Reading arrived at Fulham looking to make it six wins in a row and cut the gap on leaders Newcastle to just three points. What we got was a brutal reality check that shows we've still got plenty of work to do if we're to stick around the top six until May. We'll have a full report & ratings up later this weekend but here's the key (painful) details.
Team wise, Jaap Stam made just one change, with Joey van den Berg replacing the suspended Liam Moore, as Reading switched to a more 4-2-3-1 style, with Tyler Blackett partnering Paul McShane in the hear of the defence and Joey going into the midfield.
Statistically, this was a game played between the two top passing sides in the division but while Fulham were confident, composed and productive on the ball, the same couldn't be said for Reading who struggled to create anything of note for most of the first half. In fact, the Royals had just one attempt on goal while being out-possessed 60-40 by the hosts who took a deserved lead 15 minutes in, when Chris Gunter diverted a Ryan Fredericks cross into his own net.
The half-time whistle only provided a brief respite for the travelling fans who soon saw their team fall two-goals down. This time it was a pure Fulham goal, as Chris Martin fired home after being given too much space around the box.
Any remaining hopes of a stirring comeback were ended just minutes later as Danny Williams earned himself a straight red card for lashing out at Stefan Johansen. As much as Stam's transformed the team, the discipline seems to go missing at the worst times, with Danny's red card sitting alongside Garath McCleary's at Barnsley as an utterly avoidable and pointless dismissal. When you couple it with John Swift's injury, this is looking a testing time for the Reading midfield.
But the pain didn't end there. First Sone Aluko, then Johansen and finally a Martin free-kick added to Fulham's tally, giving the hosts a deserved and comprehensive 5-0 win.
You can't say Reading don't lose in style, as the last three away defeats in the league have all seen us concede at least four times. On the upside, defeats usually tend to bring this team together and fingers crossed that spirit helps us next week when Sheffield Wednesday arrive at the Madejski.
As mentioned we'll have the full gory details from this one up on the website later on this weekend, so keep an eye out for those.
Meanwhile, let's head to the pub shall we?
Reading: Al-Habsi, Obita, Blackett, McShane, Gunter, van den Berg, Evans, Williams, Beerens (Kelly), McCleary (Harriott), Samuel (Meite)