After the brilliant performance last weekend at Old Trafford, it was vital that the players carried that into the league form, and they duly delivered against Forest. The intensity and fight that Gomes has got this team playing with is something we haven’t seen in a long, long time. We controlled the majority of possession and hunted in packs when we didn’t have it; Bodvarsson and Swift being particularly impressive with the high press.
We are only a few weeks into Gomes’ reign but we look like a completely different team to the one we were under Clement earlier in the season; it’s brilliant to watch. The new manager is certainly getting the fans behind him as well. For the first time in a very long time, there was a real feel-good factor at the ground on Saturday afternoon, and the scenes at full time were fantastic.
There were, of course, some key talking points to come out of the game but this time, they were pretty much all positive!
Gomes managed to strengthen his squad during the week with the loan signings of Ovie Ejaria and then Lewis Baker, from Liverpool and Chelsea respectively Ejaria was thrown straight into the starting lineup on the left hand side of the three behind Bodvarsson, while Baker was sent on midway through the second half when Forest had gone down to 10 men.
Both showed signs of what they can bring to the team during their time on the pitch with Ejaria showing energy and creativity going forward, and Baker bringing a sense of calmness in midfield at a time when nerves could’ve easily set in.
Good first impressions from both, and the fans certainly acknowledged that after the game on social media...
Lewis Baker looks class! Everyone was good today though #readingfc— Al (@dingaldo) January 12, 2019
How good did Lewis Baker looo when he came on... wow #readingfc— Robbie Nicholas (@RobbieN_16) January 12, 2019
Ejaria was so good and Baker looked classy when he came on too #ReadingFC— Jonnie Harris (@jonnieharris99) January 12, 2019
The moaners claimed Ejaria was 'pedestrian' and wouldn't be able to handle the 'physicality of The Championship'. He made them look right plonkers today. #readingfc— Andy Charman #FBPE (@AndyRFCCharman) January 12, 2019
Showing some fight
Around midway through the second half, Daryl Murphy absolutely clattered into John Swift which triggered a bit of a scrap involving several players - eventually leading to Forest captain Danny Fox being given his marching orders. Usually, you don’t want to see that on a pitch, but for me and many other Reading fans, it summed up the spirit that Gomes has got in these players.
Editor's note: TTE does not condone bust-ups, on a football pitch or otherwise.
Not just that, but the press and intensity that we showed throughout the game was incredible. These players look like they want to play for this club again and there is no better feeling than that as a fan - that the players care just as much as you. The fans certainly took notice of this showed their happiness and delight on Twitter...
If we perform with the same tenacity and fight today which has evidently been lacking over the last 2 yrs i think we might just be ok...JUST!!! #readingfc— Gavin Smith (@gavpsmith) January 12, 2019
Big performance! Finally playing good football and good to see we literally have some fight in this team #readingfc— Alex Dow (@AlexDow9) January 12, 2019
Love this! FIGHT to survive. Every game. #readingfc https://t.co/e1zHnlkhHb— george (@gdwilliamson_) January 12, 2019
A win... at last!
Before Saturday, Reading hadn’t tasted victory since November 3 against Bristol City. It’s been a torturous season all in all so far, but hopefully this is the catalyst for a turnaround of fortunes. This has been a long time coming, and performances under Gomes have probably deserved more than they have got so far - bar that horrific New Year's Day game against Swansea.
This just needs to be built on. We failed to win back to back games in 2018, and that cannot continue into 2019. Next up is a tough trip to Derby, but this team is playing with absolutely no fear so you never know what could happen. The fans praised a first win in 10 league games, but most of all showed signs of understandable relief after the game...
Thankfully my feeling came good. Pleased to come away with a win and feel good factor leaving the ground. #readingfc ⚪️ ⚪️— Paul Stacey (@pstacey11) January 12, 2019
Actually coming away from a Reading game happy! Get in what a win! #readingfc ⚪️— Nathan Davies (@nathan_davies93) January 12, 2019
That feeling when you come away from the Madejski, after watching @ReadingFC win and play a decent game of football! It’s been a while!!! @andyrinomhota has got to be the best player I’ve seen in a #ReadingFC shirt since Gylfi. Hopefully its onwards and upward! #urzzzz— Rebecca (@rebeccacooper01) January 12, 2019
Great win today! Need to build on it now. URZ #ReadingFC— Josh Penny (@penny_joshua) January 12, 2019
The feel good factor is definitely back, but we are not out the woods yet. We should enjoy this win because we deserve it - but, as Gomes rightly said, we still have 19 more battles left. Hopefully it’s onwards and upwards from here on out.