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Reading FC 1-0 Leeds United: Revie Inspired Royals Bring Leeds Back To Reality

Jaap Stam's men revive memories of yesteryear with a fine performance at the Madejski Stadium.

Reading v Ipswich Town - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Martin Willetts/Getty Images

That was more like it. For most of this season it has been hard to get too excited. That's no comment on Jaap Stam's tactics or the players, but challenging for promotion to the Premier League is what Reading do. We're used to it.

This felt like how it used to be though. Little old Reading bringing a big club down a peg or two.

Except it wasn't. Whether Leeds like it or not, Reading are their equals now. We're peers.

Nothing showed that more than the pre and post match reaction. Some Leeds fans may not remember what it's like being in the Premier League, but Reading do.

In the Premier League clubs ignore us. Perhaps oddly they show us respect because they know we're not equals. We're irrelevant and not worth mocking or trying to wind up.

It's different in the Championship though. Once mighty clubs often seem desperate to demean and look down on Reading.

However, we've never taken ourselves too seriously. We know our club's long 146 year history isn't impressive.

We know our provincial town is a little bland with its generic high street shops. We know our supporters are less boisterous than others and that these days we don't even bother turning up in great numbers at home or away.

But that's all for us to say. Leeds' reaction to their win in December and in the build up to yesterday's game had touched a nerve. They'd got too cheeky and needed reminding of reality.

And that's what Reading did yesterday. We controlled the game and played football in the first half that Don Revie would have approved of.

His great Leeds team of the late 1960s and early 1970s may be remembered outside of Yorkshire as being dirty but they were undoubtedly a fine and skillful team.

Their 7-0 win over Southampton in 1972 remains one of the great all time performances, immortalized in this clip of them passing the ball around for two minutes. They don't actually go anywhere but the Elland Road crowd are lapping it up.

So it was somewhat ironic to hear Leeds fans sarcastically cheer Reading's passes in the first 10 minutes. Now I'm not for one moment claiming there are comparisons with the current Reading team and Revie's Leeds.

For one there have been much better Reading teams in the last decade so we know we're nothing special. But Leeds used to be about more than just their fans.

Sure Reading can be a bit slow and pedestrian at times. There have been plenty of games at the Madejski Stadium that have been less than entertaining.

It took nearly 40 minutes for either team to have any shot the last time I watched Reading live. Nevertheless at least Reading are trying to play football.

First Half

For the first quarter the game started slowly as Leeds pressed Reading's goal kicks but otherwise made sure they had nine players in their own half.

It seemed Reading were going to have to work work hard for their chances until a poor Charlie Taylor headed clearance found its way to Yann Kermorgant who smashed a wonderful half volley past Rob Green.

Game on we all thought. Leeds are going to have to attack; except they didn't. They continued to sit deep happy to wait for chances from set pieces and counter attacks.

Who's the real boring team we could have asked!?

Ali Al-Habsi almost gifted Leeds a goal when he came needlessly charging out and collided with a teammate. Thankfully Kyle Bartley headed wide.

That aside it was Reading who had the momentum. Some neat passing moves almost brought chances, before two moments of brilliance from John Swift cut Leeds defence wide open.

First Roy Beerens elected for power when guile may have been the better option, and then Garath McCleary shot straight at Rob Green. Both should have done better and probably scored.

Reading were almost made to pay straight after McCleary's miss, when a quick Leeds counter attack saw Pablo Hernández desperately try to connect to a cross but diverted the ball wide.

There was still time for Kermorgant to almost show his fellow attackers up when a typically clever shot from the Frenchman hit the post.

Second Half

Leeds continued their cautious approach after the break. Kermorgant went close again with a header before putting over a cross to rival Swift's passes for ingenuity.

Sadly Beerens took a touch when he should have shot first time. He was not surprisingly taken off soon after.

At the same time as Beerens went off Leeds brought on a second forward as they realised they needed to make more of an effort to score. They had a couple of half chances but in hindsight never posed Reading any real danger.

In fact the only danger came from the Leeds fans who threw two bottles on the pitch when Al-Habsi was taking free kicks. The idiots showed themselves up to be the cowards they are by only launching the missiles when Al-Habsi was at a safe distance.

As if nearly always the case with English football fans, it was all show and bravado than a real act of violence.

The same cannot be said of Liam Cooper's stamp on Reece Oxford. You can always guarantee that when something unsavoury happens there will be copycats.

He may not "be that type of player" or claim he did it deliberately, but subconsciously he remembered Tyrone Mings' stamp on Zlatan Ibrahimovic and decided to make a deliberate jerk towards Oxford. An FA retrospective ban will surely follow.

Six minutes of injury time provided some tension but Reading got the win they deserved to go above Leeds in the table.

Reflections

In December Jaap Stam reacted to defeat by making some slightly odd and defensive comments. This time it was the turn of Gary Monk who was brazen enough to claim with "a little bit more luck and a little bit more guile and we could have got that equaliser and nobody could have begrudged us that."

If Reading had taken their chances they could have won by two or three and even Monk could not have begrudged that.

So yes Leeds you did rile us in December and in the build up to this game. This was a big win for Reading and was the first time many of us have felt real excitement this season.

It felt like the old days even though these days we're not the upstarts we once proudly were and you're not one of the biggest clubs in the country like you once proudly were.

You'll always be a bigger club than us which is why we enjoy being equals on the pitch. The more irrelevant you claim we are, the more relevant we become.

We'll take that because we're still little old Reading at heart. And that's the way we like it!