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Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-0 Reading FC: Back To Reality

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After very promising performances against Preston and Plymouth, Jaap Stam suffered his first defeat as Royals boss away at the Molineux.

Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Wolves away is my favourite fixture of the campaign. Being raised in Shropshire and studying my degree in Wolverhampton, I always like the nostalgia trip going back to the Midlands city.

My boyfriend is also a Wolves season ticket holder, so there was a lot more at stake for myself than just three points for the Royals. Sadly, goals from Matt Doherty and Joe Mason either side of half time ensured that Reading left the West Midlands with their first defeat of Jaap Stam’s reign, and my boyfriend was very happy at my expense.

The Reading performance had similarities and differences compared to what we have seen in our opening two games this season. We totally dominated possession (66% compared to Wolves’ 34%) and completed 518 of our 610 passes.

The difference was this weekend that the possession wasn’t used effectively. We didn’t really threaten going forward and managed just a single shot on target, when John Swift tried advantageously from long range. The players looked like they were trying desperately to make the new system work, but it just wasn’t happening against a Wolves side who were ready to pounce on any mistake that we made.

That said, the new system of passing from the back can’t be blamed particularly for either goal that we conceded, and both showcased our defensive weaknesses. Matt Doherty’s goal just before half time hitting the roof of the net after he had weaved through most of the Reading defence, and they may as well have been standing elsewhere on the pitch for Joe Mason’s goal just after half time. A mix up between the defence and Ali-Al Habsi meant that no one came for the corner, and the Wolves striker didn’t even have to jump to header home.

Fickle adj;

Changing frequently, especially as to one’s loyalties or affections.
Today’s fickle fans demanded instant success.

I’m not sure you could be a proper football fan without being fickle. Not changing our loyalties as such, but the feelings we have towards our team. Being fickle isn’t a bad thing though. It’s kind of part and parcel of the role we play as supporters; the idea of slating the exact same group of players when they’re losing, but singing their praises just the week before because they played so fantastically is completely bizarre in a world outside of our beautiful game.

I know I’m completely guilty of it. It’s so easy to get caught up with your emotions at a game and focus solely on what’s going on in front of your eyes rather than the bigger picture. Being at the Molineux for our first away game of the season was no exception. It was easy to forget that this was only our second game of the season after a massive overhaul at the club during the summer. I guess you get so excited for the season to start again after three long months of no club football, to then feel instantly let down at the first sign of something not going quite to plan.

We’re even susceptible of being fickle when your team is doing well. Whilst eating in an Italian restaurant owned by Wolves legend Steve Bull with my Mum and my boyfriend after the game, the subject of the Icelandic clap came up. My boyfriend was thrilled that Wolves were trying this out, when only the week previously I had showed him a video of his fans attempting it at Rotherham and he was embarrassed by the whole thing. He also wasn’t entirely happy with the appointment of Walter Zenga, but seems more comfortable with the guy after a couple of good results. We’ll see if that’s still the case when they visit the Madejski later in the season.

Even though the performance was littered with mistakes, there was still a lot to take away from the game. We’re still looking organised and it’s evident that the players are clear on their game plan.

Another great thing which was pointed out in Wimb’s initial reaction was that the players didn’t collapse even going 2-0 down. It won’t be the only shaky performance we see this season; there are always going to be teething issues when a new manager comes in with a new style of football. However, I believe there are good things coming and hopefully the players will regroup and build on what has been displayed in our previous performances on our long trip up to the North East this week.

Points Change on 2015/16 (52): +2

Points Change on 2005/06 (106): 0

Points Change on 1997/98 (42): +2

Projected Points Total: 69