Going to Elland Road and coming away with a result is always a very difficult task, and that proved to be the case yet again on Saturday afternoon as high-flying Leeds United ran out winners against Mark Bowen’s team.
Leeds are a very good team and will more than likely be playing their football in the Premier League next campaign, so there is no real shame in losing to them by a one-goal margin on their home turf. In fact, the players should take a lot of positives from their performance.
Apart from a few moments in the first half and obviously the goal, we managed to nullify Leeds quite successfully and limit them to very few clear-cut chances. Also, in the first half especially, we looked quite dangerous on the break, and on another day could’ve taken the lead on a couple of occasions.
However, Leeds ended up being too strong and, as the Royals began to fade in the second half, took the lead through Pablo Hernandez and managed to hold on to that lead for the remainder of the game.
There was plenty to be upbeat about though for the Loyal Royals, even in defeat. Here’s how they reacted to some of the key talking points to come from the game,,,
This lad is a special talent, he really is. Only drafted into the starting eleven because of a very late warm up injury to Ovie Ejaria, Olise had big shoes to fill at very short notice - but that didn't seem to faze the youngster as he one of the brightest performers all afternoon.
Olise is obviously still a young, inexperienced player but his natural raw talent is there for all to see, and was summed up with a sumptuous piece of skill when he pirouetted away from two Leeds players in the first half.
Bowen has stated that he can now trust him and that's great news for Olise, who the fans should be expecting to see more and more in the first team in the coming weeks and months.
His performance against Leeds certainly got people talking...
Lads, considering how bright Olise has started, Ejaria being injured just before the game might be a blessing in disguise... #ReadingFC— Seth Dakota Shanager (@NCCDakota) February 22, 2020
The boy did great today— karen da silva (@karenmatthew66) February 22, 2020
Little bit naughty that— crossy12345678 (@crossy12345678) February 23, 2020
Shame about Ejaria, but Olise has stepped up to the mark with some fantastic play Incredible tempo to the game too you'd think we were both fighting for top 2. Special mention to Pele, Richards and Morrison too, although everyone is doing well, even Puscas! #ReadingFC— ɢᴀʀᴇᴛʜ (@GarethRG12) February 22, 2020
That Olise spin. Outrageous. He's been learning from Ejaria. #readingfc— jordanOliver (@JordanWindle) February 22, 2020
It’s never nice to lose a game of football, but sometimes you have to scratch under the surface and look at the performance more than the result. At the end of the day, it’s a results business but Bowen will be proud of the way his players applied themselves at Elland Road.
We faded towards the end and the defending for the goal was disappointing, but there was still plenty for the players, fans and manager to be positive about. We defended resolutely, nullified the threats of Leeds for large parts of the game and went toe-to-toe with the second best team in the division.
Here’s what the fans had to say after the game regarding the performance of the players...
As poor as that 2nd half was we should avoid having another meltdown. Leeds are a good side and for most of the game we have them a good go. Olise and Morrison both terrific. Just need to work a bit harder to grind results in future #readingfc— Tom Mitchell (@Tom_1871) February 22, 2020
A 1-0 defeat to leeds isnt that bad. I thought we played well especially defensively we just ran out of ideas and panicked to much when we were got on the edge of leeds penalty area there was alot of positives out of today #readingfc— Josh T (@JRfc1871) February 22, 2020
A tough game and as expected, we haven’t come away with anything. A good, defensively solid 1st half and great effort by the players throughout. Leeds by far the better team in the 2nd half and we were struggling to withstand their relentless pressure. On to Wigan now #readingfc— Oli Bryant (@OliB_RFC) February 22, 2020
Nothing negative to say about the performance today apart from the usual struggles to score BUT.. would be nice if we could cause an upset once in a while #readingfc— vitooo (@v1to__) February 22, 2020
Can’t fault the performance of the majority of the players apart from Meite probably. Had chances in that one, move onto the next. #readingfc— Jacob Potter (@pott95) February 22, 2020
There was one main bugbear among the fanbase after the game though, and that was Bowen’s decision to only make one substitution - with Charlie Adam replacing John Swift towards the end of the 90 minutes.
We were 1-0 down and chasing the game so to only make one change, and that change to not involve bringing on a striker, was a decision that raised a few eyebrows for the Loyal Royals after the game.
Here’s what the fans had to say regarding Bowen’s decision on Twitter after the game...
Mark Bowen doesn't make it easy for himself does he... #readingfc— ReeceRFC (@Reece_RFC) February 22, 2020
team played great today only problem was bowen’s decision making. How he didn’t put baldock on in the last 15 mins idk #readingfc— Alistair Brown (@alibrown_29) February 22, 2020
Did I miss Dellor asking Bowen why he chose to play Moore up front as a striker rather than bring Baldock on (and Baldock’s reaction to that) or did he forget to ask the obvious? #readingfc— Andy C #FBPE (@AndyRFCCharman) February 22, 2020
One sub? Baldock coming on and injecting some energy could have been a positive. #readingfc— t w (@WaltersWears) February 22, 2020
Tough game, just beaten by the better side today. Not a terrible performance but no idea what Bowen was thinking with those subs. Utterly toothless upfront and that's the difference between us being a lower mid table and a top ten side in this division. #ReadingFC— Milo (@MiloRoyal1871) February 22, 2020
How has Bowen— Calum (@caldini4) February 22, 2020
A) Only made one sub
B) Made the worst sub possible #readingfc
Thought we should have taken a point today given how the game went but for the life of me I’ve no idea why we only made 1 sub #readingfc— alex (@alexxmitchy) February 22, 2020
A decent performance, but ultimately another loss. However, our fixture schedule is now looking a lot healthier with what you would call more winnable games coming up on the near horizon - starting with Wigan’s visit to the Mad Stad on Wednesday evening.