On paper, this all hoops game should have been the actual battle of the airlines; Air Asia (budget airline) vs Thai Airways (premium airline). Don't worry, I won't bore you with another airline analogy but I think I said in my last match report against Birmingham that I was looking forward to one day being able to write a match report that was all lovely, nice and wonderful.
Okay so a 1-1 draw against a side who are in the same position as us in regards to having nothing to play for wasn't the best result, but I'm content knowing that I don't have to write about a loss and seeing a performance that was marginally better than budget.
1633 Royals fans made the trip to QPR yesterday which was impressive considering the disappointing nature of the last few weeks and the season in general. There has been so much negativity during the past week regarding the low attendance against Hull. It's obvious that there are going to be people who are the so called 'fair weather' fans; coming and go from the club as and when it suits them when we've got a decent opportunity of winning something.
Reading aren't in the minority having a section of supporters like this, look at Cardiff. When we went to South Wales in November they had an attendance of just over 13,000 people but now they're on the edge of the play offs I have no doubt that their average crowds are closer to capacity. But there are various other reasons why people can't attend games all the time which are more often than not overlooked.
I'm quite happy to say that the QPR game was my first attendance since the home match against Birmingham. Its not because I've not lost interest in the team (Reading FC are my bit on the side which I just cannot bear to break ties with regardless of how one sided the relationship is), but I work shifts.
A lot of my annual leave (stupidly) goes on following Reading round the country, and yesterday was no exception. But for a home game, I don't really fancy doing the 140 mile round trip to and from West Sussex on a Tuesday evening, deal with the M25 car park for my alarm to be going off at 3am on Wednesday morning.
To top it all off I'd be sat on my own as my mum travels a 310 mile round trip from Shropshire and even though we're season ticket holders, midweek games have to be selected carefully as it's just not viable to be travelling those distances with work commitments.
Walking down South Africa Road and seeing imaginatively named Springbok pub, I was dreaming about my impending trip of a lifetime to Cape Town, the Winelands and Kurger Park in five weeks time. Alas I was walking alongside the now very sad looking BBC Television Centre in White City rather than next to Table Mountain, but it was really rather pleasant to watch a team of players on the pitch that actually looked like they wanted to be there rather than on the beach.
There were a lot of positives to take from yesterday's game. The starting formation looked a lot stronger and Reading didn't start like a side that had just lost four games on the bounce. Even though we went behind to a header from Grant Hall in the 35th minute, the body language didn't change and we still stayed focussed, and we were rewarded with our efforts just six minutes afterwards with a goal from Deniss Rakels after good play between Andrew Taylor and Yann Kermorgant. Reading could have gone on to win it, but QPR 'keeper Matt Ingram made a great save from an Oliver Norwood free kick which was heading for the top corner.
It was really pleasing to see Rakels and Kermorgant striking up a partnership and hopefully this is a sign of things to look forward to going into next season. It sounds all cliché saying that we can build towards the 2016/17 season but it's true, and the players that were on display yesterday really showed some signs of promise.
George Evans looked confident in his role in the team yesterday and linked up well with the make shift (but decent looking) right-back Garath McCleary. Ali Al-Habsi made some cracking saves in the first half and early in the second half, and Jake Cooper continued to perform well after a slight wobble last month. Every good performance from him is a step in the right direction to the great player he clearly has the capability to be.
Considering it was an end of season nothing kind of game, it wasn't all bad, although with a combined total of 38 shots all game from both teams we probably should have seen more than two goals. McDermott's comments after the game suggested that we can take a rough idea of who's still going to be about at the start of next season (minus those who were ruled out due to injury/suspension).
It certainly wasn't a performance that was going to blow anyone away, but it was definitely a baby step improvement and it stopped the losing streak, which is exactly what we need. Hopefully we can get to the end of this drab season with a couple more of those basic performances and we'll have just about survived the storm.
Reading: Al-Habsi, Taylor (Gunter), Cooper, Ferdinand, McCleary, Evans, Norwood, Quinn (Hector), Cox, Kermorgant (Vydra), Rakels