Reading 3-1 Bristol City: Hosts win first game in six Championship outings after Ovie Ejaria, Yakou Meite and Lucas Joao net to overtake visitors in the table
- The hosts took the lead when Ovie Ejaria’s deflected strike beat Daniel Bentley
- Nakhi Wells equalised for City from a free-kick with a poke from three yards
- Yakou Meite restored the lead from a halfway line break in the second half
- Striker Lucas Joao added the gloss just before the final whistle with a strike
The habit of losing each week can be hard to shake in the Championship but Reading looked to have finally eliminated that mentality in this dominant showing.
From first minute to the 70th, the Royal were looking at their imperious best. This was the type of display fashioned earlier in the season on their unbeaten run to the top of the table.
And they now look to have pulled the handbrake on their downward trajectory.
Reading beat Bristol City in the Championship to leapfrog their opponents in the table
Ejaria’s goal came in the second half after his effort took a huge deflection off Zak Vyner
Ovie Ejaria’s deflected shot broke the deadlock to put the home side ahead on 54 minutes.
Yakou Meite doubled the lead from a halfway line break deep into the second half and striker Lucas Joao added the gloss just before the final whistle.
Substitute Nakhi Wells added an injection of hope for the Robins with 15 minutes to go with a poke from three yards and raised tails but turned out to be short-lived hope.
The Royals came into the fixture nursing scars of conceding three goals in their last two home matches, in a ghastly winless run stretching to five matches.
It contradicted their six-match unbeaten run which saw them top of the table.
While the Robins were flying in the opposite direction, unbeaten in four and unchanged.
With both sides going in opposite sides of the road but with the same destination logged, three points were vital.
And that air of unease could be sensed in the first 10 minutes, both sides holding back from moving forward in fear of conceding any such opportunity to their respective opposition.
One’s neck would get used to moving left to right in tandem to the plethora of passes repetitively tapped between the Reading backline. A game of chess, to be kind.
Royals forward Meite produced the match’s first real chance of note on 15 minutes as he danced down the left wing, cut inside and sent a curling shot at goal.
Goalkeeper Daniel Bentley initially spilled but eventually jumped on top of the ball.
A battle of attrition was being played out between both sets of midfielders, but the home side were beginning to push into the opposing third.
Then Meite produced a piece of magic that the late-great Diego Maradona would have surely endorsed.
He picked the ball up off a cleared corner with his back to goal, holding off Tommy Rowe to produce an exquisite scissor kick which Bentley just about palmed out.
It lit up a first half in which the only other piece of entertainment was a David Brent banner behind the Reading goal.
Bristol entered the second half knowing zero shots on target so far was no good for their top-four aspirations. And they started with a measurably more offensive psyche.
But this immediately left them wide open at the back as Lucas Joao broke from the halfway line to set-up Meite, but his curling shot across the floor was again scrambled away by Bentley.
They did not learn — a break forward by wing back Josh DaSilva was eventually cleared by the Reading defence, finding Lucas Joao who held the ball up to set up Ejaria.
The former Liverpool man’s strike wrong-footed Bentley via Vyner deflection to open the scoring 54 minutes in.
Bristol were not to lie down. The introduction of Wells looked to have changed the game. His darting runs were causing a menace and miraculously put the Robins level.
The striker poked home from three-yards off a Jamie Paterson free-kick. A taste of points could be smelt and now they wanted all three.
Substitute Chris Martin put in a flying header at the near post which just went wide. But more jarringly, most of the team were up.
Star man Meite obliged to this as an exquisite Olise ball put him through to curl past Bentley. A deserved lead for all the attacking pressure.
Joao added the third with a swivel and shot in the dying embers to ensure Reading detour to the promise land of the top four positions.