On February 6th, 2016, Reading Football Club played out a scoreless draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club in an association football game at the Madejski Stadium in Berkshire.
It was pretty windy.
Someone had a shot at goal once.
OK FINE I'LL DO THE REPORT
However if I'm going to have to spend my time recounting such a dull game I'm going to have a little fun so stick with me here folks. Have you ever played a multi-man match on Pro Evolution Soccer or FIFA? Failing that, how about been part of a 5-a-side team? If the answer to either of those is yes you'll probably relate to this but if not, maybe stick to Wosty's instant reaction.
In my own experience there's distinct groups of players that both gamers and amateur footballers can fall into and these groups can best explain what we witnessed at the Madejski Stadium this afternoon.
The Flashes Of Quality Type
This is the man who comes up with bits of quality, gets his man into good positions and looks like a guy that can make something happen. With Hal Robson-Kanu, Reading certainly had that today as the Wales forward got himself into some cracking positions, put in some decent balls and had a couple of goodish chances to give Reading the lead that just didn't quite come off. First it was an opportunity from eight yards from a Gunter cut-back that was well blocked and at the end it was a good placed shot that Ikeme got down well to stop.
Likewise at the other end Ali Al-Habsi had to make a smart stop to deny James Henry from a free-kick and also had to race off his line early on to snuff out a potential one-on-one. That was about as close as Wolves came in this contest, aside from late on when Paul McShane excellently threw himself in the way of a Bjorn Sigurdsson goal bound effort to keep it goalless. Well there was one other chance for Wolves but we'll come on to that in a minute.
The I'll Try And Make It Happen Myself Type
That's not to say that others didn't try and make stuff happen, it's just that when they did it wasn't very good and wasted the chance to make something better.
We've all been there folks, you're having a duff game and you go and try to make something happen out of nothing, you win a great tackle, or charge out of your normal position to get the ball, maybe you even go on a mazy dribble or have a pop from distance. The problem of course is that in doing this, you run the risk of sodding things up for others and nobody summed this up more than Danny Williams today.
The American was his usual energetic self but kept opting to go it alone rather than look up and play someone else in. Likewise Gareth McCleary was bright and lively but kept straying out of his right wing position to get the ball, only to find himself in a crowded middle third.
The Just Going To Keep it Simple Type
These are the ones that don't know any skill buttons, people that think a rabona is a blackcurrant drink and try to keep their head down for fear of making an error. They're not letting you down but they're also not really helping you to win a game.
For the likes of Chris Gunter, Jordan Obita and Yann Kermorgant today was all about playing by the numbers. They got into some good positions, did what they were asked of but never really showed any imagination or magic when in a position to do so. Gunter got in a few crosses and Kermorgant had a late chance to make himself the hero but none got you off your seat.
Speaking of simple, Gunter did try his best to break that mould by getting into a horrible mix-up with Al-Habsi that saw the keeper rush out to collect a headed back-pass that ended up sailing over him and into the path of Henry. Thankfully a mixture of Henry's indecision and a brave stop from Al-Habsi prevented one of the most comical goals we've seen in a while.
I've Got A Big Date Tonight, Is It Full-Time Yet? Type
Regardless of their qualities these are the ones that just haven't shown their best for whatever reason and haven't done themselves justice. They don't seem to be fully there, they can't get in the game and when they do it's pretty poor. It's your star striker who's worried about the big date tonight and not concerned with what he's doing on the ball right now.
Matej Vydra and Oliver Norwood are established internationals who are capable of brilliant things but it never happened for them today. Norwood looked a yard off the pace and kept giving the ball away while Vydra looked like the man with three league goals all season and not the £2.5m player who leads the FA Cup in goals scored. Reading needed some quality from these guys against a Wolves team that was solid but far from worrying but they just didn't get it today. Sure Vydra can complain he didn't get much service but it wasn't his best day.
The Pot Luck Type
What it says on the tin, who knows what you're going to get from these guys on 'any given matchday' (TM Reading FC social media dept).
Jake Cooper will be a fine defender one day but he's only just 21 and so being the youngster that he is he can both inspire you and scare you in equal measure. He looked a little clumsy today but equally got himself out of a few tight jams. Likewise Ola John and debutant Deniss Rakels showed hints of what they can do with promising cameos but you're just not sure what they really have to offer long-term.
Brian McDermott Doesn't Have A Controller
It saddens me somewhat to see some Reading fans calling for Brian McDermott to go after just nine league games in charge. Sure he's failed to really arrest a run that's now three league wins from 19 but to assume any manager can just turn it round with minimal investment and continued injuries within two months is optimistic at best and ridiculous at worst. The man has spoken of trying to build something for the long-term, he's spoken of trying to craft an identity and he's admitted that he's searching for a formula that's going to work. Could he be doing this better? Maybe but considering we've seen each of his league games decided by a goal or less suggests we're competitive and not too far away from getting something that works.
Ultimately the man doesn't have an X-Box controller with which to get the players to do what he wants. He isn't telling Gunter to hit the first man, Norwood to lose the ball or Obita to produce woeful set pieces. Sometimes you have to start looking at the players themselves and ask why they aren't doing more. Some of these guys have been here through four permanent managers if you include Brian's first spell and yet our league placings have only been going one way.
As a final point I'll just ask you this. If the squad is as good as some claim it is and the players as talented as we think, why do so few attract any transfer interest?
I'll leave it there. See you next week for the Burnley game.
Reading: Al-Habsi, Obita, McShane, Cooper, Gunter; Robson-Kanu, Norwood, Williams, McCleary (John), Kermorgant, Vydra (Rakels)