So Reading will have to wait for back-to-back wins a little longer. There'd been high hopes of a morale-boosting second straight victory at Pride Park, after the 2-0 triumph over Nottingham Forest a week earlier, but the Royals went home empty-handed. An early strike from Duane Holmes was added to by Harry Wilson's deflected effort shortly before the break, but a Sone Aluko goal in the second half couldn't inspire a complete comeback.
On the whole though, the mood seemed to pretty positive on the Reading FC corner of Twitter. Although the first-half performance had left a lot to be desired, the fight shown to get back into the contest later on went down well.
With Harry off this week (the lucky chap's in Barcelona - tough life for some), I've rounded up the reactions to Reading's 2-1 defeat to Derby County.
Andy Rinomhota at right back?
Eyebrows were raised at 2pm on Saturday when the team news came out. Although there was just one change from the Forest line-up, it was a baffling one: Andy Rinomhota shunted to right-back, Andy Yiadom to left-back, and Lewis Baker coming into midfield to partner Leandro Bacuna - Omar Richards missing out.
That decision from Jose Gomes seemed to backfire almost immediately, with Derby County dominating for the opening 15 minutes and taking the early lead through Holmes. Even before the game, reshuffing the back four so that Lewis Baker could play as a deep-lying playmaker didn't go down well on Twitter.
Rinomhota being moved to RB to accommodate Baker? WTF! Keep it simple play people in there best positions #ReadingFC— Elvis Royal (@royal_elvis) January 19, 2019
Good attacking line up hut surprised Rinomhota has been shifted to right back. Not that he won't do a good job there I just think he's been so effective in the middle of the park. Hope Bacuna and Baker do the job in there! Come on #URZZZ #readingfc— Tom Maynard (@ttmaynard) January 19, 2019
Rinomhota will do a job at RB and has obviously been put there to deal with Wilson but can't help but feel we will miss him through the middle #ReadingFC— Ben (@BenParsons89) January 19, 2019
Not happy with that. No more square pegs in round holes.— Lee118613 (@lee118613) January 19, 2019
I'm actually not very happy with this line-up, kinda wastes Rinomhota and makes our midfield weaker. Not sure Kelly deserves to be frozen out, did well against Man Utd— Sam ✌️ (@samisam147) January 19, 2019
Also 3 FBs on the bench is pointless #readingfc https://t.co/QqShvasLRb
The Sone Aluko-inspired second-half fightback
If Jose Gomes had got it wrong pre-match, his half-time team talk seemed to have done the trick. Reading were much improved after the break and quickly got at Derby, creating chances not long after the restart.
Key to that turnaround was the mightily impressive Sone Aluko, who was brought into the number ten role behind Jon Dadi Bodvarsson. His energy and tenacity (on and off the ball) was eyecatching, and he even capped it off with a cool finish to get Reading back into the game.
Post-match, the feeling seemed to be a mixture of frustration that Reading couldn't get the draw, but also some pleasure at the spirit shown by the team.
Dominated 2nd half . Just need to finish chances. Unlucky today. Bolton massive game #ReadingFC— Dean Bennett (@DeanBennett1993) January 19, 2019
Didn't really do enough to nick a point in the end. First half was abysmal, second half not bad. Decent limbs for Aluko's goal, who by the way, was absolutely brilliant. #ReadingFC— Matt (@MattJH_2001) January 19, 2019
Better 2nd half but ultimately left ourselves too much to do. #readingfc— Ben (@BenParsons89) January 19, 2019
Much improved performance 2nd half that! Lack of quality upfront was glaringly obvious however. #ReadingFC— Michael Dakin (@youvebeen_miked) January 19, 2019
Aluko is starting to look a new man under Gomes. Before we get on Gomes back , both Stam and Clement failed to get anything out of a huge club investment. #readingfc— cameron macken (@ronniemac93) January 19, 2019
Glad to see Gomes getting the most out of Aluko because he was useless before. #ReadingFC— Tom Gill (@tomGi123) January 19, 2019
Overall a good game, unlucky first half, offside goal and wicked deflection, played Derby off the park second half, look so much better and positive, just need to take our chances! Deserved something from the game! Well done lads @ReadingFC #readingfc— James (@B3rt1e) January 19, 2019
BBC Berks' coverage
We don't normally like to talk about other outlets, but BBC Berks' coverage came in for a lot of flak after the Derby defeat. The general feeling among the supporters (not all) was that Reading had played very well in the second half, and the team has on the whole been improving in recent weeks.
However, BBC Berks' take on the match was seen to be overly negative, even if the match had ended in defeat - not to mention the poor first half. A lot of fans on Twitter said just that after the game, while also defending Jose Gomes as he's only had six games so far.
This proved to be one of the biggest talking points around the game - there were a lot of tweets to sift through.
Think what frustrates me lately about the commentary is that outside of Reading, other managers, fans and pundits are saying how much we’ve improved and how quickly. Yet @BBCBerkshire talk like we’re being thumped 6-0 every time and Jose hasn’t got a clue #readingfc— Colin White (@_col__83) January 20, 2019
Dellor being pedantic with the "amazing things" quote... obviously not what Gomes meant... I can't believe the biased views and and anti Gomes sentiment being whipped up by all the BBC Berks team. They've been at it since before he arrived...#readingfc— MHA (@MHA92_) January 19, 2019
@willow1871 As you were one of the greatest players for #Readingfc can you answer a question please! Why is @TimDellor so anti Gomes! Hasn’t he already proved what he can do for our club a club I know you love!— Neil Eleazar (@NeilEleazar) January 20, 2019
Good to see the togetherness from the club, manager, players and fans to all pulling together to survive relegation! Shame BBC Radio Berkshire has a different agenda! Gotta give Jose a chance, performances have improved, results will come once we take our chances! #readingfc— James (@B3rt1e) January 19, 2019
To be fair, Ady Williams (who's pretty active on Twitter) took on the criticism post-match and defended BBC Berks' coverage of the game. He said:
"Tim [Dellor] isn’t anti Gomes, he like me, like you and like most Reading fans wants him to succeed. We both (in my opinion rightly) only ever questioned was he the best man for the job considering his CV. That’s what I believe."
On the whole, the fanbase seems a lot more positive and unified than it was before Christmas. Jose Gomes appears to have injected some optimism and fight into the team, and that's rubbing off on the fans too, with Twitter feeling like a much happier place than it has done previously.
The team-fan connection was evident at the game itself too, with almost all the away end staying behind to applaud the side (and sing about the manager), despite the result. It's that kind of spirit that I for one really want to see this season, and it could be what helps us avoid relegation. Fingers crossed.