A miserable afternoon in Stoke on Trent produced a pretty miserable game, as neither Stoke nor Reading were able to play the football they would’ve liked to. Both teams threatened at stages - probably more so the home team - but it was the two sets of defences who prevailed.
Tom Ince and Sam Vokes both hit the woodwork early on for the Potters, while Garath McCleary and Modou Barrow both missed golden opportunities for Reading in the second half. So, all in all, a draw was probably the fair result.
The important thing is that we’re still hovering above the relegation zone, and it’s another clean sheet as we continue to be a much harder team to beat under Jose Gomes. Of course, there were some talking points that got the fans talking on social media after the game...
First start for Michael Olise
One big positive under Gomes - among many - has been his faith in the academy players, and it was the same again on Saturday as Michael Olise was given his first start after coming off the bench against Leeds midweek.
There is nothing the fans like to see more than an academy product coming through the ranks and making a name for themselves in the first team - just ask Andy Rinomhota.
Obviously, they have to be good enough, but we have a good academy system that will produce good players. They just have to have trust put in them, and that’s exactly what Gomes is doing. It was a great moment for the 17-year-old, and hopefully he has many more appearances to come in a Reading shirt...
He did very well— Cam Baker (@cambaker96) March 16, 2019
If Olise carries on he could be the next big thing since Gylfi. Another decent performance from the youngster #readingfc— JDM (@RFC_Smurf93) March 17, 2019
Another clean sheet
There is no doubt that we are a much, much harder to team to beat under Gomes. Liam Moore and Matt Miazga have formed a very important partnership, and they were both brilliant again on Saturday.
With the wonderful Martinez in goal behind them, and Andy Yiadom and Tyler Blackett now the first choice full-backs, we have found consistency at a very key point in the season.
The conditions on Saturday would’ve made it hard for any defence, but the Reading back four dealt with the wind and rain brilliantly. Credit has to go to Gomes as well, as we have now kept as many clean sheets under him as we did during Clement’s entire reign as manager - five.
The fans were certainly impressed with the defensive performance, and quite rightly so...
That’s a good point and a clean sheet. I’ll take that #readingfc— Ashley (@Ashley_Holloway) March 16, 2019
Clement’s last ten games~ 9 points. 4 losses, 1 clean sheet and 0.9 points per game. This was also he’s better half of the season.— Eddie (@EddieRFC7) March 16, 2019
Gomes’s last ten games~ 14 points. 2 losses, 3 clean sheets and 1.4 points per game. #readingfc pic.twitter.com/DO1loKI2da
Oliveira etc aside, draw and clean sheet today is decent. Not so long ago we’d probably have lost #readingfc— Rich (@richiec87) March 16, 2019
Baker getting better and better each game. Solid performance in the middle. Moore a standout too today #readingfc— Ben Turner (@benturrrner) March 16, 2019
Clean sheet, point gained. Happy days. Hopefully some players back fit after international break and go again. #readingfc— P_GMedia (@P_GMedia) March 16, 2019
Oliveira injury blow
Everyone at the game was probably solely focused on getting out of Stoke and back home after a scrappy game, and miserable weather conditions - until Jose Gomes underwent his post-match media duties and dropped a huge bombshell.
Nelson Oliveira could be out for the rest of the season. That is seriously a huge blow to our chances at staying up.
The Portuguese striker added quality to our team that we haven’t had in a very long time. He’s going to be a massive miss, and huge responsibility how rests on Yakou Meite and Danny Loader who will be the ones given the task of filling the void.
It was news that has seriously worried the Reading faithful, and understandably so. It really has raised the question, where are the goals going to come from?
Up to 10 weeks on the sideline for Oliveira! HUGE blow for our survival hopes #readingfc— Ben (@BenParsons89) March 16, 2019
Oliveira out for rest of the season! That’s awful news! Can’t rush hammys either! #readingfc— Jordan Norris (@Jordannorr1s) March 16, 2019
Oliveira out for the season and #readingfc can’t hit a barn door. Brilliant!!!!!!— Ian Kirkpatrick (@iankirkpatrick_) March 16, 2019
A solid point and an important clean sheet, but really gutting news regarding Oliveira. He is going to be a massive loss. We also need Rinomhota back as soon as possible as well, as we are a much better team with him in the side.
Rest up in the next two weeks, and get down the Mad Stad to back the boys against Preston North End on the 30th.