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Match Report


Posted Tue 31 Jan 17 at 21:30 PM

Report: Blues 0 Reading 1

Blues were narrowly beaten at St. Andrew’s on Tuesday evening after conceding a late goal against Reading.

In a game of plenty of chances for both sides, it was John Swift that scored the decisive one from close range for the visitors after 77 minutes.

Gianfranco Zola made three changes to his starting XI with Paul Robinson, Josh Dacres-Cogley and Stephen Gleeson coming in for Michael Morrison, Emilio Nsue and Robert Tesche respectively.

In what were rainy and slippery conditions, Blues made a really positive start and were on the front foot almost immediately, pressing Reading back deep into their own half.

But it was the visitors that went close first after just three minutes when Gareth McCleary tried his luck from distance, but Tomasz Kuszczak just got his fingertips to the ball and diverted it behind for a corner.

However, it didn't take Blues long to respond as Lukas Jutkiewicz evaded his marker in the box before shooting straight at Reading stopper Ali Al Habsi.

With almost a quarter of an hour gone, a slip by Stephen Gleeson allowed Reading in, but fortunately for the hosts Swift was unable to get the ball out from under his feet with just Kuszczak to beat. 

Reading were beginning to grow in confidence and Liam Kelly fired a teasing cross across the front of the Blues goal which just evaded his teammates.

Blues were soon back on the offensive themselves though and Josh Dacres-Cogley burst down the right before whipping in a deep cross to the far post where it found Jutkiewicz, but his header was well off target.

With 25 gone, Reading were inches away from taking the lead when Kelly’s curling 20-yard effort clipped the bar and went behind for a Blues goal kick.

The same Reading player was then denied by a fantastic block from Ryan Shotton, as the Blues defender deflected his goalbound shot away from the danger zone.

The next player to try his luck for Blues was David Davis. After a scramble in the box, the ball fell to the midfielder but his sidefooted attempt was just over.

Half-time: Blues 0 Reading 0

There was a solitary change to the Blues line-up after the break with Michael Morrison replacing the injured Shotton in the centre of defence.

Within 30 seconds of the restart Kerim Frei burst forward and let fly with a shot which was deflected behind for a corner.

Blues were really in the ascendancy now and were just a fraction away from breaking the deadlock after Dacres-Cogley put a brilliant pass across the front of the Reading goal.

But with just the goalkeeper to beat, Jutkiewicz stumbled and the chance was gone.

The game threatened to boil over just before the hour-mark when Robinson was fouled and after the ensuing fracas, Gleeson and McCleary were both cautioned.

A great piece of defensive play by Robinson got Blues out of trouble after Roy Beerens burst into the box, but the veteran defender used all his experience to dispossess the Reading man with him looking odds-on to score.

With 69 gone, Gardner tried his luck with a pile driver of a shot from 25 yards, which Al Habsi just about managed to palm away.

The game was ebbing and flowing both ways before Reading took the lead after 77 minutes when Swift turned the ball home from just two yards out after meeting Jordan Swift’s cross from the left.

With eight minutes of normal time remaining, Zola made his second change of the game when he sent on Greg Stewart for Davis.

But it had little effect, and despite pushing on in search of an equaliser, Blues were unable to get back into the contest in the remaining 12 minutes.

They return to action this Saturday when they play host to Fulham.

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