Good news everyone! Reading beat Sunderland last week, securing our Championship status for another year, rendering our outing at Hillsborough on Saturday against an also safe Sheffield Wednesday a complete dead rubber.
It was nice just to sit back and watch two teams play football without worrying too much about the result, especially following the nerve-shredding finales to QPR and Preston. Yes, it was a shame we got beat so comprehensively but having secured our safety last week we can’t complain too much. It was just nice to be out in the sun and sit in such a lovely old proper football ground.
Don’t worry, for those who couldn’t make it to Sheffield you didn’t miss much, but at least you can sit out in your garden with your cup of tea thinking at least you’ll get the opportunity to witness more scintillating second tier football next season after all.
How it all panned out
In all honesty that was s**t. I mean proper s**t. I hate to swear on a family website and it can be censored and replaced by a nicer adjective if needs be but four letters can scarcely better describe the thoughts of the fans who made the trip.
Editor’s note: tut tut, this is a family website, Tom.
Now I was lucky enough to be in Leeds this week with work, having all expenses paid for in the Marriott Hotel, and after sitting in a jacuzzi in their leisure centre on Saturday morning and ambling down on the 30 minute train I’m annoyed I made the effort. God knows what those travelling from Berkshire are feeling.
The game was played like a dead rubber and it was as if the players didn’t realise that three points would guarantee our survival. Wednesday played like it was a dead rubber too, but who can blame them? It took them over half an hour to take a step back and realise that their opponents, a team still in danger of relegation, gave less of a toss than themselves. Thinking that they might as well give this football lark a go after all, considering no one else seemed interested, Wednesday thought it a neat idea to have an attack, and Forestieri slammed a deflected strike home after 34 minutes.
Seeing as that managed to work once in the first half it didn’t take long for the Owls to click on to the fact that having shots led to goals. They got two more in the second half as Reading stood around perplexed, wondering what sorcery they’d just witnessed, as first George Boyd tapped in as Forestieri was granted the key to Sheffield by our defence allowing him to slide the ball across our six yard box.
Then, the Italian figured out he could shoot from outside the box too, and beat his countryman Vito Mannone, standing somewhere near the goal, with consummate ease. As I walked out I heard what sounded like a Reading red card and thought to myself: ‘now who could that be’? Leandro Bacuna is still suspended and Dave Edwards is on the bench. Ah, it was Tyler Blackett, was it, I’ll try to act surprised, though probably easier than acting like I cared.
The most frustrating aspect of the game was not our performance, it was actually Sheffield Wednesday’s, who played like they did not give a monkey (and why would they?) and yet still managed to find themselves the victors by three goals to nil. My earlier than expected bus was full with Owls fans also not arsed, like me, they had seen enough it seemed, absolutely unbothered by their team’s success that day.
Thank God I left early
The home side were there for the taking in the first half but our attack do love complicating things. An extra touch here, an extra pass there, we just made he wrong decision every time. Sone Aluko constantly ignored Chris Gunter who got himself into good positions out wide and only realised that he should make a pass when it was too late. There was a real whiff of end-of-season here, which would be acceptable if we were safe, but we weren’t. Results may actually have made it ever more unlikely that we’ll go down, but play like that in our next two games and all we can hope is that Bolton and Barnsley keep on losing.
Such was Wednesday’s lackadaisical approach that Reading seemed to forget they were capable of scoring, which was showed by the gaps left when they decided to actually have an attack. When they scored players looked bemused and they never sat up and accounted for themselves, letting the match slowly slip out of their hands like a cat casually batting at some string.
I could have done a lot with my £33 that the ticket cost. Fly to Barcelona, ride the train between Leeds and Sheffield five times instead of getting out, or buy 110 Chomp bars. I could make a massive list but instead I’m writing a match report that has forced me to live through the match again. Thank God I left early, normally I would admonish those who did, and it says a lot that I abandoned my match reporting duties to get out of the stadium as quickly as I could, but it’s only fair considering the players hadn’t even bothered to turn up.
Now you’ve read this, check out Tom’s player ratings from the defeat at Hillsborough.