Championship
ReadingReading2BirminghamBirmingham City3

Reading 2-3 Birmingham City: Jeremie Bela sets up Blues win

Bellingham is the Blues' youngest ever first-team player, having made his debut at 16 earlier this season
Jude Bellingham celebrates after his shot deflected off Michael Morrison for Birmingham's opening goal at the Madejski Stadium

Jeremie Bela netted his first goal in English football and set up another as Birmingham triumphed at the Madejski Stadium.

The French forward, who joined the Blues last month, rifled in a 25-yard free-kick to help his side clinch the points against Reading.

Birmingham went in front when Jude Bellingham's drive deflected off former Blues skipper Michael Morrison, only for Yakou Meite to head Reading level.

But Bela's strike restored the visitors' advantage and he then teed up Alvaro Gimenez to make it 3-1 before Lucas Joao grabbed a late consolation.

Reading had the better opportunities in a tightly-contested first half, with Matt Miazga heading wide and Meite miscuing after Garath McCleary had set him up.

However, Blues went ahead with a goal from nowhere in the 41st minute, Bellingham's effort taking a wicked deflection off Morrison to leave Rafael Cabral helpless.

The lead lasted only four minutes as Pele delivered a corner for Meite to make amends for that earlier miss with his fifth goal of the campaign.

In an end-to-end second half, Birmingham's Jacques Maghoma hit the bar before Bela put his side 2-1 up, crashing a free-kick into the top corner of the net.

Reading pressed hard for a second equaliser and George Puscas and Joao both squandered chances to square the contest again.

But Gimenez earned the Blues some breathing space in the 88th minute, finding the net with a left-foot finish before Joao stabbed home Reading's second deep into added time.

Reading manager Mark Bowen:

"We were poor. It's easy to say that we're missing our 'ball players' in John Swift and Ovie Ejaria and that was a big loss to us.

"But the players stepping in have got to be better in terms of passing, retaining possession and being braver on the ball. They were lacking today.

"I pride myself on my team picking up second balls but I thought we were so poor at that. We were sloppy getting into the game and then in possession.

"I said to the players in the dressing-room 'I've got no problem if you give the ball away'. But you then have to go and get it again and be brave."

Birmingham head coach Pep Clotet told BBC WM 95.6:

"It was a huge step forward to where we want to be. The whole team believe in what we're doing, we keep playing our football, we keep going and in the end we get a fantastic result.

"Jeremie has this kick, we've been working a lot with him, preparing a lot of free-kicks - direct and indirect - and it's good that it paid off. From that distance, it was perfect because it's very difficult for the goalkeeper.

"Josh (McEachran) helped us massively on those build-ups because, if you compare it to our game against Millwall, we struggled a little bit to get the ball from the back to the midfield and forwards. Josh had that role today and accomplished it very well.

"Everyone in this team is contributing and, when the moment comes, they're ready. when we score one goal, we want the second one and when we have the second, we want to go for the third."

Line-ups

Reading

Formation 3-5-2

  • 33Cabral Barbosa
  • 5MiazgaSubstituted forBoyéat 45'minutes
  • 4Morrison
  • 6Moore
  • 17Yiadom
  • 29Tuncará GomesSubstituted forAdamat 76'minutes
  • 8Rinomhota
  • 12McClearySubstituted forLucas Joãoat 66'minutes
  • 27Richards
  • 19Meite
  • 47PuscasBooked at 90mins

Substitutes

  • 1Walker
  • 2Gunter
  • 15Loader
  • 18Boyé
  • 24Blackett
  • 26Adam
  • 31Lucas João

Birmingham

Formation 4-4-2

  • 27Trueman
  • 5Colin
  • 12Dean
  • 14Clarke-SalterSubstituted forHardingat 17'minutes
  • 3Pedersen
  • 7CrowleySubstituted forMaghomaat 30'minutes
  • 34Sunjic
  • 16McEachranBooked at 62minsSubstituted forJutkiewiczat 69'minutes
  • 11Bela
  • 24Giménez
  • 22Bellingham

Substitutes

  • 1Camp
  • 2Harding
  • 10Jutkiewicz
  • 15Montero
  • 19Maghoma
  • 26Davis
  • 37Bailey
Referee:
Tim Robinson
Attendance:
14,103

Match Stats

Home TeamReadingAway TeamBirmingham
Possession
Home42%
Away58%
Shots
Home15
Away16
Shots on Target
Home4
Away5
Corners
Home8
Away5
Fouls
Home19
Away7

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Reading 2, Birmingham City 3.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Reading 2, Birmingham City 3.

  3. Post update

    Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Andy Rinomhota.

  4. Goal!

    Goal! Reading 2, Birmingham City 3. Lucas João (Reading) right footed shot from very close range to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Charlie Adam following a set piece situation.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Lukas Jutkiewicz (Birmingham City).

  6. Post update

    Michael Morrison (Reading) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  7. Post update

    Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Liam Moore.

  8. Post update

    Jacques Maghoma (Birmingham City) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Charlie Adam (Reading).

  10. Booking

    George Puscas (Reading) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  11. Post update

    Harlee Dean (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  12. Post update

    Foul by George Puscas (Reading).

  13. Goal!

    Goal! Reading 1, Birmingham City 3. Álvaro Giménez (Birmingham City) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner.

  14. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Álvaro Giménez (Birmingham City) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Jérémie Bela.

  15. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Andy Yiadom (Reading) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Lucas Boyé.

  16. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Yakou Meite (Reading) header from the right side of the six yard box is blocked. Assisted by Charlie Adam with a cross.

  17. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Lucas Boyé (Reading) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Lucas João.

  18. Post update

    Attempt saved. Jacques Maghoma (Birmingham City) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Álvaro Giménez.

  19. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Lucas Boyé (Reading) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Andy Yiadom.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Ivan Sunjic (Birmingham City).