What can I say? What is there TO say? That was by far the most awful performance I have seen from a Reading team. There was a distinct lack of desire and passion from the side, excluding Liam Moore, and we became architects of our own demise.
Heads went down after the opener and Ipswich capitalised on that. The performance completely summed up our season as a whole, especially Freddie Sears’ 91st minute strike to make it 3-0, which was one of the worst goals we have conceded this season.
The first 15 minutes were very cagey; both teams were in the feeling-out process and neither wanted to make the first move. It was almost as if both teams were shadowboxing. However, the game opened up after this and chances were more frequent. But, like this season as a whole, our finishing was atrocious and no-one looked comfortable taking a shot on goal.
This Reading team is still desperate for someone to fill the void left by Adam Le Fondre. Sam Smith showed glimpses of promise when he came off the bench, but it was too little, too late in the game and in the season. Even a draw today would have left us in a comfortable position for next Sunday, but with us bound to lose, the ball is firmly in Barnsley’s court.
It’s difficult to pick out a positive from Saturday’s game, but Tommy Elphick’s return was a minor bright spot, and I personally would like for him to be signed permanently for next season. Another positive was Paul Clement’s post-match reaction. He seemed to approach the performance a lot differently to how Stam did.
The former manager would have shifted the blame onto other factors like the supporters or the officials, but Clement didn’t do any of that, and conducted himself in the way many Royals fans would have hoped he would.
Overall, Saturday’s game pretty much epitomised our season: lacklustre, awful and disappointing. We will have to count our lucky stars if we stay up next Sunday, and honestly we deserve relegation after the countless amounts of shocking displays this season.
If our place in the Championship is secured on Sunday, Paul Clement needs to have a serious look at this squad and be ruthless in deciding which players honestly deserve a place in our squad next season. And I have a feeling it could end up being a complete overhaul.