Still no win in the league since the New Year’s Day then. Wednesday night was yet another painful watch for the Reading faithful. Yes, we came up against the best team in the division, with West Brom looking set on returning to the Premier League at the second time of asking. However, you just feel that they were there for the taking, and in hindsight, Bowen will be very disappointed with the fact that we’ve come away from that game with absolutely nothing.
Things got off to the perfect start as George Puscas rolled home a penalty after ten minutes. However, the players (yet again) just couldn’t capitalise on going ahead and failed to build on the good start. If you do that against the likes of the Baggies, you will end up getting punished, and that’s exactly what happened.
The ever-dangerous Pereira was first to react, smashing home an equaliser just before half time, before Kyle Bartley nodded home the eventual winner minutes after the interval as the Royals started poorly. Then, after that, we just didn’t have the firepower, ideas or creativity to cause the league leaders many problems at all. West Brom showed why they are where they are in the league with a professional performance.
Here’s how the fans reacted to some of the key talking points to come from another loss at the Madejski Stadium...
Maybe his absence hasn’t been as missed as we all thought it would’ve been after Chris Gunter’s impressive form as back up, but it was still absolutely fantastic to see the Ghanaian international back in the starting eleven.
Gunter has played well, but I don’t think there’s any question that when everybody is fit, Andy Yiadom is our first choice right-back, and so he should be. His energy up and down the right hand side is a key part of how we play. It was under Jose Gomes, and it still is under Bowen, due to our lack of any real wingers.
He was a bit scruffy and sloppy in places, but having been out for two months, that is something you would expect. However, he still showed glimpses of why he’s one of the best full backs in the league and the fans were certainly happy to see him back in the team...
Where is Timbe. But Yids— micah (@m1c4hE19) February 12, 2020
Yids!!!!!!!— Cheryl_37 (@88Cheryl) February 12, 2020
Yiadom— Alex Wormald (@alexwormald112) February 12, 2020
Yiadom. Straight in, wow! Wasn't expecting that. Lol but welcome back.— David Andrews (@DavidAn55441852) February 12, 2020
Andy— Ben Turner (@benturrrner) February 12, 2020
Well done Andy great to see you back, you’ve been missed.— Michael Madigan (@BamadmanMichael) February 13, 2020
Strangely, another positive from yet another loss. Pele was once again an absolute colossus in midfield on Wednesday night against the Baggies. I’m sure that acquiring him on a permanent transfer is high up on the priority list for the summer by now, but if it’s not, it definitely should be as there will be other clubs circling.
In recent weeks, he has really found his feet in the Championship. He is defensively sound, his game awareness is second to none and he’s even began to break through the midfield with runs. This is something we have really missed with Andy Rinomhota finding himself on the bench more often than not this season.
He is certainly becoming a fans favourite, and with performances like the one against one of the best midfields in the league in West Brom, he thoroughly deserves to be one...
Our first priority in the summer, recruitment wise in my opinion is getting Pele on a permanent, if at all possible of course. He's become such a key player in the midfield for us #readingfc ⚽— Tom Maynard (@ttmaynard) February 12, 2020
Pele the only player to come away from that with any credit again. #readingfc— Jacob Potter (@pott95) February 12, 2020
In a fairly flat game, Pele has been outstanding. #readingfc— Ed Ryding (@EdRyding) February 12, 2020
After a fantastic Christmas period, we have (in true Reading style) failed to back that up with any real conviction and now find ourselves closer to the bottom three than the play-offs, with away trips to the likes of Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United on the horizon.
Our last win in the league was the away win against Fulham, which really should’ve been the catalyst for a rise up the table. This begs the question: what has gone wrong? We cannot blame it solely on the injury to Lucas Joao, and trying to find the answer to that question is really baffling the supporters...
These players have been awful under lots of managers, start blaming the blameless instead of the manager. Our centre backs are very poor. #readingfc— stuart edmonds (@ednoni) February 12, 2020
We are so poor WBA could/should be 4 up— Gavin Smith (@gavpsmith) February 12, 2020
Initial impact of Bowen has gone With just under 1/3 of the season left we could go slip and actually go this is so so bad #readingfc
People can say Bowen Out as much as they like but why would anything change? We've been poor under our last 5 managers, the real issue is with the recruitment at the club but no-one realises that. #readingfc— Tom Mitchell (@Tom_1871) February 12, 2020
Ejaria was atrocious tonight, swift poor again, centre backs absolutely awful, Rafael couldn’t catch a cold #readingfc— alex (@alexxmitchy) February 12, 2020
I understand where people are coming from when they say we shouldn’t worry about tonight as we grew well into the game tonight against top of the league. However I also agree we should 100% be looking over our shoulders now this form the past month is relegation form #Readingfc— Ben Brown (@benbrown__) February 13, 2020
Those who think we're clear of relegation are in dream land. Bowen has got us playing some of the worst football in the championship and the form table shows it. Buckle up for another relegation scrap. Bowens at the wheel! #readingfc— Ben (@BenParsons89) February 12, 2020
After the last few seasons I’ll happily settle for us just not being in relegation trouble with 3 games left of the season. Bring on mid table mediocrity. #readingfc— Thomas (@blickbuster) February 12, 2020
West Brom are a good team, but you just feel we made it far too easy for them on Wednesday night. And the annoying thing is with a result like that, the players and the manager can come out to the media after the game and play their get out of jail free card. That card being that the Baggies are top of the league.
Here’s hoping that it’s not actually what Bowen is saying behind closed doors, and we get a reaction on Saturday against Sheffield Wednesday.