fgroupWell, if there was ever a game that summed up supporting Reading, this just might have been it. There was a gutting end to a very impressive performance from Paul Clement’s men as the Royals were beaten 2-1 at home to Derby County. It was a performance we couldn’t have dreamed of seeing last season under Stam, and here’s a rundown of how the Reading fanbase reacted to some of the key talking points of Friday night.
A game of two halves
Friday night was the classic footballing cliché. Reading were brilliant in the first half, defending solidly and with high intensity and attacking with freedom and creativity, but – as was the case for most of last season – the end product in the final third was never really there. But the positives of what Clement is doing on the training ground with the squad were certainly displayed in the opening 45.
If the first half showed the positives, the second certainly showed where we need more work. We lost all intensity from the first half and allowed Derby to grow into the game, we still looked very good defensively for the majority of the second 45 but seemed to lose the threat we had on the counter, and stopped getting key players like John Swift, Modou Barrow and Sone Aluko in dangerous areas, and we certainly paid for it.
Here’s how the fans reacted to the Royals’ performance after the game...
First half full of positives. Second half full of doubts. Still did enough to earn a point but for a wonderful (annoyingly) header right at the end. Tom Lawrence's 4th against us, on course to beat Andy Johnson's 8 goals in the Mad Stad era. Onto Blues on Tuesday #readingfc #dcfc— Dave Harris (@Handbags82) August 3, 2018
Not often I’m upbeat about losing. But that was a great performance last night and if that style of play is executed well we won’t go down this year for sure. Also that’s our first game so we can only get better in what we do (as Stam would say) #ReadingFC— Brad (@BradSRay) August 4, 2018
Gutting end to a game we didn’t deserve to lose. However based on the performance as a whole, I’m definitely optimistic #readingfc— Adam Diplock (@adam_diplock79) August 4, 2018
Good performance on whole yiadom looked class aloku barrow fired up Macca led well got to close games out but lots to build on & meite has turned into a tank love his passion well done all involved with @Club1871 flag looked great too urzzz #readingfc— Johnny Hunt (@Huntyroyal) August 4, 2018
Not much really need be said. We were more than comfortable up until Mason Mount’s strike squeezed past Vito Mannone to equaliser. It was a sickener as it really seemed to have a knock-on effect to the rest of the team as from the on, we never looked like getting a winner or even threaten going forward.
Clement, the fans, the players and Mannone will all know he should have done better. The worrying thing is that’s it’s not the first time that the Italian has made a costly error, and here’s what a few of the Reading fans had to say about Vito’s latest blunder...
Mannone lucky to get his place back last year (Anssi was poor), don’t think he’ll be as lucky when Walker replaces him this season. Good signing by Clement #ReadingFC— Oliver O'Rawe (@DoubleORoar) August 4, 2018
Mannone needs to be benched next game, far too many blunders during his time here #readingfc— Scott Graham (@ScottGraham_10) August 4, 2018
Wasn't so long ago that Mannone saved a penalty against QPR which pretty much kept us in the league. Fast forward a few games and the keyboard warriors want him dropped. Yes it was a bad mistake, but it happens... Long way to go yet. #ReadingFC— Joe Sowten (@joesowten) August 4, 2018
The last gasp winner
For all the highs that the wonderful sport of football brings, it certainly brings some horrible lows. As pretty much everyone in the stadium had prepared themselves for a 1-1 draw, Tom Lawrence popped up with a quite sublime header and snatched it at the death for Derby.
It was absolutely gut wrenching as Reading had played so well over the 90 minutes, strong in defence and threatening going forward. A totally undeserved winner – admitted by Lampard himself post-game, and felt by most fans on twitter after the game.
So, so undeserved for #readingfc to lose that game.— Daniel Holloway (@RFCdan) August 3, 2018
Derby grew into the game, and a draw was a fair result.
But that's what winners do, and unfortunately Derby have one in Frank Lampard.
..but plenty of positives from that game, and I'm much more optimistic for the season ⚪
Finally home after road works galore tonight. Gutted is an understatement. An encouraging start to season. If we continue with those performances we might surprise a few. #readingfc— Dan Gabriel (@DanG188) August 3, 2018
Gutted about the result, but the performance was just so much better, especially first half! Looked like we wanted it. Few tiny things to work on bjut overall im feeling better about the season, UP THE DING #readingfc— Ollie Broad (@olliebroad19RFC) August 4, 2018
Based on that performance, I don't expect Reading to be in the trouble that many predict. However, a last minute defeat like that leaves a very sour taste in the mouth. Clement must highlight how good they were for much of the game. #Readingfc— Michael Redford (@mredford17) August 3, 2018
A draw would’ve probably been a fair result, Derby certainly grew into the game in the second half but Reading were much the better team for large proportions of the game. Of course, we need to learn from the negatives, but also the positives. We were very good in the first half and if we produce performances like that opening 45 throughout the season, there will be no threat of relegation at all.
Also, there were very promising individual performances from Swift, Aluko, Barrow and - most notably – Tiago Ilori. Let’s keep backing the boys, because we will get more than our fair share of results if we continue playing like we did on Friday, no doubt about that.
Here is one tweet that might fill you with a bit more positivity going into the new season...