Well, that was a night to forget, wasn’t it? Coming up against a top team in Fulham was hard enough, but doing it with 10 men for 75 minutes and a team ridiculously low on confidence made it 10 times harder.
Fulham were good in the first half on Tuesday night, but my God did Reading make it easy for them. Even with 10 men, the minimum we as fans expect is a bit of aggression, passion and fight - something that, funnily enough, this team has shown recently against Wolves and Swansea. But not against Fulham.
The second half was better, but the damage was already done and Fulham went on to a comfortable win. It was a performance and result that left the fans frustrated, upset and angry at the situation we now find ourselves in.
After the optimism and excitement that the transfer window built up, this recent run has been a crushing blow back down to the earth for the fans and the players. Here are some of the key talking points that got the fans talking on social media after the games - and, as you can imagine, it’s not pretty...
Swift red card
John Swift is arguably our most important player - just look at the fact that he’s been directly involved in 60% of our goals this season. So to see him walking off after seeing red midway through the first half was a huge blow to Reading’s chances of getting a result.
The first yellow looked, in real time, a fair attempt of trying to get the ball - but it was a foul. However, Scott Parker was adamant after the game that Swift was lucky not to get a straight red.
The second was just a bit of stupidity from the midfielder. Whether he slipped or not, to dive in like that when you know your on a yellow card is silly really. And now we’re without him for maybe the biggest game of the Jose Gomes era so far.
Understandably, the fans were left confused and annoyed when they saw Swift walking down the tunnel, and said so on Twitter...
No sympathy at all for Swift, absolute idiot and should have calmed down after the first dreadful tackle #ReadingFC— Jamie Harden (@MrCompo) October 1, 2019
It’s ironic that as swift receives his second yellow the Casumo boards behind him say play responsibly #readingfc— Liam Goodhew (@LJG1871) October 1, 2019
Reading fans screaming at the ref for two spot on calls. Complete and utter stupidity from John Swift. Twice. Deserved to go. #readingfc— Tom Light (@tomlight93) October 1, 2019
I'd like to see that sending off again. Looked to me that Barretts pass didn't help Swift whatsoever? #readingfc— Shaun Berry (@sbezzzab1871) October 1, 2019
There is no defence for John Swift. The 1st yellow was a messy tackle from behind no more than a minute after a cynical pull back. To them jump in like that on a yellow was sheer stupidity. #ReadingFC— Matt O'Riordan (@moriordan1) October 1, 2019
The basics are horribly wrong tonight. Ejaria trying to dribble just outside our box, defence not closing down Cairney and then Swift going in on a challenge that was so pointless on a yellow. Please explain how any of this is the manager's fault and not the players'? #readingfc— Ribcage (@Johnny_Ribcage) October 1, 2019
John swift is to blame for the loss tonight 2 stupid tackles cost us a chance in the game #readingfc— steven tegg (@tegg17) October 1, 2019
The difference in the game is Meite scores or Swift isn’t stupid and we could of had a good game on our hands.... instead it’s stuffings and fans in turmoil. #readingfc— Samuel Kailus (@SKailus) October 1, 2019
The first-half performance
It was bad - very bad. 10 men or not, you need to show a bit of bite to win the ball back and not just fall apart. Yes, Fulham are a good team, but the defending once we went down to 10 was abysmal. Liam Moore and Michael Morrison were dragged all over the shop, crosses weren’t being closed down, and the Fulham players had all the time in the world to knock it around.
As previously stated, the second half was an improvement - but let’s not allow that to hide the capitulation of the opening 45. The players need to be able to adapt and take some responsibility - and the fans certainly let them know that after the game...
I don't even know what the write anymore.— Andrew Savory (@adsavory) October 1, 2019
Is it the manager's fault? Maybe ♂️
Are the players bad? On the whole, no. Not bad enough to warrant this performance
Is there anything else that could contribute to this? Dunno
My emotion right now - apathy.#readingfc
I’ve seen some dross in my time but this is one of the most apathetic performances I’ve ever seen by a #readingfc team. Oh and it’s raining— Phil Rushton (@PhilTheRush) October 1, 2019
So glad I live in Pembrokeshire now, so I don't have watch performances like that at Madejski . That sounded dreadful #readingfc— Jack (@thesimpsonRFC) October 1, 2019
Fulham best team we have seen down at the Madejski this season so outclass us in every position... but that does not let us off our poor performance today did not seem to have no fight #Readingfc— Tom parsons (@tparso92) October 1, 2019
Not much to say about that dreadful performance... #readingfc— RFC (@AdamH1871) October 1, 2019
Apt choice of band for first track at half time. Dire Straits. #ReadingFC— Steve Double (@Steve1871) October 1, 2019
First game back in England in over 6 months. Half time and we’re 3-0 down and look a shambles. Could only be #ReadingFC— Alex Everson (@Readingfanman) October 1, 2019
I don’t think I have seen a more apathetic performance from a #Readingfc side in years - saying that you can’t call what that first half was a “performance” as that requires effort— Dave McCormack (@davemc_exile) October 1, 2019
Again, whether you agree with it or not, the future of the gaffer was also a huge talking point in the fanbase after the full-time whistle against Fulham. The Loyal Royals seem to be split at the moment: some saying he deserves more time, some saying it’s just not good enough and it’s not different what we had to suffer during the Paul Clement era.
Personally, I feel he more than deserves more time - this is a transition period and changing the manager would just see the beginning of another one, taking us back to square one. But football is a game of opinions, and the fans were more than open to share theirs regarding their thoughts on Gomes...
People who want Gomes out are forgetting how he guided a team, with no money, to 5th in the Portuguese top division. They also happen to forget how well we played vs Cardiff, Huddersfield and West Brom. The problem clearly does not lie with the manager. #readingfc— Eddie (@EddieRFC7) October 1, 2019
Sticking with Gomes atm, I remember how insane we were against Cardiff when we out our best side out and have confidence, somehow we just got to find that again and results will change 100% #readingfc— Saul (@Saul1871) October 1, 2019
Honestly don’t understand people who are Gomes out, it’s clear that the board have a vision in mind and are building towards something so how can the process work if you sack every manger that comes in? Get behind the team you wet wipes #readingfc— Joe Evening (@JoeEvening1) October 1, 2019
Gomes is under serious pressure IMO. Our form is shocking lately, and results are too. He done well last year, although it wasn’t the impossible job, but for some reason it just isnt working atm. Things have to change, and change quickly #readingfc— Jack Roberts (@jackaroberts95) October 2, 2019
I'm almost over last night. Still just a tad annoyed that it doesn't even feel like it's going down to 10 men that cost us, just a total inability to defend. It's not even solely a Gomes problem - we've been conceding soft goals for years now #readingfc— Matthew Williamson (@Photomattic) October 2, 2019
I’m struggling to see why fans are backing Gomes just because they don’t want another transitional period?! Do they want another season of struggle? When Gomes does eventually leave (at some point he will!) the whole point in Mark Bowen at #ReadingFC is to make the change easier— Pedro‼️ (@PictonPedro) October 2, 2019
‘This is not a PlayStation where you can just press the button & start again.’ Intentional or not, in his post match interview last night #Gomes absolutely nails the mindset of those amongst our fans who have already started talking of yet another change of management #readingfc— Andy C #FBPE (@AndyRFCCharman) October 2, 2019
A tough evening at the Madejski Stadium. A really poor performance that will have done nothing for the players confidence - or the mood amongst the fanbase - apart from make it even worse.
Do not underestimate how important the Bristol game is on Saturday - get three points there and things look a little rosier going into the international break - so get behind the lads and support them all the way.