Match Reports

Jerome header gives City win over Reading

City made it seven games unbeaten with a terrific win on the road against Reading.

James Maddison opened the scoring with a sumptuous free-kick before Liam Moore nodded Reading back on level terms just three minutes later. Cameron Jerome was the matchwinner with an excellently headed goal from a corner in the second half, and City held on comfortably despite the late sending off of substitute Marley Watkins.

Daniel Farke made two changes from the side that won at Middlesbrough in midweek, with Josh Murphy coming in on the left and Wes Hoolahan on the right of the attacking three behind Cameron Jerome, with Yanic Wildschut and Marley Watkins dropping to the bench.

City dominated the early stages against a Reading side who appeared nervy in possession. Jerome had a strong shout for a penalty turned down, but seconds late Norwich were rewarded a free-kick 30 yards out. Maddison and Hoolahan both stood over it, with the ball dead central. It was Maddison who stepped up, and he curled an unstoppable shot into the top left corner to put the Canaries 1-0 up in sensational style.

The lead lasted only three minutes though, with Moore rising highest at the far post to nod in an excellent Sone Aluko’s free-kick from the right.

That ramped up the temperature inside the Madjeski, with some tough tackling in the middle of the park from both sides.

It was City who went closest again in a breathless first half, with Timm Klose clipping a ball from inside his own half over the Reading back line and into the path of Jerome. He did well to get it under control and get a shot off from a tight angle, but it clipped the far post with Vito Mannone beaten.

Reading started to take control of the game, with a series of dangerous crosses into the box repelled by City’s backline. Norwich were fortunate when Gareth McClearly should have done better on 33 minutes, but he couldn’t control a bouncing ball when clean through and hooked wide under pressure from Angus Gunn.

City gradually started to take the sting out of Reading’s threat, and Murphy had a 20-yard drive comfortably saved after good build-up play from Hoolahan, Alex Tettey and Maddison.

Murphy had another chance shortly before half-time, cutting inside on the left and striking a powerful drive but it was well blocked by Paul McShane and Chris Gunter. There was time for another block, with Moore throwing himself in front of a Maddison effort from 25 yards that looked goal-bound.

The pace was as relentless at the start of the second half, with both teams looking to get forward quickly.

It was City who struck first. Maddison floated a deep corner to the back post, where an unmarked Jerome powered home a header into the roof of the net with only a small space to aim for.

City made their first change in the 59th minute, with Josh Murphy having to leave the field after pulling up. Watkins took his place on the left.

Joey Van Den Berg went into the book for a late challenge on Maddison, who received lengthy treatment before getting back on his feet. Shortly afterwards right-back Gunter slammed a shot against the crossbar from 20 yards as Reading searched for an equaliser.

Yanic Wildschut and Harrison Reed were introduced for James Maddison and Wes Hoolahan as City looked to close things out. The Canaries were calm in possession as they prevented a late charge from Reading, with Gunn having little to do other than collecting some deep crosses into the box.

Watkins saw red in injury time for a late challenge inside Reading’s area after losing the ball. Gunn then did well to dive on the ball to prevent a dangerous cross from the left reaching the advancing Reading attackers.

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