Reading picked up another point this weekend by drawing with Cardiff at Madejski Stadium but what can we take away from the performance? Wimb takes a look in our latest Further Reading.
'He did his job'
You know what's fairly easy folks? Turning up to work and doing enough to not get yourself sacked. Face it, we've ALL been there, you've had a tough week, maybe something's gone on in your private life and you just want to keep your head down, do your work and get home. You have one of those days where you've not let people down but you've hardly made a positive impact on your business doing well.
Reading's footballers have now got that down to an art and it's got to stop.
This isn't a phenomenon that's limited to yesterday's game, quite frankly it's been going on ever since relegation was confirmed from the Premier League three years ago. Don't get me wrong, having an average game isn't always a bad thing but when too many players have them, it usually doesn't end well.
For me the biggest example of this yesterday was Michael Hector. Bucks gave him a 7/10 in our player ratings because he was; 'Calm, composed and effective in his defensive role'... Now that's all well and good but Saturday's bang average opposition gave Hector the chance to go one step further, to put in some crunching tackles, made some drives forward and be that extra body further up the field that might just open up an opportunity. Sadly he just didn't seem interested enough to do it, instead happily sitting in front of the defence and waiting for someone else to inspire.
I don't mean to pick on Hector here because he has put in some spirited performances this season and admittedly didn't let anyone down but on Saturday his performance was symptomatic of an apathy that's blighted the squad for too long and needs to stop.
Sloppy refereeing ruins the fun (again....)
McDermott hardly held back in his post-match comments, calling Darren Drysdale's decision not to penalise Ameobi in the build-up to the equaliser a 'joke'. Again, any referee can blow a decision or two, they're only human and have a tricky job but once again we're left fuming over a refereeing call rather than being able to fairly deconstruct a Reading result.
Should Reading have won anyway? Probably but that's not the point.
All we ask for is consistent refereeing and week-to-week we're seeing so many different interpretations of fouls from a rotating cast of referees that must drive players and managers mad. Perhaps the time has come for the Football League to invest in professional officials in the Championship because the stakes are only getting higher.
Wide of the mark
Admittedly we'd hardly be talking about Mr Drysdale had Ola John buried a clean one-on-one chance right at the end of the first-half. For all of Ola's finer points his finishing has been below par and has likely cost Reading three results in the past eight days. The winger fluffed our two best openings against Palace, somehow missed a golden opportunity against Brighton in mid-week and on Saturday over-complicated a one-on-one against Cardiff's number two keeper Simon Moore.
As much as we've complained about a lack of chances in the last couple of seasons, our finishing across the board just hasn't been good enough. Whether it's a vicious cycle of too few chances = lack of practice = missing chances, is up for debate but there's few excuses for players as good as John, Danny Williams, Yann Kermorgant and Matej Vydra to be constantly failing to hit the target.
To sum things up, guess who's at the very bottom of the Championship for shot accuracy this season?
|TEAM||TOTAL SHOTS||SHOT ACCURACY %|
|21. MK Dons||392||41%|
Reading have had the second most shots in the division this season, with a total of 558 only bettered by automatic promotion contending Hull who've had 561. Yet we've hit nearly two thirds of them off target and have a worse ratio than soon to be relegated Bolton.
'But Wimb!' I hear you cry 'If you have more shots of course more will go off target' Well dear Tilehurst Ender of course you'd be right but the extra problem is where these chances are coming from. Reading's problem is that a whopping 307 (55%) have come from outside the area, the biggest ratio in the division.
Brian has a plan (I hope)
Personally, my biggest frustration right now is with those fans who are making a judgement call on Brian within four months. Nobody is pretending he's had a fabulous start but given that five men have now sat in the dug out since McDermott was sacked in 2013 and none have been able to conjure up a sustained turn around suggest that there are issues far beyond the manager right now.
What's pleasing is that given his public comments, Brian very clearly knows whats going wrong and you have to believe he's doing his best to turn it around with the limited scope for change he's had to date. As soon as safety is secured I believe you'll be seeing the plans go into place for next season, even if it's not the radical infusion of new blood that some have called for. Building a squad takes time and the starting point is finding a group of players that want to buy into the project you're setting up. With a massive turnover of players this summer, McDermott will have the chance to put down some strong foundations and turn this drifting ship around. He's shown time and time again that given time he can mould a successful team here at Reading and I just hope fans and the owners give him the time to do it.
Anyway that's how I've seen things but let me know how you saw it in the comments below.
All stats come from Squawka.