So, Reading go into the international break off the back of their fourth defeat in five games. For large parts of the game though, Jose Gomes’ team controlled the game - especially in the second half.
But, as has been the case for so often this season, the final piece of the jigsaw - putting the ball in the back of the net - was the only thing missing (apart from the lack of defending for Bristol City’s goal). Famara Diedhou found himself in acres of space in the penalty area to head past Rafael in the 12th minute, which turned out to be enough for the hosts to seal all three points.
Reading were good in the second half, but there was no killer instinct yet again - especially from record signing George Puscas who squandered a glorious chance to equalise which summed up his confidence at the moment.
Here’s how the fans reacted to some of the key talking points...
More woes for Puscas
The Romanian international has been in pretty poor form, and is now without a goal in nine games. It’s also not the first game where he’s been guilty of missing a huge chance as well. The fee he came for (which he has no control over, by the way) is always going to hang over his head when he’s not scoring, but the signs are there that it won’t be long before he sticks a few in the back of the net.
Watching it back, the movement from Puscas to give himself space was wonderful and he probably didn’t see the ball until very late. But it’s still a bad miss. The fans were left frustrated at another game without a goal, and understandably so. When you spend that kind of money, you expect them to deliver. But, he is in an alien country and still very young, the goals will come...
I am starting to think George Puscas does not, in fact, live for score. #ReadingFC— Seth Dakota Shanager (@NCCDakota) October 5, 2019
#gomesIN for me— Brightside (@BrightsideRFC) October 5, 2019
Also agree with him about puscas, undoubtedly has a level of talent and if you take him out now you'll never see that potential. Agree puscas has missed some shockers but once form returns is always in the right position to score#ReadingFC
For those quick to criticise keepers like Virginia for their clangers, Puscas’ miss today was just as bad & just as costly. Don’t want to get on his back as he needs confidence not criticism but so do Keepers #GKUnion #readingfc— Andy C #FBPE (@AndyRFCCharman) October 5, 2019
Name a better partnership than puscas and missing an open goal #readingfc— Dan Bradley (@DanBradley10) October 5, 2019
Just saw that miss from Puscas yesterday. How on earth does a £7m striker fail to do anything from 6 yards out? A Sunday League striker would've buried it. #ReadingFC— Dan Cross (@danieljcross) October 6, 2019
Think when puscas scores it’ll kick start his Reading career... Again. #readingfc— Dan (@DanHindmarsh16) October 6, 2019
A confident puscas would have buried this no question. Have to stick by him and back him. Once the team gets its confidence back puscas will be scoring again. Needs to happen sooner rather than later though. Maybe the Int break is just what’s needed. #readingfc https://t.co/FuEKhCe3CY— Dean Bennett (@DeanBennett1993) October 6, 2019
It’s an absolute howler of a miss, yes, but Puscas’ movement in the buildup was brilliant.. hell start scoring soon pic.twitter.com/IbYTdMi0xd— Matt (@MattJH_2001) October 6, 2019
Moore in midfield
As Reading lined up for the second half, I think there was a collective feeling of bemusement amongst the travelling fans when skipper Liam Moore was standing in centre midfield.
But the change actually worked very well. Gomes has been criticised for his tactical decisions in recent weeks, but he got this spot on. Moore coming into midfield allowed Andy Rinomhota to use his energy further up the pitch, and made more space for Ovie Ejaria out on the left hand side to weave his magic.
I don’t think it’s going to be a long-term thing, but we played better with Moore in midfield - much better. The fans were confused at first, of course, but were also impressed with the decision in the end...
@willow1871 once we put Liam Moore into the holding mid role we went on top, I can’t believe we didn’t sign a player in midfield that can tackle and read the play— Andrew Ray (@ArayrfcRay) October 5, 2019
Still convinced Gomes is the right person going forward, not entirely sure what could be done by anyone else to improve our situation. His plan B of putting Moore in midfield did help get us back in the game tbf. Just had poor luck with absences and individual errors #readingfc— Cam (@CamWyper) October 5, 2019
#ReadingFC moving defenders into midfield isn't as crazy as it may seem - Moore is good on the ball and has been a bit sloppy with his marking of late. I'd also say Yiadom is prime for moving up the pitch, too. https://t.co/L90h6HJLSV— Marc Mayo (@ThatMarcMayo) October 5, 2019
Moore in central midfield is a damn sight better as a tactical move than throw 9 strikers on the field and hope for the best I guess. #ReadingFC— Alex Everson (@Readingfanman) October 5, 2019
Moore has actually played very well as a midfielder so far #readingfc— Parking the Bus (@Parking_the_Bus) October 5, 2019
Oddly enough we’ve looked better with Moore in midfield #ReadingFC— Erik O (@Orrgarde) October 5, 2019
Into the relegation zone...
Saturday’s result leaves Reading in the relegation zone with just eight points from ten games. Whether or not they’ll stay there or not remains to be seen, but after building up so much excitement and spending so big in the summer, the fans are certainly angry about the current position.
Personally, I think there is a big overreaction at the moment. The signs are there that this team isn’t far off clicking, and once they do we are going to be a seriously good team. But football is a results business at the end of the day, and the Royals just aren’t getting them at the moment. Here’s how the fans reacted to dropping into the relegation zone...
We can’t panic and make a rash decision on Gomes. I genuinely believe we’ll pull away from the relegation zone and finish comfortably midtable. If we get rid of him now we’ll end up with another year of building. We need stability. #readingfc— Louis Stagg (@dinglouis_) October 1, 2019
Yet another loss and now in the relegation zone. I'm sorry, I like the man, but he's had his chance and it's not worked. Gomes' has to go. #readingfc— Ben (@BenParsons89) October 5, 2019
#ReadingFC now out the relegation zone on goal difference. Gomes really needs to get this sorted before the Chinese/Howe sort it out.— Stuart (@fents17) October 5, 2019
That’s enough now, Gomes is a joke, thanks for keeping us up, but it’s time to go. Relegation after spending so big will kill the club, it’s unthinkable #readingfc— Paul Towner (@PaulTowner) October 5, 2019
Upstairs need to act NOW to avoid this season being yet another relegation scrap. Gomes Out #ReadingFC— Josh Penny (@josh23penny) October 5, 2019
Not good enough, we are not a championship team. Haven’t been for a long time now. I’d take relegation now. #ReadingFC— Dan (@DanHindmarsh16) October 5, 2019
The players on low on confidence, and it’s showing. But, like Gomes said after the game and I truly believe this, this team needs one win and they will be a completely different team. When it clicks, it’ll be very good - it just needs to click much sooner rather than later.