Right, be honest, after our recent away form, how many people honestly believed that a 0-2 win at Sheffield Wednesday would have been the result? I don't think you can underestimate the importance of this win as defeat could have been a massive knock to the confidence of this side.
However, the Royals met a fairly out of sorts Owls side and, apart from a spell at the end, seemed fairly comfortable against them.
Without Captain Fantastic Paul McShane and a host of other injured players, Stam chose probably his favourite lineup (minus McShane). The team clicked, with solid displays from players like Chris Gunter and Tyler Blackett who had been criticised in recent weeks, and we pulled off a stunning result.
Our play-off hopes seemed to be sliding away after recent results and Fulham's march up the table, but they've now been re-energised, with a six point gap opening up between us and 7th place. We now firmly have the future in our hands, and a May away day in North London suddenly seems to be within reach.
All season we have been derided by opposition fans about our passing game, but this time the Sheffield Wednesday fanbase seemed to be applauding the way we played in the game. They're also getting restless about their own play-off hopes, and have been asking questions about manager Carlos Carvahal. For them, tactics and big name signings seem to be the order of the day.
Passing game getting plaudits!
Can we take note and play out from the back like Reading did today. We play at it. They move the ball with purpose and it works! #swfc— Jordan Bidwell (@JordanBidwell) March 17, 2017
It's not happening for Carlos we were poor against a poor Reading side with an even poorer away following time for a change #swfc— David (@DaveOx57) March 17, 2017
I don't care too much for money, money can't buy me a win
It's happened! We have praise!
When you put it like this...
We aren't far away from being a decent team tbf. We just need to learn how to pass, tackle, run, defend and shoot! #SWFC— ☆ (@SimplySasso) March 17, 2017
Makes a change from it being Brighton...
The wheels on the bus...
I was so nearly going to give TalkSport some praise about actually following the Championship, but nope, they've given the SkySports review of the game. OK, they get half a mark for actually giving us a full write-up rather than ignoring anything outside of the Premier League. Speaking of SkySports we get a stunning 3 min 19 on the highlights package. You can once again revel in Al Habsi’s one man brick wall, the stunning pass from John Swift and the goal from Yann Kermorgant. Basically, the report is fairly comprehensive with Al Habsi getting the plaudits from the Sky viewpoint.
The Independent have a really good report of the game, focusing on the impact that Kermorgant made as well as Al Habsi’s heroics (yeah there’s gonna be a theme here!). They also go on to say that even before Kermorgant's strike, Reading looked the most likely to escape with the points.
The Yorkshire Evening Post take a more philosophical view of the game, saying Kermorgant's goal was of excellent quality and AAH was inspired. They also point out that now the Owls look vulnerable and that this was an excellent contest. Interestingly they say Carlos Carvahal manager threw caution to the wind with a very attacking line up.
Hell's bells, loads of coverage this week, and the Daily Mirror comment on a rather "robust" tackle from Tyler Blackett on Jordan Rhodes which ended up with the big money signing taking a trip into the technical area.
Down at the BBC and they also focus on AAH's brilliant display and call it a clinical strike from Kermorgant. They call the result harsh on Sheffield - I’m sure the Beeb don’t really like us…
Finally, over at GetReading and Jonathan Low has a much better report this week, and states that our midfield trio of Williams, Swift and Joey controlled the first half and then AAH dominated the second. He also mentions that we took a deserved lead, which is really good to hear!
After a couple of disappointing away trips, it was hard to see this result coming, but it did and it gives us hope and something to build on. The players have shown that they can play some excellent stuff, defend stoutly and have the right mindset. The problem is that it isn’t consistent. This result will be pretty meaningless unless we can follow it up with a win against a rampant Leeds side, then put the other teams on the horizon to the sword.
There’s a couple of tricky fixtures coming up with trips to Villa and Norwich which aren’t on anyone’s comfort radar, then we have games against relegation threatened sides, so this run in is by no means easy.
Whilst Stam gets all the plaudits, it’s worth a collective sigh of relief that Brian Tevreden looks like he is staying. This guy has been immaculate and given what he has achieved with a fairly tight budget, imagine the players he would convince to come given a little bit more cash – now don’t get me wrong I’m not saying splash the cash, it's more his ability to unearth diamonds. Either way the partnerships off the field are just as important as the ones on it and Brian and Jaap look like they have it nailed on. Now Reading FC, get the ownership situation sorted and let's start hoping for a very, very bright future.
With it being an international break, I get a week off (so you get a break from my ramblings), but I'll be back in April after the Leeds game!