A part of me thinks that when Graeme Murty tucked away his penalty against QPR in April 2006 to score one of the most iconic goals in Reading Football Club history, all future Madejski Stadium games between the Royals and fake hoops were destined to be drab, tedious affairs.
Since that historic afternoon 12 years ago, all but one of the nine games between the two teams in RG2 have contained either no goals or just the one. The exception, a 1-1 draw five years ago, hardly makes that statistic any better.
There was the 1-0 win for 10-man QPR in February 2011. The 0-0 draw that relegated both sides from the Premier League in April 2013. The 1-0 QPR win in November 2015 that cost Steve Clarke his job.
October 2018 can now be added to that lacklustre list, after tonight’s miserable 1-0 defeat for the Royals.
It didn’t have to be this way. It shouldn’t have had to be this way. Reading came into the game on the back of a satisfying 3-0 win over Hull City and a promising 2-2 draw at Brentford. QPR, in contrast, had lost two games on the bounce.
The fact, then, that the West London side were comfortably better than us is disastrous and hugely disappointing. The singular goal came in the 64th minute from Toni Leistner, as Reading, unsurprisingly, failed to clear their lines from a corner.
It was what QPR deserved as they had been by far the most dangerous side up to that point, although that is perhaps giving them too much credit as Reading offered virtually nothing at all going forward. Indeed, the closest a man in blue and white had come to scoring was when Tiago Ilori nearly diverted the ball into his own net off his thigh.
The fact it took that goal to give the hosts a bit of impetus against a side 19th in the table at the start of play is surely cause for concern. The introduction of John Swift and Josh Sims also helped Reading kick on and asked the question as to why the pair weren’t involved from the start.
Only Paul Clement has the answer (or maybe he doesn’t?) to what appeared to be a confusing team selection not helped by Jon Dadi Bodvarsson’s withdrawal through injury in the warm up. But it will be far from the only question he has to respond to in the lead up his team’s trip to current league leaders West Brom on Saturday. Play with such little inspiration, cohesion or creativity at the Hawthorns and Reading could get beaten handsomely by a team who defeated tonight’s victors 7-1 back in August...