Game Report: Reading 2-1 Birmingham City
Strong play, poor result
Tuesday afternoon Birmingham City failed to get any points from a game they could not afford to lose against a team teetering above the relegation zone.
The Blues got off to a frenetic start with a clear attacking intent, but the game devolved quickly with neither team able to generate any clear control for about the first 15 minutes. Birmingham were however the first to recover and started creating good chances, racking up 6 shots and 3 on target before the Royals even managed a single shot. Reading finished the first half with 3 shots total, all off target, including the best chance of the half for either team, which saw Thomas Ince sky the ball way over the crossbar from just 5 yards out. With that the teams entered the break scoreless.
In the second half, things went wild. Birmingham’s Kristian Pedersen was extremely lucky not to get a second yellow for a blatant rugby tackle, and just a few minutes later Reading’s Junior Hoilett also avoided a red card for a very rough tackle on Onel Hernandez. Just a couple of minutes later in the 67th minute Reading broke the deadlock with a Lucas Joao strike from the 18 yard line. Six minutes after that Onel Hernandez decided to return Hoilett’s favor and made a bad foul in the box, leading to a John Swift goal from the spot.
The Blues did not give up, however, and attacked mercilessly for the remainder of the game. But their only score came when Reading decided to make things interesting in the 82nd minute when a long-range cross bounced off defender Tom McIntyre into the net. With a measure of hope, Birmingham poured it on, ending the game with 16 shots, but were unable to notch a tying goal.
With the loss, the Blues remain mired in 18th place. Reading also did not improve their standing, but have some breathing room over the three teams in relegation position. Birmingham now returns home for a tough match against 5th place Huddersfield on Saturday at 9:00am CST (not aired on ESPN+).