Reading end losing run with hard-fought victory over Bristol City
Reading ended a run of three successive Championship defeats with a hard-earned 2-0 victory over Bristol City at the SCL Stadium.
Neither side offered much going forward in a drab first half, with the defences on top and the goalkeepers barely tested.
But Reading made the breakthrough in the 52nd minute, when loanee Mamadou Loum headed in from a Tom Ince corner.
Deep in stoppage time, Andy Carroll made the points safe for the hosts by clinically finishing a quick counter-attack.
Reading had taken only one point from a possible 12, losing their past three games and dropping from third place in the table to 10th.
They lost 3-2 at Swansea on Tuesday, having led 2-0 in the 33rd minute.
City had won only twice in eight outings but both victories came in their past three fixtures.
Reading began brightly, with Ince finding space on the right and crossing precisely into the City area.
Yakou Meite attempted a spectacular diving header but miscued his connection and the chance went begging.
City replied instantly, when winning a dangerous free-kick on the left, but the delivery of Jay Dasilva was poor and the opportunity lost.
Again City threatened, after good work from Antoine Semenyo, only for the home defence to comfortably deal with Dasilva’s cross.
From another free-kick from the busy Dasilva, Reading keeper Joe Lumley rose high to try to collect the ball.
He initially fumbled it – but was then quick to regain possession before City could take advantage.
Reading finally managed to exert some pressure on the City goal, with Meite providing a clever flick to set up Jeff Hendrick.
However, with a clear path in front of him, Hendrick shot weakly at City keeper Max O’Leary, who saved easily.
As the game drifted towards the break, Semenyo latched on to an Alex Scott free-kick only to be swiftly crowded out when shaping to shoot.
Reading showed enterprise in the opening exchanges of the second period, with left back Baba Rahman driving narrowly wide from 25 yards.
But the hosts did go ahead seven minutes into the half.
Ince slung over a corner from the right and midfielder Loum, on loan from FC Porto, nodded home powerfully from close range for his first goal for the club.
City manager Nigel Pearson brought on attacking substitutes Andi Weimann, Chris Martin and Tommy Conway together in an effort to find the equaliser.
And Mark Sykes should have done better than firing wildly wide as City pushed for that leveller.
But Reading held strong at the back and made it 2-0 on the break in added time, when Carroll converted from an unselfish pass from fellow substitute Shane Long.