Jaap Stam rued missed opportunities as Reading slipped to their first home defeat of the season at the hands of Bristol City.
Reading succumbed to a rare home defeat, their first since January, thanks to a late Aden Flint strike after Royals failed to convert numerous second-half chances to leave Stam’s men with only seven points from their opening six games.
“It’s a cliché but a lot of times you see games when the team who has got opportunities and you don’t finish it off yourselves, that the opposition eventually scores and then that’s it,” said Stam.
“In certain situations, we could have played better in making the right decision to get even more opportunities in going forward. It’s not all about one player, it’s about everybody.
“Everybody needs to take the responsibility when they’re in front of goal, when you get that ball, the one who gives that pass as well needs to make the right decision to the other ones.”
He went on: “Even last season we had games where we had quite a few opportunities that Yann (Kermorgant) or somebody else didn’t score so it’s probably and hopefully one of those games where you’re doing well, you’re creating a lot but you can’t finish it off and then that’s why you don’t win these games.”
Stam handed a debut to record signing Sone Aluko in place of Tiago Ilori in the only change from the win at Birmingham City, while fellow newcomer Dave Edwards was named among the substitutes.
Royals looked to continue their momentum from before the international break and Modou Barrow found space early on out on the left and delivered a dangerous ball into the box but the delivery was just out of reach for the approaching Jon Dadi Bodvarsson.
The visitors threatened again when Callum O’Dowda’s early cross was met on the volley by Bobby Reid, but on the stretch, he lifted his volley onto the roof of the net before left-back Joe Bryan fired a cross-shot from a tight angle wide.
Aluko looked lively early on, his pace causing problems for the Robins defence, and the former Fulham man’s trickery saw him get to the byline and put in a low cross towards Barrow, whose effort went beyond the far post. Aluko demonstrated his eye for goal, shooting narrowly wide after August player of the month Liam Kelly threaded it through.
The ball fell to O’Dowda from a Jamie Paterson corner, but after taking a touch O’Dowda’s curling effort missed the target. Down the other end, Aluko played in Kelly and his low shot from 20 yards forced Robins keeper Frank Fielding into a smart save down to his right.
Kelly then brought the ball forward for a Royals counter, played a one-two with Aluko but skewed his first-time effort wide.
As half-time neared, Barrow broke free down the left and was brought down by Nathan Baker, when through on goal and was perhaps lucky to escape with only a yellow card.
Kelly had another strike on the run saved by Fielding as the two sides headed into the break, with the score line goalless.
Royals came flying out of the traps after the break, with Aluko again linking up with Kelly, who pulled the ball back to Bodvarsson, but he could not directed his effort goalwards.
A series of chances then followed, in a pulsating period of play, with Kelly having a shot blocked, Fielding saving brilliantly to deny Leandro Bacuna, before Barrow lashed an effort just wide as Reading pressed hard for an opener.
Bristol then went close to moving in front against the run of play, with Reid finding a way through the Royals defence to lay-off Paterson, who fired across Mannone and inches wide of the far post.
Bodvarsson squandered a fantastic chance when more clever work from Aluko resulted in a cut back for the Icelander, but Bodvarsson’s attempt trickled wide.
Reading were made to pay for failing to take their chances as Robins took the lead seven minutes from time. Royals thought they had dealt with a set piece, only for Paterson to keep it alive, and the ball fell to defender Flint who fired home first time, through the hand of Mannone and into the bottom corner.
Royals hastily searched for an equaliser bouncing volley from sub Roy Beerens bouncing volley, but it was too close to Fielding and so it was visitors Bristol who left Berkshire with all three points.
“Everyone was disappointed,” said Stam.
“It was not only Jon [Dadi Bodvarsson], everybody was there, it’s not only Jon that missed a couple of opportunities, other players missed as well.
“It’s harsh that you lose, at home, everybody wants to win, we want to do that, every player wants that as well but it’s about scoring goals and if you don’t do that then it’s difficult.
“With all the new players on the pitch today, in how we played and the opportunities we created I think they did pretty well, but not well enough because otherwise we would have won.
“But credit to Bristol of course as well, it’s not only up to us, they fought for it, they went for it, they tried to make it very difficult for us because they know our ability, our quality as well and they’ve got some quality in the team as well.
READING: Mannone, Gunter, Moore, McShane (c), Blackett, van den Berg , Kelly (Edwards 63), Bacuna, Barrow (McCleary 69), Aluko, Böðvarsson (Beerens 77).
Subs not used: Jaakkola, Ilori, Evans, Clement.
Yellow card: van den Berg (32)
BRISTOL CITY: Fielding, Bryan, Flint, Baker, Smith, Brownhill, Diedhiou (Leko 70), O’Dowda (Pack 88), Reid, Paterson, Vyner.
Subs not used: Steele, Wright, Eliasson, Magnusson, Woodrow.
Goal: Flint (84)
Yellow card: Baker (41)
Referee: James Linington