I don’t think I’ll ever see anything like the home fixture against Forest again in my lifetime, and I reckon all Reading fans are in the same boat as me on that one. However, both sets of players did their absolute best to replicate the drama of the reverse fixture on Wednesday night.
The fans and Bowen would’ve all been expecting (and hoping for) a reaction from the last outing against Millwall, which was most definitely one of worst showings since Bowen took over from Gomes along with the Birmingham City home game. The players certainly gave everyone just that.
Every player to a man put in a brilliant shift defensively - something that Bowen has demanded from the get go. In the second half especially, we looked very dangerous on the counter attack with Obita, Olise and Swift causing problems throughout.
Here’s how the happy fans reacted to a valiant point against a team vying for automatic promotion...
Due to the very sad news regarding Yakou Meite losing his father during the week, an opportunity arose for youngster Michael Olise to take a starting spot in the first eleven with both hands. You could certainly say that the 18-year-old delivered.
The academy graduate put in a performance way ahead of his age, looking threatening going forward whilst also doing the dirty work that Bowen and the fans love to see.
Bowen stated after the game how Olise showed he can trust the midfielder after that performance. I’m sure the fans can’t wait to see him continue to don the blue and white hoops...
That's a pretty big statement form the boss. Hopefully going forward we will see a lot more of this talented youngster.— Royalwire (@royalwire88) January 23, 2020
So promising, every time I've seen @MichaelOlise10 he oozes quality— Alan of the Shire (@Munro_888) January 23, 2020
Arguably one of the best players on the pitch last night— Luke Sully (@luke_sully99) January 23, 2020
Olise getting a lot of love from the away end #ReadingFC— Alex Everson (@Readingfanman) January 22, 2020
Olise has looked like he belongs in this league. Good first half from him. Cracking player with confidence and ability. I hope we see more of him this season. #ReadingFC— Seth Dakota Shanager (@NCCDakota) January 22, 2020
“Michael Olise” fits to “Oh Champs Elysees” in the NOFX song of the same name. Do your thing, #readingfc chant people— Dave (@shakefon) January 23, 2020
“Nottingham Forest... it’s happened again”.
They say lightning doesn’t strike twice but it did at the City Ground on Wednesday in glorious fashion, as the Royals gained another dramatic point from Sabri Lamouchi’s men.
Substitute Sam Baldock was the hero this time, as he somehow managed to fire a shot through the hands of pantomime villain Samba in the Forest goal.
The goal sent the Loyal Royals crazy at the time, and they carried that joy onto Twitter after the game...
Corrrrr good limbs for that goal it’s happened again..... #readingfc— Jacob Potter (@pott95) January 22, 2020
A good result
Even though Bowen argued after the game that he felt we could’ve taken all three points back to Berkshire, we picked up a very good point on Wednesday night and it was a great confidence boost after the bitter disappointment of the Millwall game last weekend.
We showed once again how much harder Bowen has made us to beat and also how can we can hurt teams going forward too. This is even applicable to the teams around the top end of Championship table - which is exactly where we’re aiming to be come May.
The fans were certainly in agreement with that after the game - full of praise for the character showed by the players once again...
Quality point away at a good team playoffs still in sight #readingfc— jack (@jacklawrfc) January 22, 2020
Don't think there's a team in the league that would turn down a point at the City Ground. Decent performance. Gunter, Pele and Swift all at their best. #readingfc— Tom Mitchell (@Tom_1871) January 22, 2020
much improved performance tonight from RFC compared to the Millwall game #readingfc— Stevie p (@stevie_p1871) January 22, 2020
Decent away point and probably a fair result. Very strong defensive performance but still need to improve going forward, definitely struggling without a proper target man though. Much better on the wings today than usual, was quite impressed with Obita and Olise. #readingfc— Harrison Mitchell (@harrison1871rfc) January 22, 2020
It’s a busy and tough schedule now but hopefully we can continue to get good results in challenging games and keep moving up the table. Playoff hopes still alive. Urrrzzzzz! ⚪️ #readingfc— Oli Bryant (@OliB_RFC) January 22, 2020
It’s another strong point against a very good outfit in Nottingham Forest - simple as that. Keep performing like that and we’ve got every chance of climbing up the table.
It feels like the good times are coming back under Mark Bowen and the start he has made with this squad has been nothing short of brilliant. Let’s just hope we continue to improve, because we’ve got the ability and the players to do just that.
Everyone at The Tilehurst End sends their condolences to Yakou Meite and his family.