After a controversy-filled week due to the reaction to the Nelson Oliveira and Tyrone Mings incident last weekend, it was back to the football on Saturday afternoon as the Royals travelled to Sheffield Wednesday. All in all it was a pretty scrappy game, with the conditions having a negative effect on any plans to get the ball on the deck and play some decent football.
Reading had Emiliano Martinez to thank yet again as big saves throughout the game - especially from Sam Hutchinson at the end of the first half - kept the hosts at bay. The Royals’ best chances fell to Modou Barrow and John Swift but, as ever, the finishing touch was never quite right. Without Oliveira in the team, there was no out and out finisher - and it showed.
You can’t argue with the fact that Gomes has made us a much harder team to beat, but impressive defensive performances needs to be backed up with ruthlessness up top. Here’s how the fans reacted on social media after the game to some of the key talking points...
Another clean sheet
It’s no coincidence that the introduction of Emiliano Martinez and Matt Miazga has seen us keep back-to-back clean sheets for the first time since November 2017. Yes, it’s been that long. The two Premier League loanees have tightened a defence that was conceding awful goals at will earlier in the season, and long may their influence continue.
Liam Moore has also benefited from the two new defensive arrivals, with the skipper going through his best patch of the season and looking more like the player he was last campaign. The fans were rightly impressed with another rock solid performance by the back five...
Another clean sheet, another point. Obviously lots to work on but we’re grinding out some results #readingfc— Wimby (@Wimby) February 10, 2019
Two clean sheets, same back 5.— Scott from the States (@American_Royals) February 9, 2019
Blackett Moore Miazga Yiadom
That's it. Never, ever change it. #ReadingFC
Good point away from home, another clean sheet, roll on Blackburn #ReadingFC— Ben Greenwood (@benjaminGfilms) February 9, 2019
Would've taken a draw at the start. Good to get a clean sheet away from home #readingfc— Razak Malik (@razzy9) February 9, 2019
Another blank in front of goal
We certainly had chances to score on Saturday afternoon, but it was another frustrating afternoon in front of goal. Barrow, Lewis Baker and Swift all had great openings to get on the scoresheet, but failed to capitalise. The absence of Oliveira was clear to see, and we may well have come away with three points if he were on the end of some of those chances.
In the grand scheme of things, a point and clean sheet away from home is a good return from a trip to Hillsborough, but Reading will need to start finishing these kind of chances sooner rather than later. It was a bit of cause for concern among the fans after the game, who obviously don’t want to this trend of missing chances to continue...
Would of taken a point before today’s game. Need to start scoring goals and picking up home wins starting with Blackburn on Wednesday #ReadingFC— Josh Penny (@penny_joshua) February 9, 2019
6 goals in 11 games.— Daniel Holloway (@RFCdan) February 9, 2019
41 shots in our last 3 games, 1 goal scored.. and that was a penalty.
It's all well and good not letting in goals, but if we can't score then we won't win games. Draws aren't good enough anymore at this late stage.#ReadingFC @BBCBerkshire
Really annoying that it’s definitely goals, not clean sheets, that keep you up. #readingfc— MGreg Double (@Dubstep1988) February 9, 2019
Really important we start scoring goals soon, defensively we are better but can’t keep drawing, must win on Wednesday, Nelson should be back? URRZZ #readingfc— George Blair (@GeorgeBlairr) February 9, 2019
I have already mentioned the plaudits that another clean sheet got from the fans after the game, but this man deserves special recognition. Desperately unlucky not to keep a clean sheet on his debut, he has gone and backed that up with two on the bounce where he’s made some outstanding saves.
What a signing he’s been. More than comfortable with the ball at his feet and a fantastic shot stopper, he could be the difference between us staying up and going down. He is definitely already a fans favourite, and the love just keeps pouring in for the on loan Arsenal man...
Martinez is a revelation. Feel so comfortable with him in goal. With Miazga makes defence look much more balanced than with Ilori - don't constantly feel like a goal is inevitable anymore.— Matheus de Andrade (@maffff) February 9, 2019
Doesn't feel like we'll ever score again though either.. Need Nelson back ASAP #ReadingFC
Martinez has kept us in this with two great saves so far #ReadingFC— Alex Everson (@Readingfanman) February 9, 2019
If the club aren't currently calling Arsenal on a daily basis offering all the money they have for Emi Martinez could they please start? Cheers. #readingfc— Nath St Paul (@NathStPaul) February 9, 2019
What a save Martinez #readingfc— Sam Devaney (@SamDevaney_) February 9, 2019
An important point away from home, but it puts big pressure on the upcoming home games where we need the three points. However, the way Gomes has got them playing gives me confidence that we’ll get the right results at the right time.