Blues travelled to Berkshire knowing a win would kick start the new year with a bang, especially after the win against Leeds on the 30th.
Cotterill named an unchanged side to the one that beat Thomas Christiansen’s men 1-0. The Birmingham fans were singing Jaques Maghoma’s praises after his inspirational performance against Leeds, he was in the attack with Jeremie Boga and Sam Gallagher – who are both on red hot form.
Reading, on the other hand, had not won in five before Tuesday nights game and hopefully, for Birmingham’s sake, that would be stretched to six.
The game started off slowly, for once it was Blues who were the stronger side all over the pitch. Reading obviously had opportunities but didn’t take them. It had to click at some point for Blues and against Leeds you thought it had and it did just that in this game too.
It looked as though the home side’s main threat was their big front man Yann Kermogant; he was creating a few chances for himself. Modou Barrow on loan from Swansea and other winger Sone Aluko were also attacking threats Reading had in their locker, but Blues sniffed out any danger the Royals put infront of them.
It had to be a big gritty performance by both teams but it showed that the visitors were well up for it and mid-way through the first half it was Birmingham who took the lead, the boys in red last night found Maghoma in space and he smashed the ball into the top left corner of the goal giving the Reading goalkeeper no chance. This was the goal Steve Cotterill’s side needed and it felt even better after backing it up with the win against Leeds, which was surprising.
Reading were trying everything they had, but they kept running out of ideas. Pelle Clement was in the side and he attempted to win a free kick more times than the one he did win, but Jonathan Grounds had him where he wanted him.
Jeremie Boga was the bright spark in the Birmingham side, just as he has been in the last few matches, making darting runs left right and centre; but Reading ran out of steam as the half drew to a close and the away side were in control even more.
As the second period began, Japp Stam made a quite deserved change, bringing on Tyler Blackett for Joey Van Dee Berg which was sure to tighten the defence a bit. Blues made no changes going into the second half. Straight away Reading conceded a corner to Blues, won by Maxime Colin; it was evident Cotterill had asked for more of the same…
Stam’s side were sure to have a dominant spell at some point in the game and that time was mid way through the second half where they won three corners in succession, but again the away team cut out any chance of a Reading equaliser and instead went up the other end of the counter attack and scored a second goal, the first time they’ve done that since August.
Boga ran away with the ball with pace from the corner beating two Reading players to slide it through to Blues striker Sam Gallagher who slotted the ball past Mannone to double Birmingham’s advantage to 2 and really put the game to bed and give Cotterill his first back to back wins as Blues manager. This spelled even more danger for Reading as they made two more substitutes seeing Gareth McCleary replacing Aluko and Liam Kelly replacing Clement.
That was pretty much it from the game’s perspective, Birmingham had Reading where they wanted them all game and took huge advantage of the fact Reading had not won in 5 matches. Next up is struggling Burton in the FA cup, then a trip to Preston, which is always tough.
A big away win, one they haven’t had all season long and a game where they’ve scored more than once since August when they defeated Bristol City 2-1. Cotterill will be hugely excited by this result and so will all the Blues faithful. Blues are now off the bottom of the league and now just one point from safety.
RB Gunter , CB McShane , CB Moore , LB Bacuna
CDM Swift, CDM Van Der Berg, RM Aluko , CM Clement , LM Barrow
RB Colin , CB Roberts , CB Dean , LB Grounds
RCM Davis , CM Kieftenbeld , LCM Gardner
RW Maghoma , CF Gallagher , LW Boga
Possession: Reading 61% , Birmingham 38%
Shots: Reading 12 , Birmingham 13
Shots on target: Reading 5 , Birmingham 4
Corners: Reading 9 , Birmingham 8
Fouls made: Reading 9 , Birmingham 13