There have been times where I’ve been writing up a Fans Verdict piece really struggling to come up with talking points, due to the mediocrity we’ve witnessed for season after season. However, this campaign has been very different and Wednesday night continued that trend.
There was one big talking point. We all know what it is, I don’t need to tell you. But I’m going to anyway: it was the performance of referee Oli Langford, which left the fans absolutely fuming - and rightly so.
The penalty decisions get worse every time you see them, which is why I haven’t watched any of them since 7am on Thursday morning. I just don’t want to keep putting myself through it. And, also, we can’t dwell on it. As frustrating as it is, it’s been and gone and all eyes need to be on Saturday afternoon.
Pauno’s post-match media duties and a superb Josh Laurent performance also caught the eye of the Reading faithful. But it was obviously the refereeing horror show that really got them talking. Here’s a round-up of all the reaction...
What a player this lad is turning out to be. Quickly solidifying a place in the hearts of the Reading fanbase, and rightly so.
He just oozes class, and although they say the step from League One to the Championship is arguably the most difficult in English Football, the former Shrewsbury Town man has made it look so, so easy.
Comfortable on the ball, athletic, bundles of energy. He’s got it all. I just love him. As do the rest of the Loyal Royals it seems...
I have come to the conclusion that josh Laurent is the best cdm in the league #readingfc— Dom (@Dom_langley14) December 3, 2020
Matured very nicely, taken to the Champ like a duck to water.— Seano96 (@Seanrfc96) December 3, 2020
He’s been absolutely class. What a signing. Fair play to Bowen for that— Dean Bennett (@DeanBennett1993) December 3, 2020
Laurent and Richards defo up there for my POTS so far, both have not put one foot wrong this season! #readingfc— Joshua Lamb (@lambeyyy1871) December 2, 2020
Josh Laurent is the signing of the season. This guy just keeps getting better and better #readingfc— JDM (@RFC_Smurf93) December 2, 2020
Paunovic’s post-match comments
When Pauno joined the club, none of us knew anything about him, let’s be honest. But, rumours did circulate that he was a hot-headed manager with a short fuse. He has shown glimpses of that during his time here, but on the whole has been an absolute class act.
Wednesday night was no different. There are a lot of managers who would’ve lost their temper big time after the game whilst talking to the press. But Pauno kept his cool, stayed professional and tried his best to focus on his teams performance rather than that of the referee.
It was another sign that Pauno is going to be a top, top manager - if he’s not already. Long may he be at the reign of our club...
Paunovic - "We will focus on what we can control. I don't want to talk about the officiating. I want us to have accountability for our own actions. "— CalDeckTheHalls☃️ (@caldini4) December 2, 2020
YES. Perfect way to react and I love that he prefers the football to the noise. Beautifully holistic perspective #readingfc
Far too calm from Paunovic there.— Greg Double (@Dubstep1988) December 2, 2020
I want to see him crying about having to play so many games and then planting a nut on the ref. #readingfc
Fair play to him for not getting hung up on the poor officiating.— Arthur (@Rubin_46) December 2, 2020
Great mentality and really encouraging to me, as it would've been the perfect get out of jail free card to use those decisions as leverage— Dixon Cider - KnobedRFC (@MerryBerryBoy) December 2, 2020
Pauno is never wrong— Chris Baker (@Zacnaloen) December 3, 2020
I wrote a piece about this straight after the game, full of anger, disappointment and confusion. And I still feel all three of those things when I think about it now.
It was clearly the big talking point among the Reading fans, it just has to be. It cost us all three points. Three of them were stonewall. I want to use a stronger phrase than stonewall because they were so much clearer than your average stonewall penalty.
But, it is what is and what’s done is done. All eyes will be on the Forest game now. But that didn’t stop the fans complaining...
Oliver Langford has to be the worst ref in the EFL and that’s saying something. Bottled it completely. Feels like a loss tbh. But we’re having a great season still #readingfc— Luke (@Luke1871_) December 2, 2020
I will say Sheff Wed defensively had a blinder. You will get that from Pulis.— Tim Patten (@TimRobinPatten) December 2, 2020
However, we had 3 stonewall penalties turned down. Referees must be held to account more. We were genuinely robbed by a ref who did not know what he is doing. #readingfc
The Ref Oliver Langford has just had the worst 45 minutes I think I’ve ever seen. I reckon Bonnie Langford would have done a better job. It’s not even marginal decisions he’s got wrong! Horrendous mistakes. #Readingfc @BBCBerkshire— Paul Hunsdon (@Hunsy1969) December 2, 2020
VAR is needed so much more in the champ than it is in the prem. The referees are dreadful. And to make it worse, the ref won’t see any punishment for the worst refereeing we’ve seen all season. #readingfc— Rob (@Rollerb0b) December 2, 2020
Can't fault the team or manager today. That's all on the ref. Big mistakes made at crucial times. Take the point and move on to Saturday. #readingfc— Steven Kemp (@kempy26783) December 2, 2020
Just seen the highlights, referee was an absolute disgrace tonight, he needs to be demoted down the leagues...the championship a decent league and the refs should be to a decent level as well #readingfc— Matt Bell (@mattbell40) December 2, 2020
Well that was an absolute daylight robbery, 2 completely blatant penalties missed by the ref, he was by miles Wednesday's best player of the night #readingfc— Tom Maynard (@ttmaynard) December 2, 2020
LOLiver Langford will get most likely get demoted for this weekend but why should a League 2 team have to put up with him? Suspend him for 3 games and give him extra training, fine him too. Treat refs like players would be if they received a red card in a game. #readingfc— Nath St Paul (@NathStPaul) December 2, 2020
Trust me, I’m as frustrated as the rest of us about that utterly awful performance from Oli Langford. It was truly horrendous and one that pretty much sums up the standard of officiating in the EFL.
However, we have to move on. It’s done and we can’t change it now. We need to be looking at Saturday now, a game in which fans will be back. What a special moment that will be.
I can't wait to be back in the Mad Stad, hopefully we can witness three points.