Match ends, Reading 0, Bristol City 1.
Reading 0-1 Bristol City: Jamie Paterson sends Robins into play-off places
Bristol City stretched their winning run in the Championship to three matches as victory at Reading lifted them back into the play-off places.
Jamie Paterson scored the game's only goal, slotting coolly into the bottom corner after Niclas Eliasson's through ball.
It was Paterson's second goal in three league games since being recalled from a season-long loan with Derby County - and ensured City's return to form continues after a run of four successive defeats in December had seen them drop out of the top six.
But the Royals twice came close to snatching a late equaliser, as first Yakou Meite headed against the post and then Chris Gunter saw his attempted chip cleared off the line by Ashley Williams.
The result left inconsistent Reading 15th in the table, 11 points above the bottom three but 10 off the play-off spots.
It was the hosts who had the better of the chances before Paterson's second-half winner, with Royals midfielder Ovie Ejaria wasting the easiest of them when he scooped an effort over the bar from six yards.
John Swift also forced Daniel Bentley into a smart save with a swerving 25-yard strike, while Andreas Weimann's near-post header hit the side-netting at the other end.
Victory for City not only moved them up to sixth, but also saw them cut the gap to second-placed West Bromwich Albion to six points - having just one month ago been 16 points off the Baggies.
Reading manager Mark Bowen told BBC Radio Berkshire:
"Overall I'm disappointed, I thought it was a tight game. There wasn't a lot in it, the longer the game went on I thought one chance would win it or cost us.
"I thought early on we were quite lethargic from the start. The first 15 minutes we were quite casual, we never really imposed ourselves upon them.
"There were too many individuals on the night that were too lethargic and casual. We didn't really want to grab the game by the scruff of the neck."
Bristol City head coach Lee Johnson told BBC Radio Bristol:
"It was definitely a team performance. The fans were clearing it off the line, I was trying to make tackles and it needed that, as Reading have got quality.
"We had to come here and give a proper away performance and we did that. We didn't take the sting out of the game in the final stages and all of a sudden they had the momentum and it was difficult to defend, but we did it.
"No one will remember the last 10 minutes, they will remember a great three points away from home."
- 33Cabral Barbosa
- 2GunterBooked at 45mins
- 24BlackettSubstituted forMeiteat 69'minutes
- 29Tuncará Gomes
- 10SwiftSubstituted forAlukoat 73'minutes
- 47PuscasSubstituted forBaldockat 62'minutes
- 7SmithBooked at 66mins
- 19EliassonSubstituted forMooreat 90+2'minutes
- 8BrownhillBooked at 74mins
- 20PatersonSubstituted forO'Dowdaat 77'minutes
- 9DiédhiouBooked at 33mins
- James Linington
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Reading 0, Bristol City 1.
Corner, Reading. Conceded by Jack Hunt.
Attempt missed. Yakou Meite (Reading) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right.
Substitution, Bristol City. Taylor Moore replaces Niclas Eliasson.
Attempt saved. Yakou Meite (Reading) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Michael Olise with a cross.
Corner, Reading. Conceded by Jack Hunt.
Attempt blocked. Chris Gunter (Reading) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.
Attempt blocked. Sone Aluko (Reading) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
Yakou Meite (Reading) hits the right post with a header from the right side of the six yard box. Assisted by Michael Olise with a cross.
Attempt blocked. Sone Aluko (Reading) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Yakou Meite.
Attempt blocked. Famara Diédhiou (Bristol City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Andreas Weimann.
Foul by Jack Hunt (Bristol City).
Michael Olise (Reading) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Offside, Reading. Chris Gunter tries a through ball, but Sam Baldock is caught offside.
Corner, Bristol City. Conceded by Michael Morrison.
Attempt saved. Callum O'Dowda (Bristol City) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Famara Diédhiou.
Substitution, Bristol City. Callum O'Dowda replaces Jamie Paterson.
Offside, Bristol City. Jack Hunt tries a through ball, but Famara Diédhiou is caught offside.
Attempt missed. Nathan Baker (Bristol City) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Jay Dasilva with a cross.
Josh Brownhill (Bristol City) is shown the yellow card.
Foul by Ovie Ejaria (Reading).
Jamie Paterson (Bristol City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Substitution, Reading. Sone Aluko replaces John Swift.
Corner, Reading. Conceded by Daniel Bentley.
Attempt saved. Yakou Meite (Reading) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Jordan Obita with a cross.
Famara Diédhiou (Bristol City) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Liam Moore (Reading).
Substitution, Reading. Yakou Meite replaces Tyler Blackett.
Foul by Famara Diédhiou (Bristol City).
Michael Morrison (Reading) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt saved. John Swift (Reading) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Korey Smith (Bristol City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Ovie Ejaria (Reading) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Korey Smith (Bristol City).
Goal! Reading 0, Bristol City 1. Jamie Paterson (Bristol City) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Niclas Eliasson.
Substitution, Reading. Sam Baldock replaces George Puscas.
Attempt missed. Famara Diédhiou (Bristol City) header from very close range is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Niclas Eliasson with a cross.
Attempt missed. Ovie Ejaria (Reading) left footed shot from very close range is too high. Assisted by Michael Morrison with a headed pass following a corner.
Corner, Reading. Conceded by Ashley Williams.