I think it's fair to say that our automatic promotion push is over after a poor performance at league leaders Brighton where the Royals were the cause of their own downfall.
Brighton should have won by more than three goals to be honest, and our mistakes lead to the Seagulls going on the attack and scoring. The Royals didn't offer much going forward, but did have a few chances, but not a lot for the travelling fans to really cheer about.
Sam Baldock, Jamie Murphy and Anthony Knockaert hit the back of the net to put Brighton back to the top of the table. Reading are now fifth after Leeds beat fellow play-off chasers Sheffield Wednesday. But there is nothing to panic about as we do have a seven point cushion between us and Fulham in seventh.
Jaap Stam was understandably disappointed, and spoke about our missed chances, he told the Official Club Website:
"Danny Williams gets that big chance just after half-time and if he scores, it's a different game.
"And in the first half Roy Beerens had a very good chance too but his shot was saved by the goalkeeper.
"But we also created their chances - losing the ball three times and they scored on the counter attack three times!
"The first one we lost the ball, we didn't get back into our defensive organisation quickly enough, they delivered the ball from the right back into the striker - and if he controls it he can score. We're 1-0 down.
"The second one, we've got a set piece, we lose it again, they come out on the break, we don't make a challenge in the middle of the pitch, and they run away to score the second one - not a chance they earned by pressing us, but by us basically giving a goal away.
"And the third one, a pass wide from Liam Kelly is intercepted, they're out on the break again and they score the third. Again, it's not by being under pressure from them, but if our pass ins't accurate enough they can score the third.
"They made it compact, waited for their moment to come out on the break and they've got quality players - it's no shame we lose to a side like that.
"And playing against a side like Brighton, with the quality that they have, you're going to make it very difficult for yourself if you don't do the right things."
We all have to remember that the Royals have done brilliantly so far this season and over previous years, we have underachieved and seen some poor football. In that time, Brighton have been in and around the play-offs and have been unlucky. But they have been patient, built their squad and seemed to maintain their excellent form. The Royals have gone from relegation contenders to the top six in a very short space of time. Stam added:
"The team have learned a lot, that's why we're in the top six. But going to the top and staying there is very difficult.
"And it's a learning process. Are we sometimes strong enough, are we sometimes clever enough, do we read the game well enough at certain times, it the movement right when you've got the ball, are we making the right decision to play that pass or not... it's a learning process.
"It's very difficult to get a result over here. And against sides like this, you get punished for your mistakes straight away.
"But by playing these games, the players need to grow and develop.
"Brighton have been close for three or four seasons and didn't make it to the Premier League - but they've been building towards it.
"So it's not like we've come in and I'm a magic sorcerer and, in the space of our first season, we're going to expect to go straight up to the Premier League. We are realistic and we will give it our best shot of course. But you need to build and adapt as a squad and eventually you hope you can make that step."
Next up for the Royals are back-to-back home fixtures starting on Saturday against Wolves, and then Newcastle under the lights the following Tuesday. URZ!