Conway back with a bang as Bristol City surrender lead in Reading stalemate
A full recap of Bristol City’s 1-1 draw against Championship rivals Reading on Saturday
Bristol City let a one-goal lead slip as a second-half Lucas Joao goal cancelled out Tommy Conway’s opener in the Robins’ 1-1 draw with Reading.
It was Conway’s first taste of action since early January after a spell on the sidelines with a hamstring injury, and the young talent made his presence felt on his return to action. Following good work from George Tanner, the striker reacted well to slot home with his weak foot.
City had opportunities to extend their lead and Nahki Wells had two goals ruled out for offside on the day, but Joao’s header from Andy Carroll’s flick-on saw it end all square in the West Country.
The hosts made a positive start to the match as they tried to force Reading back. Andi Weimann provided an early threat down the right-hand side, and Anis Mehmeti almost opened the scoring when his effort from the goalline was deflected just over by Andy Yiadom.
Paul Ince’s side’s approach was evident, as the scrapping Royals attempted to use their height advantage up top and exploit space behind the City backline.
Weimann’s volley was cleared from the Reading goalmouth by Carroll, before Wells reacted quickest to turn the ball home after some questionable defending from the visitors - only to see the assistant referee’s flag up for offside.
The Royals missed a brilliant chance to take the lead before the 20-minute mark. Tyrese Fornah’s chipped pass flew over Zak Vyner’s head, but Yakou Meite couldn’t make solid contact with the ball from eight yards out.
Ince’s side were almost made to rue the miss, when moments later a quick counterattack from City saw Cam Pring pick out Mehmeti, who took a brilliant touch and slid through Wells. But Joe Lumley was out just in time to divert the ball away.
Reading began to grow in confidence and looked dangerous from set pieces and throw-ins. Carroll was often the target, but the hosts did well to deal with their opponent’s aerial threat.
City began to dominate towards the end of the first period, but all their good play was almost undone when Meite broke into the home ranks and rounded the onrushing Max O’Leary.
The physical forward got a strong shot off from a difficult angle, but Vyner was perfectly placed to head the shot away for a corner.
It looked destined to be goalless at the break, but Conway had other ideas. George Tanner’s pass into the area took a knick off Mahamadou-Naby Sarr and fell to the Scottish forward who prodded home from 12 yards out with his left foot.
The second period began slowly, but City were soon back on the attack as their quick forwards looked to utilise the gaps in the visiting backline.
A goal down and with a six-point deduction around the corner, the Royals made a string of changes to try and turn their fortunes around.
However, the substitutions almost had the opposite effect. Mehmeti went through one-on-one and it took a smart stop from the Reading goalkeeper to deny him before Harry Cornick almost capitalised on some below-par defending from Ince’s men.
But, regardless of the ‘you don’t know what you’re doing’ chants from the away end at manager Ince, one of his substitutes, Lucas Joao, popped up with an equaliser with 20 minutes to play.
A floated set piece delivery was met by Carroll, and the ball flew onto the head of Joao who beat O’Leary in the home net.
The hosts responded well and went in search of a late winner. Wells was on hand to tap home from Mehmeti’s saved effort, but again the flag was up, before Weimann’s strike from a tight angle flew back off the post.
Reading could’ve snatched all three points when they had a three-on-one deep into stoppage time, but a poor touch from the goalscorer Joao ended any hopes of late drama.