Reading followed up the Cardiff City game with a trip to another side fancied for promotion in West Brom. The #Baggies are another team that has heavily recruited in the summer, and the expectations are high.
After last season’s mauling at the Hawthorns and #ReadingFC’s record there, the Royals faithful could have approached this with trepidation, but the display put in by the team and in particular the three centre backs was a marvel to behold. They were a wall that, for 87 minutes, kept a spirited and energetic Baggies team at arm’s length.
The home fans were surprisingly complementary towards Reading’s performance on the whole, which is actually refreshing to see. However, as always the standard of refereeing was called into question, and the usual “if we can’t beat Reading at home...” does appear.
If you can't beat reading at home— Patrick (@thevillaaa) August 22, 2019
Wow I hope so!
Well they’re ambitious...
Really... maybe if they didn’t go down for a pen all the time they might get a shot on target!
Yesterday...My 2nd visit to The Hawthorns...#WBA 1 Reading 1 Enjoyable match. If Albion played with the speed and skill for the whole game as in the last 5 minutes it could have been 4 - 0 pic.twitter.com/1IWFrBjHkB— John Sheffield (@john_wednesbury) August 22, 2019
Stevie Wonder would of seen that furlong penalty yesterday, joke refereeing #wba— Josh Osborne (@WbaOsborne) August 22, 2019
You wanna see some of the ones we have had!
I shouldn't need to say this, but all football fans are entitled to their opinion. If they want to moan, they can moan. If they want to look for positives, then they can.— Bomber's Boots (@BombersBoots) August 22, 2019
I found last night's game incredibly frustrating, mainly due to the incompetent ref... #WBA
Think more credit needs to be given to Reading last night, they came with a plan, stuck to it, caused us plenty of issues at the back. Austin definitely off the pace & should've scored but it will come. Big Ken looked sharp & we looked better once he came on, goal huge boost #wba— Adam. K. (@A_Kemo26) August 22, 2019
Really, really good I think is the answer!
12. Finally, how good was #readingfc number 14 by the way? Know he gave the pen away for #wba equaliser, but he looks some player. Reckon we'll be seeing & hearing about more about him. He's got it all.— Dave (@DaveWBA1878) August 22, 2019
We are really good, never mind ‘looked’...
That may be a good point. Reading looked good. Solid defensively and moved ball well. Number 14 bossed the game. When it clicks it will be lethal. Dissapointed with Austin, he looked a frustrated figure content to chip away at the centre halves. #wba— Darren Baker (@WallHallNumber5) August 22, 2019
The penalty call that wasn’t a penalty you mean?
Full credit to Reading though last night. They executed a game plan that very nearly worked for them, we will probably look back on that very early penalty call that was turned down as it would have been a very different game had we gone in front #wba— Ricci Dunn (@B_H_Baggie) August 22, 2019
A side note from tonight.....the standard of refereeing at this level is awful. So many bad decisions tonight. Definitely missed at least 1 other penalty we should have had #wba— Gary Rickard (@podgewba) August 21, 2019
Austin pushed him before he got “barged over”
The one incident that really annoyed me, was when Austin was barged in the back into their other defender and READING got the freekick we should have had a penalty#WBA— Bomber's Boots (@BombersBoots) August 21, 2019
A little more than usual on the game, which is good as gives me something to comment on…
Starting with the highlights, Sky have a whopping 2 minutes 3 seconds of coverage - with commentary this time. As you would guess, a lot of it centres around Ejaria, but I do think he’s a little unlucky with the penalty. Their write-up is actually decent and we do get credit for the draw…
Similarly down at the BBC they seem to give the Baggies the better of it, but do redeem themselves by saying that the Baggies were grateful to get a point.
Going international for a moment and All Nigeria Soccer have a bit of coverage, mainly due to Ejaria and Ajayi playing in the same game. Not really a lot in it that’s different to Sky or BBC but hey, I will take it.
Back on these shores and Gabriel Sutton of the Football Lab has his “Six Things” column. It’s not a bad summary of the game, with him expecting us to get to the 50 point mark a lot quicker than predicted.
HITC run with the criticism that Sam Johnstone got for Ejaria scoring a worldy... Really, c’mon Baggies, there wasn’t a huge amount he could do.
Interesting side show, with The Boot Room running an article with comments from the Rangers fans around Ejaria’s performance, and the lack of it in Scotland. Maybe that’s what happens when he plays for a decent team...
Ejaria once again delivered an attacking masterclass. Even if his lunge at the end gave the penalty away, his development has come on leaps and bounds since he first appeared at Reading and it’s a clear demonstration of the impact that Gomes and the coaching team are having on the younger players at the club.
The same can be said of Omar Richards. Now, I know that I haven’t been his biggest fan, but this 3-5-2 system suits him down to the ground, and remembering that we have Jordan Obita and Tyler Blackett to come back does demonstrate the strength we will have.
Credit also has to be given in bucket loads to the three at the back system. Gomes has obviously looked at his options and, as with putting Moore back on the left, has decided to fit the system into the players rather than the players into the system, which is something that previous Reading managers haven’t grasped.
While I don’t think that we will be challenging near the top of the league, keeping this side together and strengthening in the next two transfer windows will then turn this team hopefully into contenders.
As they say, small steps. This team has made huge progress from last season though and long may it continue!