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Millwall vs Reading: Five Things

Here are five things to take away from another important victory at the New Den on Saturday.

<strong>1) Simple football works best.</strong>

The football we are playing at the moment doesn’t set the World alight, but it works which is shown by recent results. Thinking back to a month ago, when we were lucky to have more than one shot on target throughout an entire game, it almost feels like a completely different team that’s playing on a weekly basis. It’s definitely the most consistently enjoyable football I remember since the 2011/12 season, and hopefully this isn’t going to change anytime soon.

<strong>2) Our Academy is pretty good.</strong>

On Saturday, the Royals squad consisted of six products of the academy, five of which played at least some part during the 90 minutes. It’s been common knowledge for a while that the academy can churn out some pretty promising players, and it’s been hard to imagine a recent Reading starting XI that hasn’t included at least one academy player. However, it’s good to see that our youth system is still playing a big part in the set-up of our first team squad.

<strong>3) Hopefully Akpan’s knock is superficial.</strong>

I, for one, was pretty gutted when Hope Akpan got substituted during the first half on Saturday. The partnership he has created in midfield with Danny Williams has been hugely effective, and it has been enjoyable watching him grow as a player in such a short space of time. The midfield pairing is vital to the style of football we are playing currently, and I would be disappointed and almost slightly worried if Danny Guthrie was to return to the squad whilst the football is so free-flowing and attacking.

<strong>4) The passion from the players is back.</strong>

There’s nothing better than seeing the passion you feel as fan for your team being replicated on the pitch by the players. The celebrations for all of the goals, particularly when Alex Pearce went mental in front of the away fans after he scored (with his foot!!!!), was something great to see, and really showed the togetherness of the squad that we need to have a success run until the end of the season.

<strong>5) Millwall is still a very weird place to visit.</strong>

Even though the days of football violence are mainly behind us, and incidents are few and far between, the thought of the Millwall away fixture always strikes apprehension and uneasiness. The train on the way to South Bermondsey was very quiet and tense, with people anxiously looking around to try and figure out who was who, and, unlike last time, set of opposing fans weren’t separated on the trains at full time. However, the atmosphere Millwall are trying to create inside the ground is completely different. I came across some of the friendliest stewards I have met all season, which was slightly unnerving, but a pleasant surprise from what I’d remembered the last time I visited the Den. Overall, there was a good atmosphere throughout the game, especially from the 1200+ travelling fans, and it was genuinely a reasonably enjoyable away day.