After a disappointing game against Wigan Athletic, where I am still convinced that a different line-up would have seen us secure three points, Reading travelled over the Pennines to visit Elland Road and a much improved Leeds side who are riding high in the play-off positions (well until their traditional Christmas when they bottle it).
I don’t think there were many Reading fans who actually expected to get anything out of the game, and after a dogged performance in defence in the first half, Leeds stepped up in the second and two impact subs (Clement take note) at half-time swung the game into Leeds’ favour. That was right up till the last 15 minutes when Reading decided to play again and with the finest of margins (Clementism) Marc McNulty missed a glorious attempt to get a point - which would have been a remarkable haul, considering our current form.
The social scene really focussed around four things: Anssi making some superb saves (Buffon-esque as one Leeds fan put it), Alioski’s swan dive, Gunter losing his head and trying to give Leeds a penalty, and the save at the end from Peacock-Farrell.
It’s amazing how history keeps repeating as this was exactly the same last season apart from being in reverse!
Sums up everyone’s thoughts on that dive from Alioski
How about a little credit eh...
Most games for Reading fans
Really? In that case Danny Loader should be in it, how many goals this year!
Best Young players (U23) ITW— Raul Robertson (@Russsdawwg) November 27, 2018
Come on, you’re on TV most weeks
What I’ll never understand is how bias Sky Sports are... flooding the studio full of opposition players/former players and absolutely no representation from Leeds (David Prutton obviously doesn’t count) #lufc #LeedsUnited— Nathan Robertson (@NathanRmusician) November 27, 2018
Every year... £47 quid a ticket, Tuesday night, on TV, rubbish form... lightbulb lit yet?
Starting with This Is Football and they carry an interview with Don Goodman, everyone’s favourite pundit (not!) slamming Alioski for the “horrible” dive aginst Reading. Many pundits are now starting to ask for punishments against offenders to be a lot harsher to drive this part of the game out.
Football.London have the usual wrap of stories around Reading including the player ratings, which I found particularly harsh again, and also some nuggets from the interview with Paul Clement.
Down at BT Sport and they carry a Leeds report, about Leeds, mentioning Leeds, and oh yes Reading. The Yorkshire Evening Post also carry a full report of the game, although they seem to have caught the Sun’s bug of getting the scoreline wrong, as they have it as both a 1-0 win in the headline and a 2-0 win on the picture credit. Someone doing some pre-work there eh? What expectations did we have?
Sky Sports have 3.36 min of coverage of all Leeds’ attacks - not the dive tho - and also have an interview with Clement. He states that Leeds were hanging on in the second half. I’ll give him his dues though for giving credit to the academy. Sky’s report is brief but their player ratings are interesting, with Chris Gunter getting a 7… make of that what you will.
Finally, over at the BBC, they actually mention Reading the most calling it a “narrow win” and heap praise on Reading’s Finnish version of Gianluigi Buffon.
I really can’t help but think how, over the last few games, Reading have missed wonderful chances to pull away from the relegation zone. I’m still convinced that we could and should have, with the correct team and formation, got the three points from Wigan. And against Leeds arguably we deserved a point.
The game at Elland Road was immensely frustrating, the first half being one of the most disciplined performances we have given, but in the second Leeds stepped it up and the introduction of two subs at half-time made a massive difference.
It was obvious from the first 45 that we didn’t create an awful lot. Danny Loader had a couple of opportunities, but Yakou Meite couldn’t get in the game. We are quick to hammer forwards when they aren’t scoring but in reality, shouldn’t we be pointing the finger at the distinct lack of chances that are created for them?
John Swift once again cut a lonely figure. While he was better than at Wigan, he still is struggling to create anything meaningful for the forwards. This is where Leeds got us on Tuesday. The subs at half time made a huge difference, and maybe if Clement had changed his side at the break by introducing one of our more creative players then this could have had an impact on the game.
Positives from the game - plenty. The tenacious spirit in the first half was to be admired as we didn’t give Leeds a chance to build. The current form of Andy Rinomhota is excellent, Danny Loader is making an impact and Tiago Ilori was probably the stand-out defender.
The negatives were also plenty though, mainly around the form of the full-backs who for me both didn’t play as well as they both can, and the Swift/Kelly partnership which I’ve said before and will again doesn’t work. How do we change this team? Current injuries aren’t allowing a great deal, but with the academy contributing, maybe that’s the direction we need to go further in.