After winning the first four games on the bounce, the Royals have had a long wait to get back to action after another round of international fixtures - they just get more and more annoying don't they? However, the players had a chance to continue the winning run on Saturday against Neil Warnock’s Middlesbrough.
Making it five on wins on the bounce wasn’t to be though, as Pauno’s men huffed and puffed but couldn’t break down the Boro defence - who played like a typical Neil Warnock side. From the get go it always looked like it was going to be a game of very few chances, as two very well-organised defences faced off.
Even though the fans were left frustrated in terms of the lack of attacking threat the players offered - they were certainly pleased to see their team get another clean sheet on the board, making it four clean sheets out of five. Very impressive indeed.
Josh Laurent and Michael Olise spurned our best chances in the first 45 and, despite his best efforts all game, Ovie Ejaria couldn’t conjure up any of the moments of magic he's become renown for - although he did look sharper and more involved than he has done in recent times.
Here’s how the fans reacted to the key talking points form the 0-0 draw...
Another clean sheet
I don't know quite what Pauno has done and is doing to our defence, but whatever it is, he needs to continue doing it. We have looked impenetrable so far this season.
Both Liam Moore and Michael Morrison were sensational, particularly the skipper who has bounced back superbly from a very difficult end to the last campaign. Tom Holmes looked like he’s been playing right back all season. As for Omar Richards, let me tell you, we have one hell of a left back on our hands with him - he could easily go on to be a Premier League player in the next few years.
Rafael hardly had anything of note to do all game, and the fans were quick to dish out the praise to the Royals’ defence - particularly young Tom Holmes...
Take that against 'Boro but game was there to win. Holmes showing class today. Good on ball, solid in tackle. Gets forward. Not bad for a centre half. We have a team of ballers. @bbcberkshire #readingfc— ajb1871 (@RDG1871) October 17, 2020
As exciting as Esteves is meant to be, Holmes has been fantastic #readingfc— Joel Shelton (@joel_shelton) October 17, 2020
@willow1871 not usually a fan of sticking a young CB at full back. Full back is such a specialized position these days. But Holmes has played really well. Gets up and down, makes tackles, solid crossing. Impressive! #readingfc #urz— Bobby Hall (@GentryTroll) October 17, 2020
Morrison is exactly what we’ve needed for years, guy is a warrior #readingfc— Harry ∞ (@hrryjnes) October 17, 2020
Was always going to be a tricky one that. Clean sheet away from home and still unbeaten. Need to win these next couple of games though #readingfc— Jacob Potter (@pott95) October 17, 2020
A clean sheet away at Middlesbrough is a good result.— Eddie Wallbank (@EddieRFC7) October 17, 2020
It’s the kind of result #ReadingFC needs to get consistently (and they have; Derby, Watford and Cardiff)to get promoted. If we keep up our good form over the next run of games, we could cement a place as promotion contenders
Good result that! Any clean sheet away from home is decent in the Championship #readingfc— Jordan Norris (@Jordan_Grittt) October 17, 2020
Although some fans were a bit disappointed that we couldn't get that fifth straight win, it’s hard to be disappointed with a clean sheet and a point away from home at Middlesbrough side managed by Mr Warnock. We all know how tough his teams can be to play against by now.
It's a game that in recent times we’d have probably conceded in the last 10 minutes, but this team looks to be different and has really been toughened and tightened up by Paunovic and his staff - which is really refreshing to see.
It’s another point on the board and we stay level on points with Bristol City at the top of the table - that’s something the fans are happy about...
Obviously missed the #readingfc game today whilst playing out in Sweden but can't complain too much with a point away from homebat a typically dogged Warnock team no doubt. Keeps us unbeaten and very good defensive record too #PaunosBarmyArmy— Tom Maynard (@ttmaynard) October 17, 2020
Frustrating not to continue winning start but a clean sheet and a point away from home is still good. Still unbeaten URRZZ #readingfc— Luke Tizzard (@luke_tizzard) October 17, 2020
Still unbeaten. Defending hasn’t been this solid in a long time. I’ll take it #readingfc— Zac Colón (@ZacLONDON_31) October 17, 2020
Happy with a point but feel we could have won that, still unbeaten tho and 2 winnable games coming up. Urzzz #ReadingFC— PaunoSZN (@PaunoSzn) October 17, 2020
Our next two games are home games against two recently promoted sides: Wycombe Wanderers and Rotherham. On paper, those are two very winnable games, and I try my best to refrain from using that word because it can really come back to bite you, but it’s the truth.
To go into those two games with four wins and a draw from the first five games is a really exciting position to be in - it’s now up to the players and Paunovic to keep that professionalism, and get the results we need in those two games, which I’m extremely confident they'll do.
The fans are certainly excited about the next two games, but should also be wary - because we all know the Championship by now...
#readingfc Happy with a point today. 4 wins and 1 draw, second in league table on goal difference. Wycombe and Rotherham next, both struggling for form, at home on Tuesday and Saturday respectively.— Tony Evans (@tonester_trader) October 17, 2020
Happily take a draw today. We have a terrible record at the Riverside so take the point and then push on against Wycombe and Rotherham. #readingfc— Alex Lane-Kieltyka (@alex_elkay21) October 17, 2020
Honestly. What a 5 games of the season so far. We have been superb. I don’t wanna get ahead of ourselves but... next 2 games..#ReadingFC home to both Wycombe and Rotherham— Jamie Hodder (@Jamie_Hodder21) October 17, 2020
Bristol City home to Boro and Swansea
Bournemouth have Cardiff and Watford away
Games in our favour...
Wycombe, Rotherham, Blackburn and Coventry which are all winnable games. Preston will be a serious test but RFC must watch out for Rotherham and Blackburn. Then the next game's after Preston is another difficult run. Come on Urzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz UP the DING. #readingfc Serbian Rev— Michael Hunter (@Michael_BHunter) October 17, 2020
It would now be typical Reading to not get a win mid-week against Wycombe now #readingfc— Mark Fidgett (@MarkFidgett) October 17, 2020
Esteves will probably come in for Holmes purely because of fitness. Imagine him running around the Wycombe players, could be a hell of a debut! #readingfc— Alex Lane-Kieltyka (@alex_elkay21) October 17, 2020
A decent result all in all. You'll take a point and a clean sheet away from home all day long, although it is still a missed chance to make it five wins out of five - the game, particularly in the first half, was there for the taking.
Onto Wycombe now on Tuesday, where hopefully we’ll see the likes of Tomas Esteves come in and show what he can do.