Media Reaction: Sheffield Wednesday (H)

Ben Hoskins

Oh Robert Burns. ''The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray''. Sadly, it took only a single moment of madness from Alex Pearce on Saturday to scupper Royal plans of a third home win on the trot. Here we discover how the nation's media has been treating us this week in light of that 2-0 loss to the Owls.

Well that certainly threw a hypothetical spanner in the works. With Reading's grip on 6th spot loosening, let's pore over some of the wreckage, in the press and on the web.

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The general gist of the official club match report is best summed up in the final three words of the article: ''Not our day''. No beating about the bush, then.

Reference is made, however, to Wednesday's fine form coming into Saturday's game, something which cannot be disputed: Stuart Gray's men have now racked up 4 wins and 4 draws from their last 8 league outings, meaning that they are undefeated since Boxing Day. No mean feat, especially when those results include a hardy stalemate against top-of-the-table contenders Burnley and a 6-0 flogging of Brian McDermott's Leeds.

On the subject of old Reading faces like B-Mac, I couldn't help but notice that there is no reference whatsoever in the report that Benik Afobe is an ex-Royal. Now I know his loan spell (at the end of our Championship-winning season in 2012) was a fleeting one and his impact was minimal, but I find it peculiar nonetheless. Sour grapes, perhaps, considering he 'won' a penalty and scored Wednesday's second.

Regardless, Michail Antonio DOES however get an ex-Royal nod in the report, and in my opinion, deservedly so.

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Over at the Beeb, mired amongst all the coverage of the flooding (I tell you now, and I'm sure I'm not the only one, but the bus journey from Burghfield to the MadStad at the weekend was akin to a fishing trip. But with less fish), we chance across another write-up of Saturday's game.

Comments made by Nigel Adkins at the bottom of the report may ruffle a few feathers. Nige seems adamant that referee Keith Hill made a hash of the penalty call - and subsequent sending-off - and bemoans the implications of the result on our previous ''good momentum''.

Interestingly, the BBC's graphs and whatnot show a clean 50:50 split of possession between the two sides, even with Reading's 10-man deficit. Perhaps home advantage helped balance the stats out.

More worrying is our apparent lack of any shots on target - though I'd query this, as I'd have thought that the Pog's pea-rolling shot that was cleared off the line in the opening 10 minutes by Llera surely counts towards our total...?

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Whilst the name Miguel Llera is fresh on our lips, the Spanish centre-back was the WhoScored.com Man Of The Match for his display at the weekend, chalking up a rating of 8.6. For all you numberphiles out there, you can find the match report here.

Even taking into account his error leading to Afobe's goal, Alex McCarthy still manages to narrowly edge out Garath McCleary in the Reading rankings for the game. It probably comes as little surprise to know that Ol' Pearcey props up the pile with a pitiful rating of 4.64, in no way aided by his career-first red card. Another game to forget for another Alex.

Most demoralising, though, is the dreaded grey ''(Team showed no significant strengths)'' bracket that is emblazoned across the face of the report. Not happy reading from a purely statistical perspective, that's for certain.

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Meanwhile, the Mail Online's depiction of the match (which, I can't help but notice, bears a striking word-for-word resemblance to the Sky Sports write-up of the game) paints an accurate-enough picture of events.

I couldn't help but titter at the comments section at the foot of the article. A personal favourite is the poetic, almost haiku-esque response of:  ''We were awesome. Up the owls. Olay Olay.''


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Finally, no Media Reaction would ever be truly complete without the musings of the Nobbers over at HobNobAnyone?.

A lot of debate surrounding the penalty incident. By all means, take a peek yourself and come to your own conclusions. Personally, I don't think Pearce can have too many complaints - and he didn't, his head looked to be bowed in admittance of his faux-pas.

Either way, we all need to move on quickly and steel ourselves ahead of a testing trip to Loftus Road on Sunday.

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And that's all for another Media Reaction inquisition. Cheerio.

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