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Charlton Fans Verdict: Early Puscas Penalty Enough For Three Points

A summary of the Loyal Royals’ reaction to the gritty win against Lee Bowyer’s Charlton Athletic.

It seems that the result on Saturday has split the opinion of the Reading FC fanbase. I’ve seen some people saying how good it was to see the team win ugly - with ugly being understatement of the year - and then I’ve seen others again criticising Bowen’s tactical decisions and style of play, which is understandable considering we finished the game with seven defenders (including three left backs) on the pitch.

I think there's definitely arguments for both, but considering we are now destined for mid-table mediocrity and had literally nothing to play for going into the game against a team fighting for their lives at the bottom, to see the players put in the effort they did and throw their bodies on the line was brilliant to see.

Rinomhota won a penalty in the third minute which Puscas duly converted, and that was enough for all three points as the Royals went on to only have one more shot on target all game, but defend like their lives depended on it.

Again, the entire back four were phenomenal yet again, particularly Michael Morrison and Tom McIntyre - as we managed to secure our third clean sheet on the bounce, which was probably aided by the fact that, like I said earlier, we finished the game with seven defenders on the pitch. Seven.

Here’s how the fans reacted to the key talking points to come from a win that mathematically secured our Championship status for at least another season...

Another clean sheet

For the second time this season, Reading secured a third consecutive clean sheet - surely something that is music to the ears of every Reading fan. This time it came against Charlton.

Osho, Morrison, McIntyre and Blackett have all been superb in the last few games, as has the man behind them between the sticks, Rafael. The two centre backs in particular were phenomenal on Saturday, as the Royals came under the cosh a bit in the second half as Charlton tried to find a way back into the game.

The team that ended the game was defensive minded to say the very least, with Bowen opting to use four of his five substitutes to bring on more defenders - but it did the trick, and sometimes winning ugly is just as good and satisfying as winning beautifully.

The fans were certainly pleased that the defensive record continued to improve...

Mark Bowen

Yes, we won really, really ugly - it wasn't free-flowing, we were sloppy in possession for the majority of the game - but it was a vital three points, one that secured our Championship status for another season.

However, some fans still found an angle to criticise Bowen for his tactical decisions again and his style of football - which admittedly isn't the most pleasing on the eye by any means.

Personally I think it's a bit unfair to be having a go at Bowen, we ultimately won the game - albeit by making the second half 10 times harder than it really should’ve been - and yes, playing with three defenders on the pitch isn’t going to make for eye-catching entertainment. But, we have to give him some credit don’t we? The fact that if the Championship started when he joined we’d be in fifth position should speak volumes.

Like I said though, the fans are certainly split down the middle when it comes to opinions on the gaffer...

Academy players

We are a club, and a fanbase, who have always taken pride in our academy system. I'm sure I’m not the only one who’s loving the fact that the likes of McIntyre, Osho, Richards, Olise and Rinomhota are all now key members of the first-team squad.

The key thing is that they are all trusted players too; I don't get nervous when I see any of them on the team sheet, in fact it fills me with confidence. Rinomhota, McIntyre and Osho were brilliant against Charlton and were certainly sent a lot of post-game on Twitter.

These players are the future of our club, and have all proven this season that they can really cut it at this level and will hopefully go on to be very important players for us in the coming seasons.

The fans absolutely seeing academy players progress into the first team, as you can tell from these tweets...

Conclusion

A good win. Not the prettiest, but they can’t all be can they? And sometimes seeing your team win like that is better than seeing them win 4-0, it shows fight, attitude and character that they have been criticised for not having much of recently.

Now let’s finish the season on a high.

URZ