Reading went into this game as one of the form teams in the Championship, and welcomed a Nottingham Forest side that has been flying high in the division all season. In fairness, for 90 minutes this game was a little scrappy, and with two well-organised teams on the field, it’s hardly surprising that in effect both sides cancelled each other out.
Then after 95 minutes of jabbing each other, Forest took the lead in a highly contentious manner; firstly it was a corner in the first place and secondly the ball did seem to go out before being hooked back for Ben Watson to slam it into the goal.
Now on 96 minutes with there being five minutes of injury time, you would have thought that was that. However, straight from the kick off, the Royals bombed forward and a ‘more hope than skill’ cross into the box from Jordan Obita caused chaos, and the unfortunate Tobias Figueiredo deflected the ball into the net before George Puscas, who was loitering, could get to the ball. In the space of 90 seconds, the away end went from hysteria to depression, while Club 1871 basically went mental.
To be honest it was a fair result and Reading’s run continues. While the performance looked a bit rusty, there was enough to see that Mark Bowen’s evolution - rather than revolution - is starting to make a difference.
Amazing how reactions can change so quickly
I was very happy with draw at 95 minutes, delirious at 96, then devastated at 97.— Martyn Elvin (@ElvinMartyn) January 12, 2020
This morning I'm satisfied with the draw and the overall performance. #NFFC
Yeah that about sums it up
Goes down as one of Sky’s brilliant moments
Can relate to this!
Never count your chickens!
PC, come on it’s 2020
How, just how can Forest ask this??
What squad number in the reading team does this ref have? #NFFC— Richard M8422 (@RichardM8422) January 11, 2020
Starting with Sky Sports and they have 2.03 min of coverage. Looking at the footage, it does seem that Reading had the better of the chances. They say the game exploded in the closing moments and that Reading actually had the better of the opening period, especially with Sam Baldock’s lovely run, following up by a few handbags, before Reading exerted pressure in the second half.
A slightly different viewpoint from Sportsmole who have Forest at dominating the game and Reading coming into it late in the second half. Not a lot else really to be fair.
FourFourTwo carry an interview with Sabri Lamouchi who laments his side switching off once they had scored, and also goes on to admit that he would have been happy with the draw prior to kick off. That in itself is a statement that I haven’t heard for many years from managers visiting the Madejski Stadium.
There’s nothing like a good bit of scapegoating, and the Transfer Tavern do just that with the Forest fans going to town on Sammy Ameobi’s performance, some likening him to “bambi on ice”. We can’t complain as every football club has a scapegoat. We can all remember the hounding Reading fans gave Nick Blackman prior to his nine-goal burst and subsequent
offload transfer to Derby County.
The Reading Chronicle carries an interview with Obita, saying how we started slowly and that the officials got it badly wrong in giving Forest the corner that led to the goal. He also mentions that, after being deployed as a left-sided winger, he’s happy to play anywhere in the team and that the belief and spirit within the squad currently is through the roof.
The BBC have longer-than-usual coverage of the game, saying that Reading and in particular John Swift started slowly but got better as the game went on.
What can you say? Football is at times a crazy game. For a match that promised so much it was largely fought in a midfield battle, as although Swift, Charlie Adam and Ovie Ejaria weren’t at their imperious best, there was enough to give the Forest midfield some uncomfortable moments. This run we are currently on is one of our best runs for a many a year; it goes to show the power of self belief and what good old-fashioned commitment can do to a football side.
Can we start dreaming about the playoffs? Probably not for me as this team needs a few more wins, but I am comfortable that my prediction of mid-table obscurity should be about there now! Either way I am gonna put it out there that Bowen has proven myself and an awful lot of other people wrong.
I have no shame in putting my hand up and saying I didn’t think this would be the position we would be talking about; I firmly expected a nasty relegation fight all season rather than wondering if we can get in the playoffs. In reality I don’t think that Bowen has changed an awful lot, but has given the players confidence. Confidence is the singular thing that puts teams in a good place - that belief that you can’t be beaten is something that’s hard to generate.
What will the rest of this season hold? Dunno - over Christmas we had a hard run with games against QPR and Fulham among others. In reality, the upcoming run - including against Forest - isn’t much easier, but we have to believe in the club, in the players and in Bowen, and the crowds will come back. Success will return and maybe also a cup/playoff run?
Who knows? I tell you what though, it’s better than worrying about relegation and poor form.