It’s fair to say that the knives have been getting sharpened at Reading, with a mixture of decent yet fruitless performances, and awful displays, which have had the fans questioning the future of the club.
The Royals travelled to Preston which this early on in the season was probably a bit too soon to label a ‘six pointer’. It was however the battle of two sides woefully out of form, and if you're being honest the game showed it.
Whilst a win is the most important, performances have to be taken into account, and for the first 20 minutes of this game there’s probably not a person who would have predicted the result. Both teams were dire and apart from a shot from Preston that rattled the woodwork, neither team could string a worthwhile attack together.
The PNE fans understandably were up in arms. Funny, reading the timeline I can’t but help compare it to Reading's a couple of weeks back. It seems that the fans aren’t happy with the performances (check), the board (check), investment (check), lack of a striker (check) and the manager (sort of check). Still, one result doesn’t make a season, and this win will only count for anything if we can capitalise on it moving forward.
Overall, the PNE fans were decidedly unhappy, which pretty much showed in the tweets, with a standard theme of unhappiness running throughout the fan base.
Money, money, money
Looking at the bigger picture some blame has to lie with the owner for not releasing funds to strengthen properly. Eventually the only place league one quality players is going to take you is league one! #PNEFC— Rik Grayson (@GraysonRik) September 16, 2018
Does this really happen?
Thought #pnefc played today like they were trying to stuff the manager. Any players wish to comment?— On the Ribble (@ontheribble) September 15, 2018
The only time to get decent hoardings is in the summer and January sales!
The electronic advertising hoardings looked top notch. So glad we got those while the transfer window was open. Nice One. #pnefc— Worthington (@Worthington_PNE) September 15, 2018
Posting on Twitter is my metaphorical kicking of the cat after a #pnefc show like that! I worry though how disillusioned I have become with @pnefc We have no ambition, no desire to grow the support or make Deepdale rock....today I could happily have done something else!— John Lee (@Johnnyproudlove) September 15, 2018
Love this analogy
I think Neil was to blame today but still think he’s a quality manager working under impossible conditions. Like having Lewis Hamilton at your disposal and providing him with a 2nd hand Ford Fiesta to win a Formula One race #pnefc— Gordie Moss (@gordielad) September 15, 2018
Always good to be positive!
Absolutely no attacking threat, we’re leaky even with 5 at the back, Alex Neil is choosing DJ over Harrop, 5 points from 12 Home games and we’re in for a hammering at Leeds on Tuesday. #pnefc pic.twitter.com/Zx9KR3oIYM— Sam Thomas (@SamThomas71) September 15, 2018
Sure we have been here...
Can we play you every week?
The lowest of the low. No win since April for Reading. Our inept attack wasn't improved one bit, defence has lost it, manager continues to not know his best 11 and has no plan B & we play 5 at the back home against READING!! & People continue to defend the club. #Shambolic #pnefc pic.twitter.com/pEhhiRAKfZ— Sir Tom Finney Way (@SirTomFinneyWay) September 15, 2018
We’re all doomed!
With 1 minute 53 seconds of coverage, Sky Sports say that this game was a thriller. Having watched the game at Deepdale, I would question the word “thriller” - it was intriguing yes but I'm not sure that the quality of play deserves that phrase. Their roundup of the game however probably isn’t far off the truth.
Their fellow broadcasters at the BBC make a point of Preston being the last team we beat in the league back in April, and they carry the interview with Clement calling this result the “catalyst” Reading need to push on.
All Nigerian Soccer obviously carry the Reading game with Sone Aluko being praised along with Tiago Ilori, the defender being a Portuguese-Nigerian player (I never knew that!). The Last Word on Football are my new favourite Canadian website saying that although Reading could have settled for a draw we took a ‘risk’ and went for it.
It's interesting that accordin to the player ratings on the Lancashire Post and Football.London Aluko was the worst player on the pitch, however he was instrumental in creating Ilori’s goal with some nice play. There's also a good round-up from both local outlets.
Lastly BT Sport actually mention football outside of the Premier League and carry a similar view of the game as most of the other outlets majoring on the interview with Clement.
This result was needed, with all that’s happened off the field this week it was welcome to have the Reading FC twitter feed focusing on positives for once! OK, so we conceded a couple of soft goals, maybe there were some OK performances, rather than exceptional ones, and maybe the team selection raised a number of eyebrows.
However, goals breed confidence and the really encouraging fact from a Reading point of view was the fact that we won having got pegged back twice by an PNE side looking lower on confidence than Reading. Last season, getting pulled back by equalising goals would have meant this game ending up as a draw.
On Saturday there was something about this side - that they just kept going forward and trying. Don’t mistake me, it wasn’t a dominating, swashbuckling performance, but a result that had to be earned.
We now have two games at home, but both are winnable if we keep the level of commitment and effort up. Get two wins and suddenly the league gets viewed in an entirely different light - maybe things will get that little more positive.