In the last game at the Madejski Stadium of a torturous 2018 at home, the Royals fell to another defeat thanks to George Friend’s late winner. However, it was an overall okay performance which just lacked the real end quality that has so often been the case for Reading this calendar year.
Middlesbrough are a good team and will be up at the top end of the table come the end of the season, so there may be no shame in losing to them. However, Reading need points and need them quick.
Saturday was Reading’s 12th loss of the season, leaving the Royals on 19 points after 23 games - which, simply put, is relegation form. There were of course, a few key talking points from Saturday afternoon which got the fans talking on social media after the game...
More academy promise
We have been hit with a bit of an injury crisis at central defence recently, which is never a good thing. But, it has allowed the integration of some more academy products into the first team, which the fans always love.
It was Gabriel Osho’s turn to get his full first team debut on Saturday afternoon after Tom McIntyre picked up a knock in his debut against Rotherham last weekend. Osho put in a solid performance for the most part, especially in the first half when he vitally intervened to block a goal-bound Assombalonga effort. For all the doom and gloom around the place at the moment, there is a lot of talent coming through the academy.
It’s one of the main things that gets fans back on side as well. All fans love a successful youth player coming through the ranks. Here’s what they had to say on Twitter after the game...
Rinomhota & Osho both excellent today #readingfc— Stevie p (@stevie_p1871) December 22, 2018
Osho what a player! Motm for me! #ReadingFC— Cheryl (@cher_1982) December 22, 2018
Officials cost us today. Thought Osho was class. #readingfc— Dan (@DanHindmarsh16) December 22, 2018
Was very impressed with osho as well today. Looked solid and commanding . Big future. #readingfc— Dean Bennett (@DeanBennett1993) December 22, 2018
Signs of improvement?
Yes it wasn’t a fantastic performance by any means. But, since Clement left - bar the Sheffield United game - the performances have been better. Marshall’s done a pretty good job considering he was thrown totally in the deep end. Managing an academy team and the first team are completely worlds apart. But, you can see that some of his ideas have been integrated into the first team since he took charge.
Reading have leaked goals at an alarming rate, with only two clean sheets all season. But we have been much more defensively solid in the past few games and hopefully it’s something we can work on.
The fans certainly appreciated the performance on Saturday, acknowledging the fact that there has been slight improvement recently - even before Clement was sacked. Here’s how the fans reacted on Twitter...
Honestly felt like that was an exciting performance from #readingfc - underwhelming result but lots of chances and fought until the end. Osho was impressive with his debut at the back. Please let Gomes make a difference.— Jessica (@jessicaATLUTD) December 22, 2018
Felt a draw was the least we'd get the way it was going, and if we play like that for the rest of the season we'll be ok. I don't think most of our last 5 or so games have been dreadful performances, it's just converting those into the points and building confidence #readingfc— Tom Maynard (@ttmaynard) December 22, 2018
I thought it was a good attempt from the players. Certainly not the worse performance of the season, lots of positives. But it’s just so frustrating that we keep throwing points away unnecessary. #readingfc— Jack (@thesimpsonRFC) December 22, 2018
It’s the hope that kills us. At least there’s *something* in that performance for Gomes to work with this season. It’s as defensively strong as a wotsit and has no final product, it’s basically nothing, but it **might** just be enough to keep us out the bottom 3 in May #readingfc— Fin (@FinSouthKlein) December 22, 2018
The new boss
Really, this overshadowed the whole day. It was common knowledge before the game that Jose Manuel Gomes was going to the new manager, it was just a matter of when it was going to be announced.
It’s a risk. And it’s a risk that has to pay off, or else we are in serious trouble. You would expect that if the reported sums of money Gomes is being paid is true, then the owners are going to back him in the transfer market, as well.
Unknown really in English football, Gomes will be looking to make a name for himself and his first interview was cool, calm and collected. He has a massive job on his hands, but I think he knows that.
It’s an interesting appointment and one that has divided the opinion of the fanbase, some understandably concerned but some excited at the prospect of Gomes taking charge. Here’s what the fans said on Twitter when the news was announced...
Jose Gomes ~ our most expensive manager ~ let’s hope he’s not the managerial equivalent of Aluko! #readingfc— Richard (Dougal) (@F8RDR) December 22, 2018
Gomes invokes some calmness and control about the way he speaks. Totally different manager compared to Clement. Quietly confident about this appointment. We go on. #readingfc— jordanOliver (@JordanWindle) December 23, 2018
Clean slate, everything reset, time to get right behind Gomes. Talks excellently, very calm, has a vision, now for him to clear out the deadwood, trim down the squad and add some extra quality. #readingfc— Richard Langley (@simply_langers) December 23, 2018
Re Jose Gomes - big gamble but someone I’m going to back 100%, he talks a good game & wants to play exciting football so that’s encouraging #readingfc— Nick Houlton (@Houlton11) December 23, 2018
A clean slate, that’s what we have now. Gomes is a risk, but there is definitely cause to be excited, especially after watching that first interview. Let’s back him, and back the players and hopefully we can begin to get out of this mess, and build something special.