Debutant Roberts earns Royals crucial win
28th January 2012
Reading new boy Jason Roberts scored a debut goal at the Madejski Stadium to help his side to a 1-0 victory over a spirited Bristol City side, who had Louis Carey sent off in the 57th minute.
Brian McDermott made three changes to the side that lost against Hull last week, with captain Jobi McAnuff and Andy Griffin returning from injury, while striker Jason Roberts made his debut after signing from Blackburn on Thursday.
The Royals fans and players have been buoyed by a recent takeover from investment company TSI, allowing McDermott to add strength to his squad. However, it was the visitors who had the most of the early running at the Madejski Stadium.
Chris Wood signed for the Robins a few weeks ago and came very close to opening the scoring on 5 minutes as his close-range header had to be tipped over by Federici. Stephen Pearson then tested the Australian again as he palmed his effort wide of his goal.
Roberts was certainly showing his Premier League qualities throughout the game and gave McAnuff a half chance minutes later, but couldn`t do much from a tight angle. Captain McAnuff then floated in an inviting ball which was met by Antonio and saved very well from David James.
Reading slowly got into the game as it progressed. Good work down the right allowed Hunt to ping in a pin-point cross for McAnuff, but the 29-year old could only head over. The home side`s pressure was mounting with Hunt going extremely close from Antonio`s decent cross.
However, the Robins had plenty of pace in there side to attack the Royals on the counter. Adomah came very close from an overhead kick from 5 yards but Federici made a great point blank save. Hunt and Gorkss then went close as the half fizzled out, lacking a certain cutting edge.
Bristol City had the first decent chance of the second period, as Chris Wood climbed highest from Bolasie`s cross but could only head straight into the hands of Adam Federici. Karacan then had a header of his own caught by James but minutes later was to be the games turning moment.
New signing Jason Roberts got the ball in the penalty area and turned Carey, only for the defender to hurl Roberts down and the referee Patrick Miller to point to the spot and hand out a red card to the City captain. Roberts took it himself but scuffed the penalty, only to bundle in the rebound to give the home side the lead.
The momentum was fully with Reading as Roberts was at the forefront again as he shot just wide from 10 yards on the turn. Despite being down to ten men, the visitors weren`t going to give up. Albert Adomah hit a great curling effort from 20 yards which hit Federici`s post and came out.
The game endured a very scrappy period after the goal, with Bristol City looking a constant threat on the break. However, as injury time approached as another deubtant Cywka was bundled over by Pearson, once again the referee pointing to the spot.
With Roberts being replaced by Simon Church, returning captain McAnuff decided to take the spot kick but for it to be saved by David James. Keen to redeem himself, McAnuff worked himself another chances minutes later but James once again pulled off a fantastic save.
The victory takes Reading up to fourth place, despite playing one more game than their promotion rivals.
Reading: Federici, Cummings, Pearce, Gorkss, Griffin, Antonio, Karacan, Tabb, McAnuff, Hunt, Roberts
Subs: Andersen, Harte, Cywka, Church, Le Fondre
Bristol City: James, Foster, Carey, Nyatanga, McGivern, Skuse, Cisse, Pearson, Adomah, Wood, Bolasie
Subs: Gerken, Wilson, Kilkenny, Maynard, Pitman