clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Five Things: Wednesday vs Reading

Even though we'd all rather forget this horrible game, here's five points to take away from a diabolical afternoon at Hillsborough.

1) Our defence has its off days, too.

It's easy to forget when the games are going well that our central defence is still very young and inexperienced, especially when before this game we were conceding less than a goal a game. It's common knowledge that Sean Morrison and Alex Pearce are not the quickest of defenders, but it is obvious that they have good footballing heads and they can only keep improving, especially when they are playing alongside the likes of Wayne Bridge and Stephen Kelly.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not praising our defensive display from Saturday's game. It was quite frankly horrific, with lack of communication, control, shape and awareness throughout the game. However, every team has an off day. It's just the way football goes sometimes, especially in a league like this one where results are unpredictable on a weekly basis. You've also got to give some credit to Chris Gunter for that cracking cross for Reading's first goal. Apart from that, if the defence hadn’t turned up, our performance wouldn’t have actually been much worse.

2) Adkins doesn't like naming the same starting XI.

When Nigel Adkins replaced Brian McDermott, the prospect that some of the 'undroppable' players may finally have to make way for others was an exciting one. However, I have never understood why a manager would want to change an unbeaten team (unless there are injuries) like Adkins has done a few times this season. Is it fair to say that Adkins is beginning to have his favourites too?

What I mean by this in context of Saturday's game is that Alex McCarthy appears to always have a spot in the team as long as he is fit. I personally believe that Adam Federici didn't do a lot wrong in his short stint between the sticks, certainly nothing to warrant gaining his place back on the bench. Okay, the penalty he gave away against Millwall was sloppy, but you can balance that up by saying that McCarthy was at fault for at least two of the goals on Saturday, amongst the abysmal defending. I think Reading are lucky in having two top class 'keepers, but on their day I genuinely believe that there isn't much difference in terms of quality between the two of them. I can't say that Feders would have done any better at Wednesday; I just can't help but think he must be feeling pretty hard done by.

3) Pogrebnyak is becoming the key striker we were promised - and more.

If you can give a Man of the Match award for a Reading player from Saturday's comedy of errors, Pavel Pogrebnyak would be the winner by an absolute country mile. It was obvious that he was the danger man going forward, by producing a great header from Gunter’s cross, and also winning the consolation penalty, which Adam le Fondre scored. Pav was the only player who looked remotely interested in the game which was taking place from start to finish, and still kept going after everyone else’s heads had dropped. I can’t believe the difference between Pogrebnyak’s performances in the Premier League and this season. He is a very exciting player to watch now, who is obviously dedicated to the cause and Adkins is getting the best out of him. I’m looking forward to watching him in a game where the rest of the team look as convincing as he does.

4) Embarrassing? Yes. End of the World and our season? Probably not.

Saturday afternoon at Hillsborough is probably the most embarrassed I’ve felt as a Reading fan for a very long time (thankfully I wasn’t at the Peterborough game in the cup). Even though Wednesday were bottom of the league, we should have never gone there and completely underestimated the opposition and expected the win. It was highly annoying at the time, and the way we played was totally unacceptable for the position we are in the league. However, once you’ve calmed down and looked at the wider picture, it’s not all doom and gloom. Firstly, we miraculously managed to hold onto 5th, albeit by scoring one more goal than Nottingham Forest so far this season. Secondly, we aren’t even a third of the way through this campaign yet, which means that there is still a long time to make up for mistakes we’ve made in these early stages of the season. I’m a firm believer that the best is still yet to come, but there’s no doubt there's going to be a few hiccups along the way.

5) Reading fans do have a sense of humour.

It took something to stay right to the end on Saturday, and I managed it. There was a feeling of guilt building up if I left (even with that score line and performance!!). I worry that I get slightly too passionate about football sometimes. I get caught up in the whirlwind of the moment, shouting somewhat enthusiastically (and probably nonsense) and forgetting that anything else matters apart from the game that I'm watching. But, what happens when you're losing embarrassingly to the only team in the entire football league yet to register a victory this season? There's no point in shouting anymore, and there’s certainly nothing to gain by booing. The only thing you can do as a supporter is laugh. Chants like 'we're going to win the league' and 'we are going up' towards the end of the match added just a tiny bit of amusement to my very miserable afternoon. Ahh, the simple things.