By Rich Brown
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City finally recorded their first home win of the season with an impressive display in the 1-0 win over Reading. Danny Haynes scored the vital winning goal on the half hour mark, and City showed determination and drive to hold on to gain an important three points.
Lee Johnson was restored to the starting line up, as was Campbell-Ryce, with the pair replacing Skuse and Rose respectively.
The game started ominously for City when Long looked set to score but he shot wide after beating Caulker to the ball. Despite this scare, City responded well with a great run from Adomah setting up Stead, only for the in-form striker to see his shot strike the bar.
Adomah was beating former Leeds full back Ian Harte with ease, and the direct nature of his runs were causing Reading problems at the back. The winger played in Stead, who saw his shot saved by former City loanee Adam Federici. Stead and Adomah, who were playing fantastically as they did at Portsmouth weeks ago, looked unplayable at times as City took control of the match.
City then got some reward for their play when Stead layed off a ball for Haynes, who scored his first of the season with a good finish. Free kick specialist Harte then crossed in to the box, but as had happened at Cardiff days previously, it missed everyone, but the difference was that James was there for this one – he saved well to stop a certain goal.
James made another good stop just before the break as Kebe stuck at goal. The half ended with City looking much better than in recent weeks, with Johnson dictating the play in the middle and the forwards looking dangerous in possession.
Reading played some neat football which resulted in another save from James, this time from Irishman Noel Hunt. Adomah almost doubled the lead after again leaving Harte behind, but his shot went just wide.
Reading then had a fantastic chance to equalise but Church, who scored a late equaliser at Ashton Gate last season, almost did the same thing this year, but he missed a sitter, heading straight at James when left six yards out and unmarked.
City managed to hold on for a big win, and it was clear that the addition of Lee Johnson was hugely influential to the side. His ability to slow the play down, bring others into play and retain possession of the ball was a huge improvement from recent weeks. Despite many, including myself, calling for him to dropped last season when we had Hartley in the side, he has come back well to prove that he has much to offer the club. Adomah and Stead were outstanding, and James also proved his worth with a superb string of saves in the City goal.
In defence, Caulker and Fontaine look to have formed a decent partnership, with good communication between the pair and finally, it looks as though the problems at centre half may be behind the club – at least they will be if they continue to play as well as they did in this victory.
City: James, Carey, Caulker, Fontaine, McAllister, Adomah, Johnson, Elliot, Campbell-Ryce (Rose, 84), Stead (Clarkson, 90), Haynes (Cisse, 75)
Goals: Haynes 29
Reading: Federici, Griffin, Mills, Khizanishvili, Harte (Howard, 61), Kebe (Robson-Kanu, 79), Karacan, Armstrong, McAnuff, Long (Church, 75), Hunt
Referee: Chris Sarginson
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