After a poor display against Boro, backed up with a stunning victory against Forest, Reading then went back on their travels to Pride Park, which generally is a happy hunting ground for us. However hands up, c’mon be honest, who actually thought that we would get a point out of Derby let along taking them apart?
After the Boro game the despondency around the fans before the Forest game was plain to see. A low crowd, and a cold night meant that a point was probably a good result for us. However what followed was outstanding. Following on from that result was always going to be tricky and given Derby’s form of one defeat in eight including results at Leeds away and Norwich and a run of four wins and three draws in that run you could hardly see past a Derby win.
This was probably one of the most impressive results we have done, even surpassing the Leeds result, and the return to form of Swift, and the emergence of Aluko (who after the Boro game, I happily asked if we could send him back – will take that back now!) as a driving presence in midfield has laid a marker that they need to attain each week.
After the game, the meltdown that the Derby faithful performed is impressive, I mean they’re only seventh in the table and one point of sixth with a game in hand is terrible ain’t it. Also calling for a manager’s head – really? I’m not sure at times what planet football fans are on sometimes, as the fans of Derby might want to take a reality check.
See the attendance police out in force!
Glad that the 5 Reading fans that made the trip had a good day #dcfc— The Harborough Ram (@HarboroughRam) November 4, 2017
One for the future
I'm sorry but we have been left behind by the top six let's focus on rebuilding in the summer hopefully with a new manager #dcfc— Tony (@ManicMartialx) November 4, 2017
Seventh in the table, game in hand, one defeat in eight yeah OK...
Car crash bad day at the office today but it's been a great run. The Rams are rising. Good time for a break, then we go again. #dcfc COYR!— Chris Smith (@cspaceram) November 4, 2017
Gotta love the local rivalry...
Poisonous - that’s a new one
Reading. Poisonous style of play BUT it was to be expected and we didn't deal with it #dcfc— Rob Booth (@boothy7dcfc) November 4, 2017
Coincidence or not, today makes you realise how much we rely on Keogh. Pearce is probably the worst defender I've ever seen #dcfc— Matt B (@mattboggo01) November 4, 2017
It’s a massive statement when Fara Williams’ goal against Arsenal (watch it – it’s absolute world class) gets more coverage the weekend’s game. You can conclude from this that women’s football is starting to get the coverage it rightly deserves and also that this game was meant to be a home banker.
Anyway, may as well start the roundup with the Sky Sports article, this carries words which I haven’t seen this year in reports about Reading, with statements such as “tore up the form book”, “moving the ball with purpose”, “controlling the tempo” and “deserved”. You can temper this with “playing a dangerous game at the back – which came back to bite them” as given our style of passing along the back line, at some point this season, it was going to cause us an issue. We can be thankful that this was in a game when we had control and a healthy lead, rather than a 1-0 game.
As usual they have a video of the game (two adverts this week) and this is a very enjoyable, 2.02 minutes of a demonstration in good counter attacking link up play and in reality we could easily have had another two goals at least.
ESPN carry the same report and also have the stats for the game, it’s interesting to see we had five shots on target and eight off, which given the score also seems that we took the chances that we made.
The BBC like us (hurrah!). They go on to say that this was an impressive performance and that we bossed the early stages of the game. They also have the usual quotes from the managers.
HITC focus on the Derby fans having a pop at Tom Lawrence’s performance. They also comment it was a surprise win for us and that put in an excellent performance. The comments from the fans are entertaining and remind me of the reaction Vydra used to get from Reading.
Ouch. That is probably the best reaction to the Derby Telegraph’s view of the game. It’s fair to say that they aren’t over impressed with the performance from the Rams on Saturday and hammer the side pretty much into the ground. However they do temper that with saying two excellent results away at Leeds and Norwich give them room to breath.
Compare that with Jonathan’s report at GetReading and you actually get a good comparison from the two camps. Calling it emphatic and we should have had more is probably the fairest reaction to the game, and he is understandably delighted with the result and that comes through totally in the report.
The saying that one swallow doesn’t make it spring is apt - what this has been is two clinical results against two decent sides. After what can only be described as a “meh” start to the season suddenly has the fans starting to have faith again. The next test against Wolves is massive, huge in fact and anything from this game will be a bonus. But we have to believe, we have to believe that this side has turned a corner, has got a backbone and confidence is high.
International breaks are always a nuisance, for a team in form it can be a distraction and for a team low on confidence, it’s a long time without a game to ponder mistakes.
However maybe, just maybe we have turned that corner. Previous victories have been well earned, but everyone had that tinge that we could have thrown it away. Against Forest and especially Derby, I don’t think the result was ever in doubt. We always knew that we had class players and Swift is starting to play and Aluko is showing us he is worth £7.5m - they’re starting to make a difference.
Also it’s worth remembering that we beat a decent Derby team without a recognised striker in the starting XI and to score seven goals in two games for Reading is mind-blowing.
Maybe for the first time in a long time, we can start looking forward to games with optimism rather than worry.