The Reading fans travelled the short journey to Wycombe more in expectation than hope, but the Royals only just managed to scrape through to the second round on penalties - with debutant keeper Rafael the hero.
The 2,000-strong away following witnessed a brilliant start from their team as Lucas Boye came close twice and George Puscas missed a huge chance to open his Reading account - all within the opening 20 minutes.
Wycombe gradually began to grow into the game and it was the hosts who took the lead in the second half, before George Puscas did grab his first goal in the blue and white hoops to draw Reading level.
Jose Gomes’ men ended up winning the tie on penalties - but it’s evident that a lot more work is needed to be done before Cardiff come to town at Sunday lunchtime. The fans had a lot of things to say at full time, including some thoughts on a couple of stand out individual performances...
Tuesday night saw the return of Ovie Ejaria to a Reading starting lineup, and boy have we missed him. Just from his 80 minutes on the pitch, you could see that he offers something that we need - he’s unbelievably calm on the ball and never seems to lose possession.
He fits perfectly into how Gomes wants to play; the only thing the Portuguese will have on his mind now is how to fit Ovie, John Swift and Andy Rinomhota into the same midfield - because they all need to start.
The Loyal Royals certainly loved his performance, as the former Liverpool man showed a glimpse of what he can offer to this Reading team - just as we saw last season. The fans showed their love for Ovie on Twitter after the game...
Swift and Ejaria a class above the rest. Puscas great hold up play. Adam = fan favourite. Great for Danny to score winning pen. Rafael #readingfc— Jacob (@HawleyJaco) August 13, 2019
Was in with the home fans this evening. Shame we couldn’t be more commanding but Wycombe put up a good fight. It’s a joy to watch Ejaria and McIntyre in a Reading shirt. Rafael already achieved cult hero status? Fitting that Loader slotted home winning pen. #readingfc pic.twitter.com/zvef490Vzd— Ewan Sparrow (@ewan_sparrow) August 13, 2019
Positives —— Alex (@royalcrisp) August 13, 2019
- Rafael is The Goalkeeper. And his chant is great.
- Ejaria still great.
- McIntyre is becoming a player.
- Puscas, though rusty with chances, is a menace.
- Swift still in good form. #readingfc
In the main, a decent half from #readingfc but chances have gone begging. Ejaria immense on his return to the club, Adam spraying the passes— thetwounfortunates (@twounfortunates) August 13, 2019
#readingfc Boye had a bright 1st half, shame he got snapped just before HT.— Persandwichman (@persandwichman) August 13, 2019
Puscas very impressive, on another night with his eye in, he’d have got a hat trick
Morrison played well, great addition to the squad.
Great to see Ejaria back in blue & white top performance
It’s fair to say that Joao Virginia hasn’t had the strongest of starts to his loan spell from Everton - and Rafael has certainly put even more pressure on that number one shirt with his performance against Wycombe.
He was commanding, produced some very good saves and, of course was the penalty shootout hero, saving two of Wycombe’s four spot kicks. I have a feeling it won’t be too long until we see Rafael starting more and more games.
He has immediately become a fans’ favourite, with 2,000 supporters chanting his name consistently throughout the penalty shootout. The fans took the love they showed during the game straight to social media after the game - and rightly so...
Rafael has to start next game calm and assured #readingfc— Johnny Hunt (@Huntyroyal) August 13, 2019
Rafael - love him already. Nice to have a keeper trying to play mind games and following it up with 2 saves and almost a 3rd. Nice welcome from the fans as well #readingfc— Max Howard (@MaxHoward_15) August 13, 2019
Rafael pulling off the Jerzy Dudek and saving 2. Absolutely love to see it #readingfc— Alex Stone (@_alexgstone) August 13, 2019
The other big talking point that had the fans talking on Tuesday night was... themselves. Although it is the shortest possible journey for most Reading fans, it was a great turnout from the Loyal Royals nonetheless.
They backed the team from start to end, even when Wycombe went ahead. Let’s just hope this is a sign of things to come and our away followings really start picking up to help this team reach their potential.
A particularly impressive moment was in-between full time and the shootout when, for some reason, Wycombe decided to blast Sweet Caroline over the tannoy - a song the Loyal Royal’s know only too well...
It was a great away day for the fans - I for one just hope that we take that kind of support into the league, as do many others. The fans were also quick to point out that the relationship between the club and the fans hasn’t been this strong in a very long time - and it’s only going to get stronger...
Was class from the #readingfc fans chanting for Loader after last week. Well played.— Johnny Fentoozler (@JFentoozler) August 13, 2019
Was a good game, I had to sit with the Wycombe fans but the noise from the #readingfc fans was amazing.— Matt Glaysher (@GlaysherMatt) August 14, 2019
I think it was more the teams relationship with the fans last night. It really has grown back because 18 months ago it was non existent. #readingfc— cameron macken (@ronniemac93) August 14, 2019
Think the fans deserve a massive shout out tonight was quality from start to finish if only we could take that support to every away game #readingfc— Dave McCormack (@davemc_exile) August 13, 2019
A dodgy performance, but a win’s a win at the end of the day - and it just helps build that optimism and excitement over what is to come in the coming weeks and months.
I cannot wait to see what this team can do what they finally hit full swing, it could be pretty special. Continue to give them all time, and have patience and we will start seeing the rewards.