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Further Reading: Hull (A)

Not so long ago in a county pretty far away, Reading fought hard but couldn't bring any points back to Berkshire. Here we'll look a little deeper into the 2-1 defeat.

Martin Willetts/Getty Images

A New Hope?

The result may have been familiar but the performance warmed the heart and for me it's a positive sign that I came away from the game frustrated rather than just apathetic. Reading have been woeful in recent weeks, even when we've won but last night was one of the rare occasions of late that you can be proud of their performance.

For starters this.....

That my friends is one of the finest team goals you'll ever see Reading score and one of the best you'll see in the Championship full stop. It showed the supreme quality we have in the side and it's just about putting it together on a consistent basis. For all the love I had for the likes of Jobi McAnuff, Noel Hunt & Pavel Pogrebnyak, I don't think you'd have been seeing that from them!

More importantly there were determined and gritty performances from just about every Reading player and while the quality was sometimes lacking, this was a rare instance in recent times that you couldn't fault the effort

*****

Remember My Name

Bond, Jonathan Bond

Just days after our Tilehurst End Podcast Christmas Special crew voted Bond to be the breakout performer of 2016, the goalkeeper produced his finest display in a Reading shirt. The keeper made seven saves against Hull, that's just six less than his total from the prior ten games combined.

Jonathan Bond 2015/16
Opponent Saves Made
Birmingham 1
Leeds 1
Sheffield Weds 1
MK Dons 0
Brentford 0
Ipswich 1
Derby 1
Bristol City 2
Burnley 4
Preston 2
Hull 7
TOTAL 20

The one downside was his kicking, with just 33% of his passes finding the mark yet we saw enough last night to show why Steve Clarke made him his number one at the start of the campaign.

Return Of the Jedi Brian

While the performance was pleasing, both the Hull and Preston games very much had that pre-season feel to them as we all waited for the new manager to be confirmed. Now that Brian McDermott is back we've actually got a bit of focus and the new team can start to take shape. There's far more questions than answers around this squad right now but one thing Brian's been brilliant at is getting a squad going after Christmas.

Brian McDermott

Reading Championship Record After January 1

Season Games Won Drawn Lost
2009/10 22 12 4 6
2010/11 23 12 7 4
2011/12 22 16 2 4
TOTAL 67 40 13 14

That is an absolutely outstanding record, with just 14 defeats in 67 games. The counter argument is of course that he's a slow starter with a new squad but once it gets going he's shown how drastically things can improve.

*****

The Championship Is Still There For The Taking

Ok so automatic promotion may be a long-shot at this stage but Hull once again showed that there's nobody in this division that Reading should be scared of. We've been in with a chance of winning in just about every game we've played and have already beaten Burnley, Ipswich and Middlesbrough inside the top six.

As I said with the goal, the quality is there it's just about getting the consistency back.

(Stats from Squawka & WhoScored, video from Official YouTube highlights)