Reading fans and players alike travelled to the Mad Stad on Saturday afternoon full of confidence coming off the back off a good run of results in both the league and Carabao Cup.
However it was, in the end, a very tough and disappointing afternoon as the unbeaten Addicks ran out well deserved 2-0 winners. It was almost a carbon copy of the Huddersfield game last Saturday but unfortunately, it was the Royals on the receiving end this time.
Reading should’ve been 2-0 up at half-time with record signing Puscas missing two huge chances, most notably the one-on-one just before half time. And Charlton punished Puscas for not taking his chances with a deflected first goal, and a penalty from Lyle Taylor.
In truth, Reading were poor in the second-half and showed that they are still very much a team in transition and there is still a lot of work to do before Gomes can set his sights on the top end of the table. Here’s how the fans reacted to some of the key talking points...
In the first half, the Royals were probably the better team - we zipped the ball around pretty nicely and looked pretty threatening. However, we had a few guilt edged chances that really should’ve been taken.
None more so than George Puscas, when he saw his close range attempt rattle the crossbar, and then a one-on-one effort saved pretty comfortably by the Charlton keeper.
Everything up until the end product was very good in the opening 45, but in this league you get punished for not taking chances - something the Reading fansbase know all too well by now.
It left the fans frustrated, and rightly so as if we take those chances - which we should’ve done - it’s a completely different game. And they took that frustration to social media after the game...
I think we are still a way away yet, shouldn’t have lost that, didn’t take the chances before HT. Let Charlton off the hook and they punished us. Needed to take more shots when the opportunity arose I think. #readingfc— Alex Stone (@_alexgstone) August 31, 2019
That game is completely different if Puscas takes his chances. Charlton didn't do a lot. Decent time for an international break. #readingfc— Jonathan Holdstock (@JH7123) August 31, 2019
Had enough chances to win it in the 1st half. First goal unfortunate with the deflection but didn’t do enough afterwards. Right result #ReadingFC— Mark Sugar (@marksugar) August 31, 2019
Back down to earth. Got to take the chances when on top. #ReadingFC— Alex Sheppard (@Alex_Shep_Urzz) August 31, 2019
We missed our chances, incredible save from their keeper in the 2nd half on Swift.— Zac Cologne (@ZacLONDON_31) August 31, 2019
At the end of the day we learn and move on. Credit to Charlton on their defending. #readingfc
No. Argh. Tough to take that. Thought we were good, just didn’t finish our chances. Charlton did. #readingfc— Did Reading FC win? (@didReadingFCwin) August 31, 2019
Two of the major beneficiaries from the change to three at the back have been Andy Yiadom and Omar Richards. The two wing-backs were good again on Saturday, until they were both oddly taken off midway through the second period.
And they were taken off for the usual strikers Lucas Boye and Yakou Meite - a change that really surprised and perplexed the majority of the loyal Royals at the Madejski.
It was only 1-0 at the time and it was only the 60th minute, so it seemed to puzzle the fans why Gomes went so gung-ho so soon. Hindsight is a wonderful thing though, and if Boye and Meite go on to both score and win us the game, we say it’s a masterpiece from Gomes.
The fans took to Twitter after the game to voice their confusion...
Interesting changes today, but you win some you lose some #readingfc— Ollie Broad (@olliebroad19RFC) August 31, 2019
Disappointing result after recent weeks. Gomes cost us with poor changes. Went for broke too early and absolutely killed our shape. Panicked us when there was no real need to. No need to overreact, but very frustrating. #readingfc— Matt Williams (@mattwilliams100) August 31, 2019
That game was crying out for Boyé to come on at half time for Joao. Disappointed with Gomes for the changes he made. Rafael Cabral is as good as Emi Martinez #readingfc— Chris (@ChrissRFC) August 31, 2019
Why did Gomes not change formation when he put on Boye and Meite, playing them as wingbacks is strange... yiadom was our best player as well, owell, we move on! #readingfc— George Blair (@GeorgeBlairr) August 31, 2019
Just one of those days that we have to accept and move on from. The subs were baffling from Gomes as I thought Yiadom was one of our best players on the pitch and Richards looked fine. We move on #ReadingFC— Jin Khangura (@JinKhangura) August 31, 2019
Charlton excellent. Kamikaze subs at 1 nil. Gallagher brilliant, Moore poor again for me. #readingfc— Jordan Norris (@Jordannorr1s) August 31, 2019
Naive from Gomes today with his subs. He did what i do on FM. Result might have been different if he'd changed to a back 4. Subs were correct but not for the two wing backs. I'd have taken off Puscas and a CB. Oh well, we move on. #readingfc— Gavin Willoughby (@TheRealWilloman) August 31, 2019
The second-half performance was the polar opposite of what we have become used to in recent games from Gomes’ men. We were slow in possession, wide open at the back and pretty toothless going forward.
After a good first-half showing, the fans were expectant and hoping that we would’ve pushed on and gone on to win the game, but it just wasn’t to be.
There is no need to overreact, but it is a wake up call that this team is still far off what they can be. Gomes would’ve known before the Charlton game that there is still a lot of work to do, and Saturday just highlighted it even more.
It was a poor performance, and the fans certainly made their feelings shown on social media after the game...
Terrible second half. Very strange decision to take the wing backs off- especially as they had been our best players until that point. Shame as that’s a disappointing way to end a terrific August #readingfc— Cam Baker (@cambaker96) August 31, 2019
Gifted that to Charlton. Completely absent in the second half. Really disappointing. #readingfc— Ben (@BenParsons89) August 31, 2019
Game of two halves, first was ok, chance at the end for puscas, second half was woeful, no desire, creativity or spirit, Charlton good side but nothing special, need to improve for the next one! #readingfc @ReadingFC— James (@B3rt1e) August 31, 2019
Worst game Iv seen Moore play in a Reading shirt personally . Poor overall second half from all - disappointing after a good few weeks #readingfc— padz (@padzRfc) August 31, 2019
We lost to the better team, which I can take. But that second half performance was the Reading of old - slow, lacking creativity and movement, ideas in short supply #readingfc— Ben de Souza (@ben_deS_94) August 31, 2019
A poor second-half, and poor finishing in the first-half - and it cost us ultimately. Gomes said after the game that in a way he is glad that we made the mistakes we did so early on in the season so he can ensure they don’t happen again.
I’m sure the players will learn from Saturday and come back stronger. It cannot be stressed enough that this team is very much a working progress, and it will take time to see them hit full flow - so let’s give them get time.
We go again after the international break.