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Reading 1-0 Preston North End: The Alternative View

Who doesn’t like a last-minute winner?

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Preston North End v Sheffield United - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Kevin Barnes - CameraSport via Getty Images

Reading hosted the visit of Preston North End at the end of another traumatic week. After Jose Gomes was sacked it was announced that Mark Bowen was taking the Royals hot seat, and with high-flying Preston visiting the Mad Stad the omens didn’t look good for our standard 1-0 win after a new manager takes control.

Let’s not overcook it, it was 96 minutes of not-the-best football you will ever see from both side, followed by one minute of pure ecstasy.

You also have to take in mind this was against a high-flying Preston side who were on a eight-match run, and had they had won would go to the top of the table, so I suppose we can make a reasonable case that a boring 0-0 was actually a good result.

There is no doubt that the PNE fans came here looking for a win, and a performance as they don’t have the greatest record after an international break. However, as they say, we are their “bogey” team, so in reality this was the result that should have been expected.

Social

Every game has a scapegoat

“Can we play you every week?”

In and around the playoffs the last few years and #NeilOut?????

Goal difference is a wonderful thing

Can’t see PNE getting relegated this season?

We aim to please

Aged well…

Maybe not…

And we get called out for “that” video a few years back!!!

Media

Starting with the Deepdale Digest, they focus on Preston’s distinctly bad run after international breaks, and also carry a tweet from Paul Gallagher who said it wasn’t good enough. Understatement of the year… They also have a report from their post-international break record which is not good reading for any fan – after two out of 10 breaks they have secured three points.

The Lancashire Evening Post, are very much glass-half-full kind of guys with their reports. Firstly about “let’s be realistic” - two bad performances in 12 - and they also go on with a report about how they always lose against Reading and that John Swift was the best player on the park (really!). They also call us “bang average” which to all intents and purposes I am treating as a compliment!

The Telegraph’s column is a little hard to fathom, as in reality there isn’t a lot in it. One of the only telling aspects, is that they say Bowen thinks we are in a false position, which on the performance of the individuals they sort of agree with, and go on to say that getting a team performance will be the hard part. They also mention that Preston being the league’s highest scorers looked good until they caught sight of the Reading goal.

If you have that 20 seconds to spare then you could always check out the “brief” summary that the Guardian have online. When I say 20 seconds that includes clicking on the link and settling down!

FourFourTwo carry the report that, instead of his players getting Sunday off as a reward for the win, Bowen is calling them in for training to play catch-up. Sure, that’s gonna go down well, but I do see his point. They also have some decent takes from both managers on the game.

Sky Sports have found the two minutes of decent play and put them all in their highlights video. When you look at the chances that Reading created you have to wonder how we didn’t score more. However, it’s worth watching for Miazga’s strike - he does hit it really sweetly. As usual they have more stats than most other places, and their report makes it sound an interesting game!

Down at the BBC and they have a fairly good write-up. However, they also blame the injury time - all seven minutes of it - on the injury to Morrison, rather than the theatrics from the Preston players.

Finally, GetReading have their “things we learned column” (do they not do match reports anymore?) with focus on a “direct approach” (long ball), Ejaria’s quality, a solid defence (or poor Preston play?) fringe players and supporters needing to be won over. Fair play, all those things need discussing, but there was nothing new in it.

Closing thoughts

I think it’s fair to assume that myself and 80% of Reading FC’s fan base were not over-enamoured with the hiring of Bowen to be the new manager. I also think it creates other questions such as why the owners have a board, and technical advisors if they are going maverick on them, but that’s another column’s discussion.

I think it’s also fair to say that we played Preston exactly at the right time, as they were not at the races. But you can only beat what’s in front of you, which we did, so big tick in that box.

Did we learn anything new about this side? Not really, bar the slight tweak in tactical play with long balls being the order of the day, and no playing out from the back. What you could term a relegation team’s guide to survival, ie “we ain’t good enough to play with the ball at the back so keep it as far from the goal as possible” tactics.

What we did learn is that this team is finally willing to get in a hole and fight, as that’s what’s going to be needed. There were some decent performances - Ejaria with his customary performance, Miazga with a solid display capped off with a goal and Yiadom being his normal decent self. But this is the worry - ask any fan who’s our top five and these will always appear in it.

Puscas needs something, anything. What I will say though is that I would be far more worried if he wasn’t in the position to miss the chances - at least he is continuing to get in front of the goal, unlike some other forwards we have had who simply haven’t put themselves out.

Is Bowen the man for the job? I don’t know, I fully expect a new manager next season regardless of what he does this time around but it’s time to settle. We either give him the job and support him or this never-ending cycle of management won’t ever stop and one day we will get relegated because of it.

Fake hoops next time up – we are due a win!