After the disappointment of conceding so late against Bolton Wanderers last Tuesday, it was vital that the Royals didn’t let that affect them going into the Villa game. It was another decent performance from Gomes’ men, especially towards the end of the first half where Oliveira and Miazga came desperately close to giving Reading a half-time lead.
The better of the chances throughout the game fell to Villa and Tammy Abraham, but the in-form former England U21 International couldn’t find a way past Emiliano Martinez - who was terrific all afternoon. It was another step in the right direction against a good team who have quality all over the park. Obviously, it’s results over performances that we need at the moment, but the results aren’t far away.
There were as ever some big talking points to come out of the game that had all the fans talking on social media after the game...
We have become used to silly individual mistakes letting us down this season and costing us games, but Saturday proved just how much Gomes has improved us at the back. He has been applauded for the fast, possession-based game that he’s got us playing with but even more impressive is how he has organised and strengthened our defence.
Martinez, Miazga and Blackett in particular all stood out, but it was a fantastic performance all round from the back four and keeper against a very strong attacking team. Understandably so, the fans were certainly impressed with the clean sheet and the overall defensive performance on Twitter after the game...
Miazga was quality today. Him and Moore could be a great pairing. Worrying if one gets injured though #readingfc— Joel Shelton (@joel_shelton) February 2, 2019
That save from Martinez was probably one of the best saves I've seen live. Sensational stop #ReadingFC— Jack (@thesimpsonRFC) February 2, 2019
Decent point to take, think we would all have taken a draw at 3pm. Villa were a strong side and we matched them. Really good clean sheet from the defence, Yiadom and Blackett especially. Got to build on this. #readingfc— Tom Mitchell (@Tom_1871) February 2, 2019
That’s the best I’ve seen our defence play for 2 seasons , Moore looks a different player with a strong centre half next to him and the keeper is different class #Readingfc— hotroyal (@andy62087003) February 2, 2019
The Liverpool loanee arrived to the Madejski with a view critics from previous stints at Rangers and Sunderland. However, he certainly put in an impressive performance on Saturday. He constantly caused Villa problems drifting in from the left hand side and linked up really well with Swift and Baker in the first half.
He’s a player with seriously quick feet and a creative spark that the Royals have been lacking for so long - he also put in a decent defensive shift for the team as well. As so often this season, the killer touch was missing once again but if the likes of Ejaria can start getting on the ball more and more, the chances - and hopefully goals - will begin to flow.
The fans were certainly impressed with the former Sunderland man, taking to Twitter after the game to show their delight at his performance...
Fantastic feet from Ejaria today. Really impressive. Not sure he belongs out wide as he’s not the quickest down the line, but he cut inside smartly and drifted into some great midfield positions. Put in a real shift defensively too. #ReadingFC pic.twitter.com/NCcGfChgUD— Jonnie Harris (@jonnieharris99) February 2, 2019
Good shift from the lads again today. Ejaria particularly impressive. #readingfc— Rob Molloy (@Dobcheck73) February 2, 2019
What I like about Ejaria is that he quietly goes about his business during much of the game but then pops up at precisely the right moment to do something important. If he continues like this, he could be an absolute gem of a find. #readingfc— Tim Patten (@TimRobinPatten) February 3, 2019
Great performance from Ovie Ejaria today, deserved his man of the match #readingfc— Alex Stone (@_alexgstone) February 2, 2019
The Nelson Oliveira injury
Right, down to the incident that has really got everyone talking, did Mings mean it or was it accidental? After a horrific picture of Oliveira’s injury and the clip of the incident were shared on Twitter, it’s pretty clear to see the damage that Mings’ boot caused to the face of Oliveira.
In all seriousness, a couple of centimetres lower and the on-loan Norwich striker could’ve lost his eye. It’s an awful stamp that the more you see it, the more you feel Mings could’ve easily got out of the way. Hopefully it doesn’t keep Oliveira out the team for too long as we need him desperately at the moment, and we will wait to see whether Mings will face any retrospective action.
The fans took to Twitter to show both their disgust at the challenge, and wish the Nelson a speedy recovery - and quite rightly so...
That was entirely an accident from Mings, but he has completely stepped on Oliveira's face. Not great...#readingfc— Keir Tomlin (@Keir_Tomlin) February 2, 2019
Just seen the appalling stamp on the face that Mings did on Oliveira. If he doesn’t get a retrospective 3 match ban for that it’s a disgrace. #readingfc— Andy W (@Lazy_sunbather_) February 2, 2019
Was undecided on whether Mings meant the Oliveira stamp watching it live. Watching it back I think it could easily have been avoided and their was intent. Seems neutral fans also agree which says a lot! #readingfc— Andy Sharp (@sharp_andy) February 3, 2019
Regardless of whether Mings' stamp was deliberate or not, the argument made by Villa fans that the fact that "he immediately called for help" and apparently apologised to Oliveria suggests that it was an accident, is frankly nonsense logic. #readingfc— Gordon Hawkes (@GordonDJHawkes) February 3, 2019
Seen it plenty of times and not having that stamp being an accident. Mings is looking down towards Nelson’s face as his foot lands. Disgusting, avoidable and, from seeing the picture of his face, Nelson will almost certainly have scars for the rest of his life. #readingfc— Tom Light (@tomlight93) February 2, 2019
Regardless of history I did think Mings 'incident' with Oliveira was completely accidental. Called for play to be stopped straight away, seemed quite shaken, and apologised a lot. Watching it in slow motion on loop is not what it looked like in real time. #readingfc— Matthew Williamson (@Photomattic) February 2, 2019
Another baby step towards recovery for Reading. If they can just get it clicking in the final third, the results will begin to come in as everything up to the 18 yard box is looking very, very strong. Another tough game awaits at Hillsborough next weekend, but the team will be confident after a decent performance.