It’s not often I come away from a football match and feel content even though we haven’t won. Middlesbrough is a fair trek, even from Shropshire, so usually that drive home would feel even longer with the wrong result.
However, I’d say Saturday was the first time I’ve actually enjoyed an entire matchday. I know we lost, but however weird it sounds I don’t think the result was the most important thing at the weekend.
Yes the performance was far from perfect, but there were a lot of positives to take from it. Andy Rinomhota had another solid performance and is looking to finish an impressive season. I’m excited to see what influence he can have on the team next season.
Liam Moore and Matt Miazga have formed a seriously effective partnership at the back. It seems unlikely we’ll be able to keep the Chelsea man permanently, but the performances he’s put in for us this season have been vital to our survival.
It was great to be able to give a few of the younger players some game time in a league match. I think that Danny Loader had his best game for the senior team, and his stunning first half goal was fully deserved. Josh Barrett and Michael Olise also got into some decent positions and hopefully the extra minutes will give them some more confidence.
I think our second half performance was strong. We looked like the team desperate to push for a top six finish, not Middlesbrough. We were struggling in the final third, and had Meite and Barrow been fit, I think we may have come closer to scoring another.
It was great to see the players with the fans at full time waiting for the Rotherham result to be confirmed. You could really see what it meant to them, and it felt like they had the same relief as the fans.
I had a proper sense of pride at the end of the game. I haven’t had that feeling for a long time. I tweeted on 19th September:
”What ever happened to the #readingfc way? What a shambles of a club, from top to bottom. I’m not gutted about the results, I can deal with losing. I’m gutted our club is a complete shell of what it was. We were never huge, but we were something to be so proud of. I miss that.”
I never expected to get the Reading Football Club we know and love back so quickly.
Jose Gomes has pulled off a miracle. It’s hard to believe this is the team that was five points off safety on January 1. He’s achieved his target, to keep Reading in the Championship. But he’s given us something to be proud of again. So thank you, Jose. You’re pretty ace.