Another vital point in the survival race was picked up at lunch time on Good Friday. Yes, it would’ve been brilliant if we could’ve held on to all three, but at the start of the day the majority of the 2,000 travelling Royals would’ve taken a draw in a heartbeat.
As soon as the lineup was released, it was obvious that Jose Gomes was going for a similar way of playing to what he tried against Norwich City a couple of games ago - block off the spaces, defend your area and then look to spring counter attacks through Modou Barrow and Yakou Meite upfront.
It was a flat back five that the Portuguese opted for, with the ever improving midfield trio of Lewis Baker, Andy Rinomhota and Ovie Ejaria behind the in-form Meite and his best mate Barrow.
A few hairy moments as Bristol City tried to stamp their authority on the game, but all in all our back five and Martinez were rarely properly threatened. Of course the Robins have some good players - you don’t get into the play off positions for nothing in this league - but Gomes has made us a much harder team to beat, no matter who the opposition.
Meite forced a super stop from Max O’Leary, which was the the only real work either keeper had to do in the opening 45. And Liam Moore channelled his inner prime-Gareth Bale as he set off on a marauding overlap down the left flank only to see his ball in miss Barrow by a matter of centimetres.
Josh Brownhill, Andreas Weimann and Famara Diedhiou all continued to try and cause some problems in the Royals’ defence for the hosts, but all of their efforts were either snuffed out by the majestic Matt Miazga and Moore, or the final ball wasn’t quite there.
A very solid half for the Royals who managed to get into the break at 0-0, no less than their sturdy defensive efforts deserved.
A pretty quiet game with no huge chances for either team stepped up a notch after the half time break and, when Lewis Baker was stood over a dead ball about 40 yards out, we were all expecting a cross into the box...
But then the Royals produced the greatest free kick routine in the history of free kick routines (okay, maybe a bit of an exaggeration) as Baker, Chris Gunter and Rinomhota all combined. The latter found Meite in the crowded penalty area, and he sent the travelling Loyal Royals into delirium.
A wonderful team move that we could never have dreamed of seeing in Paul Clement’s era at the Madejski Stadium. Yet another joy of having Jose Gomes at the wheel, and I just want to tell you all how good it feels.
The sun was shining, it was a Bank Holiday weekend and Reading were winning 1-0 away from home. What a day, eh? Well, that was until Josh Brownhill was giving the freedom of Ashton Gate to head home at the back stick after a wicked ball in from substitute Niclas Eliasson.
So, back on level peggings and the home team were pushing for a winner that would cement their position in the top six. Unfortunately for them though, they were up against a Reading team with new-found heart and fight, who don’t let any points lose their grasp easily.
We also had some chances to win it ourselves as Nelson Oliveira looked hungry for his first goal since returning from his hamstring injury. However, a draw was the end result, and probably a fair one, as the Royals now look forward to another home game on Monday as the Baggies roll into Berkshire.
A brilliant performance, a brilliant goal and a brilliant point. Just, brilliant. Every game now is huge and one that we have to pick up points in - and that’s just what we keep doing, it’s great to watch.
In a week where the bond between the fans and the club has just gotten stronger and stronger, the feel good factor is back at the club. We still have three more battles until the war is over, and it’s not going to be easy. But we, as fans, can rest assured knowing our players are now going to put their body on the lines to keep us in this division.