If you look up ‘Jekyll & Hyde Performance’ under the dictionary, I'm pretty sure you’ll see a screenshot of Saturday lunchtime’s result.
The first half was everything Paunovic would’ve wanted from an away performance. The players were absolutely fantastic, and numbed one of the most potent attacking teams in the league.
It was a return to the Reading we got used to at the start of the season: resolute but clinical. Sone Aluko’s goal on the stroke of half time put the Royals in dreamland, and with how well we’ve seen out leads this season, I would’ve put a lot of money on us going on to win the game.
I’m really trying my best to put the second half showing more down to Bournemouth’s undoubted quality - but however you put it, it was just unacceptable. The hosts got one back through Solanke and, from then on, there was only going to be one winner. Our heads dropped and the Cherries capitalised on that and severely punished us, and we deserved to be punished.
I’ve gone for something a bit different this week. Rather than the three key talking points, I’ve rounded up the reaction of the fans to the first half, and then how they reacted at the full-time whistle. Half of it is good reading, the other half is pretty painful...
The first half
I think the overall take from Saturday’s game will be that we crumbled and let a two-goal lead slip, conceding four in the process. Rightly so, as that was the end result at the end of the day.
However, without wanting to sound like the broken Nigel Adkins record player, we must take positives where we can - and the first half was a huge positive. It was the perfect away performance and something we have to replicate where possible - but for 90 minutes next time.
The majority of the tweets below are from when we were flying high at half time, so look away now if you don't want any PTSD...
Really enjoyed that first half, more of the same in the second please #readingfc— Claire Gould (@ClaireLJG1987) November 21, 2020
Great first half from #ReadingFC perfect response after losing 3 on the bounce. Nice to also be thinking that the games been refereed well too.— Mark Apsey (@mark_apsey) November 21, 2020
Brilliant half lads. What a way to bounce back. Lets keep this up ⚪️— Luke (@Luke1871_) November 21, 2020
Won’t see many better away first half performances than that this season - solid at the back, counter attacking swiftly in good numbers and putting a couple of chances away #readingfc— Frank Maguire (@fsmaguire) November 21, 2020
The second half
Where it all went wrong - or where it all went right for the hosts - depends which way you want to look at it. I think it’s important to see it from both sides. Lapses in concentration and individual mistakes again led to the majority of Bournemouth’s four goals, with the other one being a worldie into the top corner.
Bournemouth were very good in the second half, far too good for the Championship. But even so, we have to look at ourselves in the mirror and think if we do want to be up near the top of the table come May, we just can’t have performances like that.
The fans were left fuming, and took that frustration to Twitter...
Unacceptable second half performance. Fully expect Rafael to be dropped for the next game, too many crucial mistakes in the last four games. Need to work on keeping it simple and being hard to break down. Fuming with that performance to be honest #readingfc— Milo (@MiloRoyal1871) November 21, 2020
I’ve put the wellies on and Im taking myself out for a walk, fresh air needed to clear the head from that second half! #readingfc— Paul Stacey (@pstacey11) November 21, 2020
Well that was some second half collapse, so frustrating after such a good first half. Defensively again we've switched off and made silly errors which have cost us. Those first 2 goals in the space of 3 minutes absolutely disastrous #readingfc— Tom Maynard (@ttmaynard) November 21, 2020
Conceded 13 goals in the last 4 What has happened? That second half performance was embarrassing.— Matthew Stevens (@mattecho2000) November 21, 2020
Bournemouth fully deserved the win.
I hope we never play on Sky again#readingfc
What the hell was that!!— Ryan (@Ryan311292) November 21, 2020
Superb in the first half and then non existence in the Second half. I know its a cliche but that really was a tale of two halves!#readingfc https://t.co/fiH0MckunM pic.twitter.com/PJBhcso0UY
Absolutely fuming, can't throw 2 goal leads as easily as that. Don't understand why we can't defend all of a sudden. Shocking second half performance #readingfc— Dominic (@domwindle) November 21, 2020
That second half was absolutely pathetic #readingfc. What has happened to Rafael?!— Sam (@SG_Machin) November 21, 2020
I don’t know about you guys, but losses seem to stay with me a lot longer this season. The last few seasons I’ve sort of just gotten used to losing and then surprised when we do win.
It hurts so much more when we lose this season, because we’ve built the foundations to do something really, really good. If we end up letting that go that’ll really hurt.
But, I still have a lot of faith and think we’re one good result away from really turning a corner and kicking on again. We just need to get that result on Wednesday, or else things could start getting toxic again.