This was the one. The game of our season so far, and the first of three games that will surely go a long way to defining the outcome of our season. It all started so well as a wonderful team move was expertly finished off by Ovie Ejaria midway through the first half - a goal that a team sat in 21st place in the Championship really don’t have any right to score.
Jose Gomes would’ve been having dreams of that goal on Friday night, but will also now be having nightmares about that second-half performance. Everyone knows Rotherham’s game plan and style of playing, but we invited them to do it in the second half on Saturday.
Eventually, we were punished for our poor game management, and Rotherham snatched a point late on. Although we are still in 21st and it’s still technically in our hands, Saturday was a huge two points dropped.
Here’s how the fans reacted to some of the key talking points to come out of Saturday’s game, of which there were many...
Ovie Ejaria’s goal
Let’s start off with the big positive - Ejaria’s goal. What a goal it was, and it was one for all the fans who bang on about how this kind of football won’t get us out of the relegation scrap. It will if it’s done the right way.
In the end it was all in vein as it wasn’t the winning goal it deserved to be. But, if we can begin to play like that consistently and staying calm under the high press, we will begin to see more and more goals like Ejaria’s.
The fans were certainly impressed, and quite rightly so...
That team goal is the real Reading. Reading at its best. #readingfc— Readingfc Reports (@readingfc__) February 24, 2019
Everyone saying yesterday was all Gomes fault. It’s Gomes who scored this goal, won’t find this under any managers in the bottom 20 #readingfc https://t.co/Yn3lQHsuyR— Eddie (@EddieRFC7) February 24, 2019
Just seen our first goal. Wow. Superb team goal. #readingfc— JDM (@RFC_Smurf93) February 24, 2019
I didn’t realise at the time, but that is a goal most Prem teams would be happy with. #readingfc https://t.co/8uunMaWuoI— Micah (@ME14Ding) February 24, 2019
Tactical mistakes from Gomes?
There isn’t a lot that Gomes has done wrong since he arrived in Berkshire, but some of his tactical decisions did raise a few eyebrows on Saturday. None more so than the decision to bring John O’Shea on and put him in centre midfield.
It was a decision that has been criticised heavily by the fans on social media. One thing I do agree with is that Modou Barrow and Callum Harriott should’ve come on much earlier, but hindsight truly is a wonderful thing.Gomes may be regretting some of his tactical decisions now as Rotherham were there for the taking if we could just step it up another level.
As I said, Gomes came under some heavy criticism after the game, wrongly or rightly...
Gomes has to take a huge part of the blame there. Bringing O’Shea on was a ludicrous decision. #readingfc— Jacob Potter (@pott95) February 23, 2019
Still can’t understand why Gomes brought on John O’Shea instead of the obvious choice of Barrow or Harriot. O’Shea is the player you bring on in the 88th minute when you’re 3-0 up #ReadingFC— Joanne McMahon (@Joday32) February 23, 2019
I like Gomes but he was totally negligent in the 2nd half. I am lost for words. #readingfc— Nath St Paul (@NathStPaul) February 23, 2019
More missed chances
We should’ve beat Rotherham, no doubt about it. Whether we deserved to or not is a different question, but with the chances we had we should’ve got the three points.
Oliveira and Barrow were the main ones guilty, missing two massive chances in the last five minutes - especially the Norwich loanee. Nelson was off the pace for the whole game, and that miss really summed up his poor afternoon.
Chances like these you need to take and need to score to stay up, it’s as simple as that. We are desperately running out of time now, and those chances may well come back to haunt us.
Yet again, this angered the fans on twitter after the game, and some were even left in disbelief...
I think it's typical of #readingfc fans to blame one sub for us "losing" today. It shows just how fragile and weak we are if that truly is the case. Never mind Oliviera completely missing an open goal, and chance after chance to shoot and yet again they just pass.— gary (@garyhooks) February 23, 2019
IMO it wasn’t the introduction of O’Shea that cost us two points. Once again it was our players failing to convert numerous good chances. Always wanting another touch or looking to pass rather than shoot. Still can’t believe Barrow failed to score once past the keeper. #readingfc— Andy Charman #FBPE (@AndyRFCCharman) February 23, 2019
Mo Barrow managed to round the keeper, see an open goal, then pass it back to the keeper. He really is toilet. #readingfc— WILL TROW VEVO (@devon1sh) February 23, 2019
How am I supposed to explain to my kids that Nelson Oliveira missed from here back in 2019. #Readingfc pic.twitter.com/xVlaEAnayr— Holty (@HoltyDing) February 23, 2019
A pretty depressing afternoon really, and the next two games are make or break. We have to begin winning against the teams in and around us or else we’re not going to stay up.
Get down to Ipswich in your numbers, because the players need us more than ever now.