Mark Bowen said during his media duties last week that anything less than a win at Pride Park would be a disappointing result, which seemed a strange thing to say at the time, and even more so now we actually lost the game.
The performance though, for large parts of the game, wasn’t actually too bad. It was a very scrappy game overall, with neither team really playing much silky football, but Reading were solid without doing anything really spectacular - which the fans found quite frustrating.
The only real clear cut goal mouth action I can remember us creating was George Puscas’ chance in the first half which he blazed over and Andy Rinomhota’s consolation goal - which itself was more a fortuitous moment rather than a good bit of football.
If the Royals’ attacking play frustrated the fans, then the levels of defending - particularly in the first half - would’ve made their blood boil. Well, it did make their blood boil.
Bowen’s men ultimately lost the game in the last few minutes of the first half as they conceded two quick fire goals. The first being a good finish from Tom Lawrence before Liam Moore felled Waghorn in the box allowing Rooney to convert from the spot. Another example of Reading’s inability to see out halves of football after the last minute equaliser last week.
Here’s how the fans reacted to the key talking points...
With Lucas Joao looking like he’ll be out for another period of time, it means Puscas will probably find himself in the starting eleven for the remainder of the season - which he did on Saturday afternoon.
However, the Romanian international didn't have his greatest afternoon. I am a big fan of his, and still think he needs and deserves time to settle into a completely alien league and country - but he did look more than off the pace against the Rams.
It doesn’t help when he's playing in a system which so obviously doesn’t play to his strengths - it’s clear to see for everyone that he needs someone up there alongside him. But he came in for more than a fair bit of criticism from the Reading faithful after the game...
If we don't cash in on puscas I'll be surprised #readingfc— Todd-ED (@TED247) June 27, 2020
Puscas shouldn’t even be on the bench Tuesday, another terrible performance, cash in #readingfc— mitch (@mitch78548311) June 27, 2020
Puscas with a complete and total lack of support this game #ReadingFC— Adam (@adamaust13) June 27, 2020
Cash in on Puscas. Consistently not good enough. #readingfc— Sam Warren (@SamWarr62044501) June 27, 2020
Not sure what Puscas' role is?#ReadingFC— Mick Day (@MickDay99) June 27, 2020
Need 2 up top with Puscas playing. He isn’t a lone striker, surely you’d think Bowen would understand that? No point in playing him in a system that makes him look below average.. #readingfc— Ben Matthews. (@BenMatthews21) June 27, 2020
Pușcaș simply cannot play up top on his own too, we've seen it far to many times be ineffective. And how many times have we conceded right at the end of the half, we switch off and lose focus far to often #readingfc— Tom Maynard (@ttmaynard) June 27, 2020
Puscas is terrible... #readingfc— Digger (@JB_Digger) June 27, 2020
Yet again Reading showed lack of concentration; this time it was double trouble as we managed to concede two very poor goals in the last two minutes of the first half.
You would’ve hoped that they may have learned from what happened last week against Stoke, but evidently not as first Lawrence found the back of the net before Rooney planted his penalty into the bottom corner after skipper Moore clumsily tripped Waghorn.
It is something that Bowen needs to have a look at going into the remainder of this season and now looking ahead to next season - with this loss all but ending any slim play off hopes we had.
The fans were left ruing defensive mistakes on social media after the game yet again...
Moore having a big McShane moment, got away with one and gives away pen two mins later #readingfc— Keir Tomlin (@Keir_Tomlin) June 27, 2020
Said it all season, Moore is not as good a defender as he thinks he is. Always yards away from his man and hardly puts a clean tackle in. Saying that, soft penalty. #readingfc— stuart edmonds (@ednoni) June 27, 2020
Some absolutely dreadful defending that... #readingfc— Luke (@gibbsey517) June 27, 2020
Such a bad penalty to concede, powder puff defending from #ReadingFC— Jamie Harden (@MrCompo) June 27, 2020
Shocking defending before the penalty too. Where was Richards on the left. Ghosting as usual. #readingfc #Derby— Tim Patten (@TimRobinPatten) June 27, 2020
Tom McIntyre simply has to start next game. Stupid defending yet again. #readingfc— Jacob Potter (@pott95) June 27, 2020
Last five minutes of the half and it’s now game over! Poor defending Reading! Need to concentrate! #readingfc @ReadingFC— James (@B3rt1e) June 27, 2020
Miazga red card
One of the biggest talking points from the game actually came after the final whistle when Tom Lawrence and Matt Miazga decided to have a scrap on the pitch.
Miazga has been guilty of lashing out before - getting away with a stray elbow in the away game at QPR earlier in the season - and he was more than guilty this time as the replays showed him slapping Lawrence after the Welshman appeared to move his head towards Miazga’s.
Reaction was torn from the fanbase after the game as, after Lawrence’s drink-driving antic’s earlier in the season, it’s fair to say the Welsh winger isn't the most popular player amongst opposition fans.
It is something Miazga has to work on though, how to hold in his aggression. It was a needless red card and might just be his last actions in a Reading shirt...
Matt Miazga vs Tom Lawrence #readingfc #dcfc pic.twitter.com/EPc5bBvp40— Imran Escőbar (@razor5edge) June 27, 2020
I really really hope that Miazga told Lawrence he should be in jail #readingfc— Harrison Mitchell (@harrison1871rfc) June 27, 2020
Miazga lumped a drink driver. He was doing a public service. Can’t criticise him for that. #readingfc— Chris Beale (@bealec1988) June 27, 2020
Love Miazga’s passion but unfortunately he can be a bit of a hot head. #readingfc— Andy C #FBPE (@AndyRFCCharman) June 27, 2020
Good to end on a positive with Matt Miazga landing a great shot on target for the royals. MOM for me, purely for that. #ReadingFC— JackOliverG (@JackOliverG) June 27, 2020
Matt Miazga is an absolute hero #readingfc #dcfc https://t.co/FZ3953cqK2— Adam (@adamaust13) June 27, 2020
A poor result for the Royals which means that we are more than likely going to end up in mid table mediocrity. Which is an improvement on the last few seasons but still quite frustrating.
Bowen now needs to turn his attention to next season and trying to take some sort of form or positivity into that.
The small matter of a game against third-place Brentford up next.