After last Saturday’s game against Nottingham Forest was postponed, it seemed the clash against Millwall took an absolute age to come - but it was well worth it when it did. Two magnificent strikes from Jordan Obita and Sam Baldock ended up being the difference in a tight affair.
Bowen has continued to emphasise the importance on making us a tougher team to beat and to make sure we do the ugly side of the game just as well as the pretty side - and on Saturday afternoon, we showed both of those aspects of our game.
In the first half we bossed the game and played some very good football. John Swift absolutely ran the show for 90 minutes but was particularly impressive in the opening 45 minutes as he dictated the play from deep. That very good football ended with two very, very good goals - two superb finishes.
Then, in the second half as Millwall piled on the pressure, Bowen’s men dug deep and showed the fight and spirit that every fan loves to see from their team. Doing it without captain Liam Moore made it even tougher, but Michael Morrison and Matt Miazga led the way in a fantastic defensive performance in the second half.
Here’s how the fans reacted to some of the key talking points to come from a win that continued Mark Bowen’s unbeaten start as Manager...
Wow, what a moment this was. The goal itself was a brilliant strike from the academy product - but it was so, so much more than a goal. After two years of absolute hell after suffering a horrible knee injury against Hull City in 2017, Jordan Obita is back playing in a Reading shirt and that is a testament to not only the player he is, but also the man he is.
The amount of mental strength he has shown in what must’ve been a horrible couple of years is outstanding and he let all of his emotion out in his celebration - as did the fans and his teammates who all sprinted over to him to celebrate a wonderful moment for him.
The love was pouring in from all angles for Obita on social media after the game - and rightly so...
Massively deserved after your hard work and persistence over these terrible past couple of years!! A taste of more to come— Harri Chambers (@lHJCl) November 3, 2019
Yesterday isn’t the first time Jordan Obita has spanked a half volley past Bialkowski #readingfc— Nick Houlton (@Houlton11) November 3, 2019
JORDAN OBITA!!! BOOM!! Couldn’t be happier for him, what a return and twice in two home games his ability to thunderspank a football has paid dividends. #readingfc— Greg Double (@Dubstep1988) November 2, 2019
So chuffed for Obita with his goal, after the 2 years he has had. So fitting that it was his first goal at the Mad Stad. What a strike it was as well. #readingfc— Harrison Mitchell (@harrison1871rfc) November 2, 2019
Delighted to see Jordan Obita scoring for Reading yesterday.— Jack (@thesimpsonRFC) November 3, 2019
The player has been out for over two years with a career threatening injury and then he pulls that strike out of the bag.
An inspiration for so many players across football #readingfc
Baldock wonder goal
Obita wasn’t the only one to score a brilliant goal on Saturday afternoon - Sam Baldock did too. The former Brighton and Hove Albion man has been rejuvenated ever since Bowen came in, and you have to say that Baldock is more than repaying that faith at the moment.
The touch and finish from Baldock was that of a seriously good striker and gave the keeper absolutely no chance at all - talk about postage stamp.
With Lucas Joao and Lucas Boye still out injured, and Meite only just working his way back from his own little injury - Sam Baldock has really stepped up to the plate with two goals in as many games after being brought in from the cold by Mark Bowen.
Here’s how the fans reacted to a fantastic strike from Baldock which was worthy of winning any game...
Sam Baldock. Like a new signing.— BigGRoyal97 (@09roberg) November 2, 2019
Sam baldock top bins v Millwall URZ ⚽— Keegan W-B 1989 (@keeganmark25) November 2, 2019
2 fantastic goals from @JordanObita & Baldock. You could see just how much they meant to them both!— stacey (@royal4ever07) November 2, 2019
ROCKET!— IanM (@IanM1871) November 2, 2019
Cracking win today. My word do we look like a good team when we’re at our best. Yiadom absolutely brilliant today. That goal from Baldock though #readingfc— Jacob Potter (@pott95) November 2, 2019
Baldock impressing massively today. Regaining possession a lot. Took his goal very well. Him and Puscas looking good together again #readingfc— Max Howard (@MaxHoward_15) November 2, 2019
In the second half as Millwall started to pump more and more balls into the Reading box and piled on the pressure, Reading had to show a side to them that we as fans haven’t seen very often for a very long time - the ability to win ugly.
Every long ball that came into the box was challenged by a Reading defender - more often than not that defender was Miazga who was fantastic all game, along with Morrison.
As previously mentioned, Reading also had to battle on without their captain as Liam Moore couldn’t quite play through the pain of his shoulder after a few nasty falls, which made the result even more impressive - we just need to hope that Moore isn’t too badly injured!
The fans were loving the defensive performance in the second half, and understandably so. Sometimes these kinds of wins are even more satisfying than 3 or 4-0 wins...
under Bowen we have now:— Dave Stevens (@shakefon) November 2, 2019
1. Won when dominant but frustrated by opposition,playing til the end (Preston)
2.Kept fighting after conceding to draw level twice in a tough away game (QPR)
3.Held on to preserve a lead after a setback and strong pressure (Millwall)
That turned into the type of game it really shouldn't of from how we controlled it up till their goal. In the end it was a pure battle but we gave as good as we got and showed a lot of fight and determination. A game in the past where we could have crumbled, big result #readingfc— Tom Maynard (@ttmaynard) November 2, 2019
Huge win!! Quality goals from baldock and obita, also fantastic fight from the team to see out the win under massive pressure 2nd half. URRRRZZZZ!! #readingfc— Dan (@DanTheMan__98) November 2, 2019
Fantastic first half performance but not so good in the second. Thought we crumbled defensively when Moore came off but luckily we still managed to hold on. Really impressed with the fight from the players and the amount of second balls won. #readingfc— Harrison Mitchell (@harrison1871rfc) November 2, 2019
Mentality has definitely improved— Lochlan King (@lwpk_king) November 2, 2019
Get in! What a fantastic win. Great to hold on to a lead after conceding in second half, not sure that would've happened a month ago #readingfc— Luke Tizzard (@luke_tizzard) November 2, 2019
We don't do comfortable home wins (2 in 2 years) but at the end of the day who cares if we keep churning out 3 points #readingfc— Parking the Bus (@Parking_the_Bus) November 2, 2019
A very, very good first 45 which we dominated and then a dogged defensive display to keep the Lions at bay in the second half - the best of both worlds.
It was a huge win and you could feel the emotion around the stadium when the final whistle went.
Next up is Luton Town at the Mad Stad, another winnable game - but that word is a very dangerous word in the Championship. If we can play how we did in the first half across the whole 90, there is no reason we can’t get a result.