Birm’ham 1 – 2 Reading


Young substitute Jahmari Clarke scored twice as Reading ended a four-game losing streak and nearly seven hours without a goal with a 2-1 win in a late match against Birmingham at St Andrew’s.

Academy graduate Clarke, 18, drew in the 70th minute with his first team goal and then scored again in the 82nd minute.

Scott Hogan had put Birmingham on track for what for a while looked like it would be their fourth straight win.

Kick-off was delayed by 35 minutes due to a system failure at St Andrew’s which engineers repaired after tickets could not be scanned and CCTV and wifi were affected.

The Blues were in a hurry to get started and took the lead in the third minute.

Hogan hooked on a subdued back pass of captain Liam Moore and goalkeeper Luke Southwood before touching the empty goal.

Jahmari Clarke has been twice to sign for reading

It was Hogan’s third goal in as many games and his sixth of the season.

Hogan then attempted to turn the supplier with a cross intended for Troy Deeney which had to be pushed over the crossbar by Southwood.

Reading, who has 16 injured players, got back in the game and was a threat for the final hour of play.

After a superb slip by Marc Roberts to stop George Puscas, John Swift’s free-kick was blocked by the defensive wall before Tom Dele-Bashiru slashed wide from long range.

Reading continued to strive for something from the game during the second half.

Andy Yiadom saw a cross fiercely hit on the face of goal with no one to apply the finishing touch and was inches away with a low shot from the edge of the box.

Meanwhile, Blues returned to the attack and Riley McGree hit a 25-yard drive uphill that flew just over the crossbar.

However, the Azzurri remain dangerous and Jeremie Bela goes desperately close with a shot that ends just wide after his cut from the left.

Reading equalized when Clarke, Puscas’ replacement at half-time, scored a header from Swift’s cross.

The goal ended a 409-minute streak without a royals goal.

Blues went for the winner and Deeney sent a diving header against a Bela cross post.

But Clarke came up with other ideas and hit the bull’s-eye with eight minutes left after her first shot was blocked by goalkeeper Matija Sarkic.

Deeney’s header was deflected to the side by another cross from Bela as the Blues again piled forward in search of an equalizer.

But Reading held on for three valuable points and a first win since 16 October.


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