Guidetti 9mins, Pozo 13mins, Rusnak 86mins
- Match reports
- Mon 14 Jan 2013, 3:15PM
- Posted by @markbooth_mcfc
John Guidetti made a goalscoring return to action in his first City appearance for 18 months to get the Blues’ 2013 off to a winning start.
Following his nine-month lay-off with a knee injury and season-long loan at Feyenoord, Guidetti was making his first appearance in a City shirt since July 2011 and the Swedish striker marked his comeback in style at a bitterly cold Regional Athletics Stadium.
City’s FA Youth Cup heroes Marcos Lopes and Jose Angel Pozo took their places in the line-up along with Dedryck Boyata who recently returned from a six-month loan spell at FC Twente.
City EDS finished in sixth position in National Group Three before Christmas, so were placed in Qualification Tier Two alongside the Royals who were the first opposition of 2013 for Lombardo’s side.
Guidetti couldn’t have made a much more immediate impact, sliding in a Marcos Lopes cross at the back post on nine minutes to announce his return to the fold.
It was a simple finish but his movement demonstrated the kind of predatory instincts that have become synonymous with the Swede.
The Blues doubled their advantage just five minutes later through Pozo, and Lopes was once again the architect, sliding in an incisive pass which the Spaniard controlled well and fired a shot which cannoned off a defender and looped over the keeper.
Reading almost halved the deficit immediately through Nick Arnold but the full-back fired into the side netting after a neat counter-attack from the visitors.
Lombardo’s decision to field Pozo in a central position off Guidetti meant that Denis Suarez was playing in a deeper role than he’s typically deployed in and the 19-year old was excellent as City's metronome, lending the ball to teammates and showcasing his extensive passing range.
Reading opted for damage limitation for the rest of the half, closing ranks in a bid to keep a rampant City side on a tight leash.
Devante Cole replaced Guidetti at half-time after a fitness-boosting 45 minutes but there was danger at the other end two minutes after the restart, with a blistering drive from Gunnarsson requiring an excellent save from Eirik Johansen to preserve City’s two-goal advantage.
The game has opened up and there was a flurry of chances at both ends around the hour mark, when Ryan Edwards cracked a shot against the post for the visitors, while Pozo and Lopes both missed one-on-one opportunities.
With Reading pressing on in a bid to get back within striking distance, the third goal in this game would set the tone for the remaining minutes and it was the visitors who got it, courtesy of Lawson D’Ath’s back post finish after 75 minutes.
All of a sudden with 15 to play, a game that City had bossed was hanging in the balance but the Reading resistance was finally finished off after 85 minutes when Albert Rusnak fired a fine strike across Henly to make sure of the points.
It completed a hat-trick of assists for City's man of the moment, Marcos Lopes.
A first league win since 24th August and a real shot in the arm for the rest of 2013.