Another 90 minutes of Reading’s season filled with controversy, drama and, of course, questionable defending - to say the least. Despite being another loss, the performance on Tuesday night against Leeds was positive and something to build on. But the early signs on Saturday were that it wasn’t going to be built on at all, with Stoke City wasting a number of golden opportunities to go ahead.
In truth, the game could’ve and maybe should’ve been out of sight in Stoke’s favour by half time, but after some excellent work from Andy Rinomhota, Marc McNulty headed home his first goal for the club for us to lead at the break.
However, within three minutes of the restart, Stoke were level, and then Tom Ince popped up with a quite incredible volley to complete the turnaround. It looked like Reading were going to fall to another defeat. But, with seconds left, Mo Barrow expertly placed a shot into the corner to rescue the Royals, and probably rescue Clement’s job.
There were certainly a lot of talking points, and here’s how the fans reacted to some of the big ones after the game...
The defending this season on the whole has been shambolic. It was no different on Saturday, especially in the first half, as Stoke should’ve been 3-0 up by half time. On numerous occasions, Stoke carved us open. Only two clean sheets all season tells the story really.
We have the fourth worst record in the league for goals conceded, and it’s something that’s needed to be sorted for a long time. Most of it is basic schoolboy stuff, silly individual errors are being made on a consistent basis and it’s costing us game after game.
Defending like Reading did in that first half will only see you go one way. Worry, concern and anger from the fans will just continue to grow if it continues, as proven by some of the comments on Twitter after the game...
Great finish but completely laughable and schoolboy defending. Awful. They haven't been fit to wear the shirt this half. #ReadingFC— Nath St Paul (@NathStPaul) December 1, 2018
Stoke score again to lead 2-1 #ReadingFC more pathetic defending— Andy (@Brownie1871) December 1, 2018
Defending for the 2 goals has been shambolic. #ReadingFC— Dave Stacey (@dave_stacey) December 1, 2018
This kid’s a talent. We have been crying for someone to replace Danny Williams ever since he left, and now we’ve got it. He had to wait patiently for his chance, but Rinomhota is grabbing it with both hands now.
He has energy, fight and has serious quality with the ball at his feet as well. At the moment, he’s probably the first name on the team sheet - and so he should be. His assist for McNulty’s goal was brilliant, the touch to get past his man and the end product.
It was another impressive performance from the 21 year old, and he’s already a fans favourite. The compliments and love were pouring in for Rinomhota after the game from fans on Twitter...
Andy Rinomhota is the future of this club. Criminally underrated in the past, doesn’t surprise me to see him thriving this season. #ReadingFC— Jacob Potter (@pott95) December 1, 2018
Andy Rinomhota is just a little bit good isn't he? #readingfc— Harrison Mitchell (@harrison1871rfc) December 1, 2018
Don’t want to overreact to the start to his #readingfc career, but I think Andy Rinomhota may be the best footballer of all time?— Dr. King Schultz (@Adamhumphries44) December 2, 2018
Andy Rinomhota is the player that Dele Alli thinks he is. #readingfc— Imran Escőbar (@razor5edge) December 2, 2018
Another last-minute equaliser
It’s one of the only good traits of our season so far, the ability to pop up with a late goal. It’s happened against Preston, Aston Villa, Ipswich, Bristol City and now Stoke, after Barrow’s wonderful finish. Usually, a last-minute equaliser is greeted with delight and joy from the fans. And, of course, it was, but there was also a fair few worried that this is only papering over the cracks.
It’s a valid argument. The performances haven’t been good all season, and although last-minute goals are great for morale and the fans, we cannot let it cover the fact that if we continue to perform the way we are, we’re going to really struggle this season.
The actual goal from Barrow on Saturday was a brilliant one, an expert finish from a player whose end product has been consistently criticised throughout his time at the club. As previously mentioned, there was obvious delight from the fans post game, but also some suggesting that it is just papering over the cracks...
Honest assessment today. Not good! Yes snatched a last minute point but my god Clement is clueless. Swift and Illori absolutely dreadful. Pleased for @sparkymcnulty though thought was unlucky to get subbed. #readingfc— Dan Gabriel (@DanG188) December 1, 2018
Yes I love celebrating last minute goals but yes it should be said we’re worse off in terms of the league table. For me, Rotherham away in 2 weeks is the *absolute* decider. Lose OR draw that game and Clement has to go, has to #readingfc— Fin (@FinSouthKlein) December 1, 2018
The next few games are absolutely massive for the club, and for Clement. No more important than the next though, which is Sheffield United next Saturday evening.
There’s no sugar coating it, we’re where we are in the league because we deserve to be and you wonder how long the owners are going to let Clement get away with the odd last minute goal.