Reading went into the last Saturday game of 2019 in hardly decent form. Derby County themselves haven’t been setting the world alight with questions about Phillip Cocu, formations, recruitment etc - the same old issues that every fan questions their club about.
So in reality what happened in that game was typically out of fashion with both clubs. Yakou Meite being set free in the fourth minute left the covering Rams defence for dead, Scott Malone literally pushed over the Ivorian and a spot kick ensued. The unfortunate Malone was also shown the red card and from that moment the result shouldn’t have been in doubt.
However, to their credit, Derby kept having a go at the Royals’ defence, and it wouldn’t be out of place to say that Reading going into half time with the lead was fortunate. The second half saw some changes and more importantly John Swift coming back into the team. This seemed to spur Reading on and it wasn’t too long before Swift put a delightful ball into the box for Lucas Joao to turn home. Towards the end of the game another breakaway led to another penalty and this time Meite got the goal his game deserved and buried the spot kick.
There’s no doubt that at times Reading rode their luck and the referee in particular came in for some heavy criticism from the Derby faithful. For once it did seem that we had a referee on our side!
The Rams fans understandably hammered the ref, along with their own team and the manager. It seems that Derby is a less happy camp than Reading is these days.
Controversial but interesting viewpoint!
Still maintain that Frank Lampard shoulders some of the blame for how this season has gone. Poor signings hidden by 3 fantastic loans and now we are paying the price for that. Took too long to leave. Cocu didn’t have a full transfer window, so he could get his ‘dream’ move #dcfc— Greg Ford (@gregford4) December 22, 2019
We give the ball away then Malone pushes him over for the first. We give the ball away and they score a tap in for the second. We give the ball away and Forsyth takes him down for the third. #dcfc— Danny Cutting (@dannycutting97) December 22, 2019
There’s a running theme here...
He got the ball?
You’ll be waiting a long time
Dubious penalty against us. 10 men. Denied a stonewall pen and hit the woodwork twice. Also playing Reading off the park. Losing 2-0.— Andrew (@sim__and) December 21, 2019
Absolutely hurting but hopefully fans see the positives ☹️ #dcfc
Apart from Adam pulled his leg back and he fell over fresh air...
Annual tweet as the song goes - we’ve got the record...
The usual suspects are out in force, starting with the BBC, who say that in reality Reading earned the victory and were actually comfortable for most of it. I’m not convinced but hey.
FourFourTwo have a lengthy article with Derby manager Cocu defending his players and the seven yellows and one red that they got. He called it “provocation” from Reading after his team went 2-0 down. Professional players eh!
Following on from this we have an interesting article in GetReading with columnist Russell Kempson agreeing with Cocu, taking umbridge with Reading’s performance and showboating. There is a part of me that says that taking the proverbial out of the opposition isn’t great, but how many times has that happened to us? I do think this article is a little extreme and is bordering on farcical, especially from a ‘home’ news outlet. Still, each to their own view.
The Derby News takes a different track on the game, with Craig Forsyth taking the brunt of the criticism from the fans, with question marks being asked about the whole of Derby’s backline.
Sky Sports have a similar verdict to the BBC, calling it a sorry display from Derby and a continuation of their dreadful away form. They also have 1.58 of highlights which includes three goals, a couple of rebounds off the post and some shocking defending.
We needed that. The last few games haven’t been great and I will take a win whatever the way it comes. Ok so were we spectacular on Saturday? No. Were we efficient? Probably not. What we were however was lucky. Some ask if you want to be a good team or a lucky team - the difference being I suppose that lucky teams get the rub more often than good teams.
I still wasn’t overly convinced with Mark Bowen’s team selection or formation, so this result definitely falls into the lucky category. I’m not sure if it’s down to injuries or something else but it does seem that Bowen isn’t truly convinced what his side is, and this is starting to get mildly alarming. Saying that he does have a decent track record at Reading so far, so maybe we have to give him the benefit of the doubt. January will be interesting - if Bowen has funds to spend and depending on what he does with them.
We have the annual Sky game of QPR at home on Boxing Day followed up by Preston North End and Fulham. These games can go a number of ways, so second guessing teams or results will be tricky. In a nutshell I suppose that’s the point I am making in that there is little if any consistency within the team and this alone is rather worrying.
I am still praying for mid-table obscurity but am resigned to the fact that this will be a season of bumps - I suppose it’s the endless role of being a Reading fan!
Merry Christmas one and all!