Reading put an end to their three-game winless run with a comfortable win over Bristol City. The Robins failed to create enough chances and were punished by a clinical Reading side, who bounced back in impressive fashion with a 2-0 win over their play-off chasing rivals to further cement their place in the top six.
The Robins have suffered recently; Dean Holden’s side came into the game with five successive defeats, and the Royals' win last night marked the end of the road for Lee Johnson’s successor.
Story of the match
Following a lacklustre opening half-hour, Reading caused the first real problem: the visitors saw the ball cleared off of the line after Ovie Ejaria laid it back for Omar Richards, who drilled a fierce effort goalwards. The Bayern Munich-bound full-back's shot beat Daniel Bentley before Jack Hunt cleared it off the line for the hosts.
It was the Royals who struck first: Young Michael Olise further showcased his talent with a deep free kick that found target-man Lucas Joao; unmarked at the near post, the Portuguese brought the ball down calmly and volleyed home into the bottom right corner to give the visitors the lead at Ashton Gate.
The opening goal was a fair reflection of the early encounter between the two sides, following a series of attacking play for the travelling side that evidently paid off.
Shortly after, the visitors doubled their lead before half-time. Another lapse of concentration in the Bristol City midfield was punished in the 44th minute.
Royals centre-back Michael Morrison picked up the ball 40 yards out, dribbled his way into the box and played a neat one-two before lofting the ball over the keeper in brilliant fashion. The home side went into the break trailing by two goals.
Reading nearly added insult to injury on multiple occasions, as the Robins fell short of expectations once again. Goals from Joao and stand-in captain Morrison proved to be the difference in Bristol.
Veljko Paunovic will be pleased to have done the double over the Robins, but the Bristol City board had seen enough, following a sixth successive defeat for Dean Holden.
Takeaways from the match
The Robins needed a change
Following a series of poor results, Holden was relieved of his duties at Ashton Gate after last night's defeat. The Robins had a great start to the season, that begun to deteriorate after the 3-1 defeat in the reverse fixture at The Madejski, and the inconsistency has been ever-present in results since.
Reading mean business
On occasions this season, Reading have fallen short of their own expectations, and looked a shadow of their usual selves. However, the Royals proved last night that they are capable of bouncing back from difficult results, and not falling into the infamous Championship rut that Dean Holden fell victim to.
Granted, Bristol City performed particularly poorly, but the Royals' ability to see out the game comfortably does not go unnoticed in this division.
Man of the match
Michael Morrsion was as commanding as ever in the heart of defence, and scored a memorable goal to compliment a well-deserved clean sheet.
The former Birmingham City defender has been a credit to Liam Moore in his temporary captain duties recently, with last night proving no different.