Reading returned to league action after progressing in the FA Cup, making 11 changes from the one which beat Blackpool. Whilst there’s been a run of games over the Christmas period and we have built a head of steam up, the team on Saturday didn’t really click. It had to happen eventually.
Millwall have themselves been in a decent run of form. Whether they like us are good enough to get in the playoffs, time will tell, but it’s certainly going to be an interesting run for the rest of the year.
On the game itself, largely the Millwall fans were happy. There were a couple of unsavoury moments with the referee getting the tannoy guy at half time to address the home fans regarding some choice language.
Quick and decisive
#Millwall Football Club has issued the following statement— Millwall FC (@MillwallFC) January 18, 2020
Think he’s right
Complete domination in today’s game. Great goals from Smith & Dad Bod. We sit a point off the playoffs. I think we are safe to say we are staying in the championship next year. #millwallfc… https://t.co/F6N0uNcNcu— millwall_scum (@benitez_jon) January 18, 2020
Wow, just wow
Big test indeed
Having already equalled last seaon’s point haul with 18 games remaining #Millwall’s next run of league fixtures will really test whether they are serious play-off contenders - Leeds, Fulham and WBA in the next three weeks.— Frankie Christou (@Frankiechristou) January 19, 2020
Nothing like fans learning the words to the chants
OH HERE WE ARE AND HERE WE ARE AND HERE WE GO!— This is Millwall (@ThisIsMillwall) January 19, 2020
*mumble mumble we should really learn the words*
WOOOO OOOH, ROCKIN’ ALL OVERE THE WORLD! https://t.co/OQcSJRCdwl
Gotta admit, pretty impressive
Improved his looks!
Punch to the head, defender with arm wrapped round waist tugging down.— Jason Green (@JayNSGreen) January 19, 2020
Not a penalty though.
Championship refs and linos - bent.#Millwall
Do love this
When bodvarson walked into the changing room pic.twitter.com/OSzt2I5AC3— alfiereeves1885 (@alfiereeves1885) January 19, 2020
As you can imagine, most of the reports from the game centred around the allegations of homophobic language, which it seems every news outlet picked up on. If you really want to read the commentary around it, you can check out the BBC, Guardian and the Mail Online by clicking on the links.
Apart from that bit of drama, there wasn’t a huge amount being written about us or the game. As always, London News Online is full of praise for Millwall and comments that Reading didn’t test the Lions keeper till late on in the game. They also comment about the referee who, judging by some comments on Twitter, may have been the target of the allegations after he booked Tom Bradshaw for simulation.
The London New Shopper basically says ‘Millwall good, Reading bad’, and that the Royals were never really in the game. London News Online also features a view from the Reading perspective, via an interview with Mark Bowen where he questions the validity of the Lions first goal with a hand ball seemingly missed by referee Stroud.
Locally and Berkshire Live carry interviews with Bowen on various topics, however the main thrust of the conversation is Bowen suggesting that his team had “forgot” how to play football.
To wrap this up, Sky have 2.04 min of coverage, in which Reading don’t have a shot on target and generally it’s pretty bad all round.
Every run has to come to an end. Our 10 games have been a mix of fortune and good play, and the best thing about a run ending is that you can start a new one.
Bowen questioned his team’s mental approach to the game which is fair comment, and actually in modern football the mental approach of players to the game in some ways is just as crucial as the physical aspects.
What it has done is put a marker down as to how good this side actually is. We went to Preston and got a result, went to Fulham and were exceptional, so we know this side has something about them. With a few additions in the transfer window, we could actually get up there. Whilst I have always said that this season - that mid-table obscurity is important to enable us to build - I can’t help but get excited by a playoff push. There’s enough games left, and normally a few teams choke (Leeds more than most) and although it’s looking likely that West Brom will walk the league the playoff picture is still a potential.
The Championship is one of the toughest leagues in the world, and to even get close to this is something exciting.
We now face a critical part of the season, and hopefully we can start a run again!