Reading 0-2 Birmingham: First away win of the season for struggling Birmingham
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 02/01/18 10:21pm
Birmingham City moved off the bottom of the Championship with a gritty and deserved 2-0 win at Reading - their first away success of the season.
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Steve Cotterill's side went ahead midway through the first half when Jacques Maghoma lashed home from close range for his second goal in successive matches.
Striker Sam Gallagher secured the much-needed three points when he punished Reading on the counter-attack just past the hour mark.
Reading, now without a win in six games, mustered several chances throughout but lacked the finishing touch to seriously trouble Birmingham.
Birmingham had ended a seven-match run without a win when beating play-off hopefuls Leeds United 1-0 at home on Saturday.
Off-form Reading slipped to 18th place in the table, just four points off the relegation zone.
Birmingham knew that a win would lift them off the bottom, above Sunderland, and they began encouragingly in the pouring rain, with Jeremie Boga having an early shot blocked.
But Reading quickly regained superiority, with Sone Aluko driving over a low cross that both Yann Kermorgant and Mo Barrow miscued on the greasy surface.
Birmingham goalkeeper David Stockdale was then twice called into action.
First, he kept out a fierce angled effort from Barrow at his near post; then he tipped over a well-struck attempt from overlapping right back Chris Gunter.
Birmingham's progress going forward was limited, with Craig Gardner and Boga both crowded out when moving into promising positions.
Kermorgant should also have done better for Reading but nodded weakly over from a John Swift corner.
Stockdale was soon in action again when he fumbled a skidding effort from Aluko but he recovered just in time to scramble the loose ball to safety.
But Birmingham went in front in the 24th minute from a Gardner free kick.
The home defence failed to clear the danger and Maghoma lashed his shot high past helpless keeper Vito Mannone into the roof of the net.
Birmingham could have extended their lead before the break but Mannone saved well from Gallagher.
Reading were jeered off by their fans at half-time and showed little more cohesion in the second period.
Birmingham sat deep and comfortably soaked up the sporadic pressure.
But they could have gone further in front, when captain Harlee Dean nodded narrowly over from a Gardner corner.
They did make it 2-0 in the 64th minute and effectively sealed the win when Gallagher coolly beat Mannone after being released by Boga.
Reading tried hard to launch a late rally but faded after Stockdale had made a vital stop to deny Pelle Clement.