Reading travelled to Oakwell on a horrible evening and on the back of some indifferent form. Following on from Saturday where Reading were a little off the races, it was the perfect game to reboot our winning run, but some shocking play out from the back gave Barnsley the leg up that they needed.
Barnsley by any stretch of the imagination haven’t had a good return to the Championship and already look like relegation certainties. The problem is that Reading appear to be in the same boat.
The Barnsley fans on Twitter are certainly a) quiet and b) resigned to their fate, and the general opinion of their team on social media isn’t one of optimism or happiness. This is closely being matched by the Reading fans.
Unlucky Reds. @BarnsleyFC only team trying to play football for most of it and should have been out of sight at half time. @ReadingFC one of the worst down here and have absolutely burgled a point #barnsleyfc #YouReds— Nick Pleasant (@NickPleasant1) December 11, 2019
Managers coming in for stick on both sides
Managers had a shocker tonight. 3 left backs at club, brings worst right sided player in league on. Woeful up front, leaves 3 forwards sat on bench. Incapable of making subs before 85th min, and hes happy.. absolute joke, we were awful. #barnsleyfc— reece hardy (@HardyReece) December 11, 2019
Quality is permanent!
#barnsleyfc Charlie Adam 34yr old, looks like he should be playing darts, running the Midfield with some exquisite passing. EXPERIENCE!!!!— Craig Ollerton (@CraigOllerton) December 11, 2019
This is bloody awful
#readingfc just out barnsleyd #barnsleyfc https://t.co/XwxUvDxiHk— connor dennis (@chiparoo1994) December 11, 2019
Sorry have to agree!
This could genuinely be one of the worst halves in the history of this division #readingfc #barnsleyfc— Brett Punnett (@BrettPunnett) December 11, 2019
Well got the draw right
It's pretty chilly here in South Yorkshire - my old bones are feeling the cold a bit but I've a good feeling about this match - I reckon a 0-0 could be on the cards here. #barnsleyfc #readingfc #BARREA— Old Man Relegation (@Relegation_Man) December 11, 2019
Ha wasn’t as bad the goal we conceded!
No need to concede the corner in the first place, then we go and defend it like that! 6 new defenders for Christmas please! #barnsleyfc— Kieran Bestall (@Ramone78) December 11, 2019
One of the lonely tweets supporting Barnsley!
For what it’s worth. Absolutely don’t understand folk getting stuck in to the players though, esp Woodrow. Clearly all putting the effort in and trying to win. Get behind them #barnsleyfc #reds #bfc— Nick Pleasant (@NickPleasant1) December 11, 2019
I have been doing this column for a number of years now, and this is by far one of the worst games for media coverage. This won’t be a long part of this column!
Starting with Sky Sports and the telling quote from them is that Reading’s attack was “limited” - says it all really. They also have video coverage of the game and this week’s delight is 1.43 long. Basically it’s a video highlighting some of the worst defending from both sides that you will see! If you don’t like Sky, then FourFourTwo have virtually the same article!
Following that up we have the offering from The Yorkshire Evening Post who firstly have the match report here, and secondly carry a piece from manager Gerhard Struber in which he is rightly livid with his team’s defending for the Reading goal. The report starts by reckoning that the game started off like a pre-season friendly - they go on to say that Barnsley missed a host of chances to take the game beyond Reading.
Berkshire Live focuses on the fans’ reaction after the game, with the supporters certainly not happy with the performance at Oakwell. They also carry an interview with the manager, who seems to try and defend the indefensible by suggesting that we should be playing out from the back, even though we have conceded many goals over the last 18 months with this style.
Finally the BBC who carry the one of the most positive articles for a while, saying that Lucas Joao rescued a point. They reckon it was an entertaining game. It goes to show that the BBC really just make up reports.
I don’t know where to start. I said in this column (well jinxed) that Reading were entering a phase of the season when we had winnable games against teams in the lower half of the league. The problem with that was that I actually expected us to turn up and play!
Injuries are part of football and how you cope is part and parcel of the sport. However, losing key players over the last few weeks certainly hasn’t helped - but also neither has changing the formation halfway through games. Bowen seems to start off favouring his 5-3-2 formation (or version of) but changes through games to be 4-4-2 or 4-3-3. For me these seem to be knee-jerk reactions and, while sometimes they work, it does seem to be that Bowen is suffering the same problem as Gomes with not knowing his preferred formation.
Special mention has to go to Charlie Adam - pretty much seen as a bit-part player, against Birmingham City he made a huge difference and against Barnsley on The Tilehurst End poll he stormed the man-of-the-match award. Maybe getting 90 minutes out of him regularly is a tricky proposition, but there is no doubting that when he’s on song he’s one of the finest passing players in this league.
Stoke City on Saturday is massive. John Swift maybe back, but losing Andy Yiadom blunts our attacking threat. George Puscas seems to be out for a few weeks and actually this might be a blessing for him to recover his form and regain his composure a little.
If we were not in a relegation battle before, I don’t think there’s a doubt that we are now. Saying that, a run of form moves you up the table, but that’s the same every season as the Championship is probably the most competitive leagues in the world. Just for once Reading, would it be too much to ask for mid-table obscurity?