chance through Nicky Maynard but he dragged a shot wide from the edge of the box. However Reading quickly began to get control of the game and Sigurdsson sent a free-kick from 20 yards just wide before he headed in the opener. The home side immediately went in search of a second and a Jimmy Kebe cross from the left found Sigurdsson once again but this time he could not beat Bristol City goalkeeper Dean Gerken with the header. Sigurdsson then unleashed a powerful effort that fizzed past the post before he, almost inevitably, doubled Reading's lead. The midfielder was brought down by Hartley before dusting himself off to fire in his 12th goal of the season from the penalty spot.

Reading boss Brian McDermott:
"We created a lot of chances, but having said that the key is to win games and get three points. We didn't go into this game expecting to win. You can't expect anything in this league. It's so tight to the top and to the bottom. Our aim is to get into the top half and see where we go from there."

BBC Sport