It was a frustrating afternoon for the Royals as it was yet another game of two halves. Reading were brilliant in the first half but - once again - were lacklustre in the second. In Scott Marshall’s second game in temporary charge, there were certainly signs of a bit of a reaction from the players against Rotherham. The first half was up there with the best football Reading have played all season, but they just lacked that final bit of quality in front of goal.
When Sam Baldock opened the scoring after a wonderful ball from Josh Sims, it looked like it could be a good day for the Royals. In honesty, Reading should’ve been three or four up by half-time after John Swift and Baldock had missed a couple of golden chances.
Reading would live to rue those missed chances as well, as Rotherham came back fighting in the second half. Tyler Blackett and debutant Tom McIntyre had to withstand an aerial bombardment for the majority of the second half - which they dealt with well until the 90th minute.
And then, Rotherham’s pressure told as Joe Mattock tapped home from a corner to rescue the hosts a point. Here’s how the fans reacted to two points dropped after the game...
With Liam Moore, Tiago Ilori, Paul McShane and John O’Shea all out injured it meant Marshall had to pick a bit of a makeshift back four against Rotherham - which included a professional debut for Tom McIntyre.
There’s nothing the fans love more than an academy product coming through the ranks, especially when they are Reading through and through. He dealt with the occasion very well and put in an extremely assured performance next to Tyler Blackett - and really should’ve been rewarded with a clean sheet.
McIntyre becomes the third academy product to make their professional league debut this season - after Andy Rinomhota and Danny Loader - and hopefully he can stay in the first team picture for a while to come.
The fans were obviously delighted with the breakthrough of another academy product...
Will be hard to keep once bigger and better clubs learn of their quality, but I’m so, so excited about the potential of Luke Southwood, McIntyre, Rinomhota and Loader all in the same team. Our academy is delivering so much talent. #readingfc— Jake (@JakeMoore87) December 15, 2018
McIntyre really impressive in this first half. Very assured on the ball and coming forward with it. Distribution tip-top as well. Very impressed. #ReadingFC— Takin’ The Biscuit (@TakinTheBiscuit) December 15, 2018
Thought McIntyre played really well today, he was arguably one of the best players on the pitch today. So refreshing to see a Reading fan play for this club #readingfc— Jack (@thesimpsonRFC) December 15, 2018
His best performance in a Reading shirt since his first season. He ran the show, especially in the first half. He has certainly divided opinion since his arrival from Chelsea in the summer of 2016, but on Saturday he showed that on his day he is such a good player.
If Reading can get Swift fit and performing consistently, he will win us games. He’s probably the most technically gifted player at the club, but just needs to find the consistency that will make him a top performer.
Although he missed a golden chance to double the Royals’ lead in the first half, his link-up play with Baldock and Sims in particular was brilliant.
The Reading fans were certainly impressed with former under-21 international’s performance, although they were also understandably frustrated why he can’t do that on a more regular basis...
Good performances from most today. Hugely disappointing to let one in at the end from a needless corner. McIntyre looked assured, Swift showed some of his old magic, Sims caused problems, Baldock worked hard and Bacuna and Rhino were strong in midfield. Positives #ReadingFC— Dadros (@dadros70) December 15, 2018
Gutting to lose 2 points at the end but a pretty decent performance overall. Swift MOTM. Impressive debut from loyal royal McIntyre. #readingfc— Russell (@russell1871) December 15, 2018
There’s no doubt Reading should’ve won this game, because they should’ve been 3-0 up at half time. The Royals are not in a position to be missing chances like the ones Swift and Baldock did in the first half and it’s been a regular occurrence all season.
In all honesty, these players are lacking a lot of confidence and if Reading were higher up the table those chances would’ve been put away without hesitation, but the hard truth is the we are not higher up the table and we aren’t taking these kinds of chances.
It’s a trend that is certainly worrying fans, and understandably so as when you are 21st in the league. Missing those kind of chances can really come back to haunt you later on in the season. Here’s what the fans had to say...
And now Swift missed a one-on-one yeah no excuses not to be 2 up here #readingfc— Sam ✌️ (@samisam147) December 15, 2018
2 massive missed chances in the first half that you have to take #readingfc— Dominic (@domwindle) December 15, 2018
Missed chances and now we’ve been pegged back. Who knew! Rotherham have done more this half than we did the first and we were ‘good’ for a change #readingfc— R87 (@richiec87) December 15, 2018
Dominate 75% of the game ➡️ Score 1 ➡️ Miss several chances ➡️ Make a mistake and concede— Alex Stone (@_alexgstone) December 15, 2018
Story of Reading FC for about 5 years #readingfc
There were certainly positives to take from Saturday’s game, but of course negatives as well. Reading have to be seeing games out in that situation, it’s a massive two points dropped.
Now is time to solely focus on getting a new manager in, and with every Portuguese man and his dog seemingly being linked recently, we have a bit more of a continental flavour of football heading to Berkshire.