Well, if you had said before the game we would come away with a 2-1 defeat I would have been more than pleased with that. Especially as a lot has changed since the victory at the beginning of October which put us above them into second place. However, the manner of the defeat was galling with a goal in the last minute of stoppage time when it looked like we were going to get an unlikely point.
Brian made one change - bringing Vydra in for Kermorgant. Personally I would like to see the loan players left out of the team as from what I hear they are all going at the end of the season anyway so might as well get used to playing without them. In saying that, loanee Andy Taylor made the difference coming on at half time. I also think that McDermott should blood some of the youngsters in the last few games although after watching the U21 game on Monday I'm not sure there is sufficient quality coming through apart from the four or so out on loan
Boro started like they meant business. The goal they scored after 10 minutes was a tad fortunate as Ali made a good save and Cooper appeared to slip at the far post. As the mist descended into the stadium Boro were held at bay by Al-Habsi who despite a couple of communication issues with his defence, pulled off a string of saves to keep the score at 1-0. It did seem to be a case of damage limitation.
Going forward it was the same old Reading problem. Too slow and a lack of anyone willing to take a shot. Cox did come close and through the mist some (including myself) thought it was in.
Gunter pulled up early in the game. He didn't seem to be in much distress as he came off although the cynical amongst us may look at him being overly cautious with the Euros looming.
After the break, Reading came out with more purpose and started to play more like we all know they can. Taylor's introduction for Obita seemed to be the catalyst. Obita had a quiet half coming off the back of a disappointing game at the weekend. My partner who was at the game on Saturday asked me at that game 'why doesn't that man go forward' - good question.
We had several corners which were an improvement on recent ones - actually reaching the far post. Just as I as thinking there was no way we would score in a month of Sundays Taylor took aim. Their keeper should have done better but Cox did the necessary. I could see how much it meant to him.
It did look like we might snatch an unlikely win but Vydra blazed over when it was easier to score. Most including my mum were screaming at him but I do feel sorry for him. He's got no confidence at the moment and I believe that the only reason he was allowed out on loan by Watford was because he wasn't fully fit. A confident Vydra of old would have buried it.
Cruelly, after numerous clearances Boro nicked the winner with seconds to spare. I suppose we've done it to teams in the past - Leeds at home a couple of years back springs to mind.
As for the alleged incident with McShane and Williams - I didn't actually see it like many so cannot comment.
All in all a disappointing end to a long trip up north. Positives are that at least it looks like 'Boro are going up so with Toon and Sunderland looking like joining the Championship next season it'll be one less long North East trip to make.