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Reading 3-2 Bristol City: The Alternative View

Fortress Madejski is reappearing...

Bristol City v Sheffield Wednesday - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images

After a week of turmoil after the Swansea City game, it looked odds-on that a defeat against Bristol City would condemn Paul Clement to the dole office, given the headlines from the papers last Sunday.

After sorting the differences between the club and Modou Barrow, he sprung his next surprised by handing Andy Rinomhota his first league start in a Reading Shirt. Questions have to be asked about more established Reading stars with the lesser-spotted David Meyler and Dave Edwards nowhere near the team or fitness respectively. Indeed, John Swift was reduced to the bench, and when Saeid Ezatolahi is fit the team selection in midfield will be interesting.

The Bristol fans came in numbers and while they didn’t always cover themselves with glory they seem to be very passionate around their team. The social media afterwards was a quite interesting read - someone ought to remind the Bristol City fans that they are 13th in the table and not in the relegation zone!

Social

Imagine what we have been watching all season

Good grief, you’re 13th

Your just the second team in Bristol

Wanna try being a Reading fan?

No room for this in football

Not happy City fans

Media

I was a little surprised that, given this was a five-goal match and the media darlings in Leeds United didn’t play till Sunday, there wasn’t a little more coverage for us.

A quick run through what was around sees Bristol Live not overly impressed by the fare served up by Bristol. Can we also ban the use of the phrase ‘narrow’ or ‘fine’ margins? Jeez, who taught these managers in media training school?

Sports Mole mostly carry interviews with the managers, and Clement in particular calling this the the platform that we build from. Oh how many times have we heard this...

Football.London are probably the happiest they have been for a while, praising Andy Rinomhota in particular for his performance. It’s also good to see that, as F.L point out, Paul Clement got a win on his 100th managerial appearance.

The BBC reckon Modou Barrow coming back was pivotal. I’m not convinced myself, and think they are struggling for headlines. They also say that we clung on and highlight the fact that this was our first pair of back-to-back home wins since the first two matches of Clement’s reign last season.

Summary

Is it a stay of execution or the start of a new dawn? I really don’t know and if I were being honest I’m probably not bothered which it is. If it’s the former then any negative result against Ipswich Town will likely see Clement getting his P45. If it’s the latter then fair play as he has turned it around - at least temporarily.

There were a couple of positives from the game, the obvious in Rinomhota making a solid debut and rightly getting his man of the match award, but also a decent display from Liam Kelly returning to his quarterback position and he did probably have his best game of the season.

The toxicity from previous games wasn’t there although there were a few boos at half time, seeing as we managed to go ahead and get pegged back quickly after. Guess what, with decent play and a couple of goals there was a little bit of a better atmosphere by full time.

Injuries have decimated the team this year, which shouldn’t be an excuse given the size of the squad. However, on Saturday there was good and bad news on the injury front. Losing your top scorer is never good and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson looks like he’s out for a good few weeks, then to see Yakou Meite go off injured wasn’t what we wanted.

On the plus side was Garath McCleary continuing his return to the squad, and to be fair he injected the side with tempo and direct play. To be honest this version of McCleary looks like the one of a few seasons ago that terrorised full-backs rather than recent seasons where he has looked off the pace.

There’s been a few time this season where we have thought we have turned the tide only to be proved wrong. I am hoping that this isn’t one of them and if we do get a positive result against Ipswich that will be three home wins on the bounce, a far cry from earlier in the season.

Maybe we do need to give Paul Clement time and space. If we get a win next time out then he’s probably OK until at least Christmas. But, if it’s a defeat or draw, then I expect he will go the following day. Either way this season has turned from one of optimistic thinking and looking forward, to one of praying for mid-table obscurity.