After the relentless excitement from the Loyal Royals after the 5-0 drubbing of Luton Town on Saturday afternoon, it was a big crash back down to earth on Tuesday night as Reading and Huddersfield played out one of the dullest 0-0 draws I can remember.
We’ve had our fair share of boring games in recent times, the two most recent trips to Stoke the first that spring to mind, but because the Huddersfield game came straight after one of the most exciting games in recent memory, it probably tops the lot as being the most boring, and disappointing.
It was really frustrating to see the performance level drop so considerably against the Terriers. We were really, really sloppy and hardly created any clear cut chances. On a positive though, the back four were again absolutely fantastic - particularly Tom McIntyre who is really relishing a run in the first team which I'm sure is brilliant to see for every Reading fan.
It was also odd to see how long Bowen waited to make changes. The game was dying for someone to come on who could pick out a pass and really run at defenders, however he waited until the 86th minute to make his second and third substitute - which puzzled the large majority of the fanbase.
Here's how the fans reacted to some of the key talking points...
Tom McIntyre and Gabriel Osho
They have both waited very patiently for their chance in the first team this season, but boy are they taking it now.
They were both brilliant against Luton, and arguably even better on Tuesday night against Huddersfield. Looking past the frustrations of our attacking, we were once again very very good defensively against the Terriers - and that is largely due to the mature performances put in by both Osho and McIntyre.
Hopefully now they both start to really kick on from the last couple of games, because if they do, we have two really talented defenders at our disposal.
Everyone loves academy player coming through, and they love it even more when there’s two! Here’s how the fans reacted to their performances on Twitter after the game...
Dull game so far, but Osho has had a real tasty first half. Really impressed. #Readingfc— Tim Patten (@TimRobinPatten) July 7, 2020
He needs to stay in the side now. He will make mistakes but has the right qualities to be a top player for us. We neet to start building that solid core to the side.— The Face (@TheFaceyBoy1) July 8, 2020
Please sign Osho on a long term deal #readingfc— Nigel Charles Vass (@Nigee87) July 7, 2020
This might be a boring game but really impressed with @Tom5Mc and @gabeosho again. They've been under it most of the game but kept on it with a some decent challenges, especially Osho across the box. Promising. #Readingfc @BBCBerkshire @willow1871— Reading FC 106 (@Reading106) July 7, 2020
Our Own ⚪— Joe (@RFCJoeJ) July 8, 2020
Letting Huddersfield into this too much now. McIntyre is an absolute rock. #readingfc— Trenchcoat (@Adamhumphries44) July 7, 2020
#ReadingFC Osho is such a good right back— Brian Lawton (@mxblawton) July 7, 2020
Osho is class #readingfc— « ♛ » (@jimboo106) July 7, 2020
Tom McIntyre though... #readingfc— Theodore Fitton (@TheoFitton95) July 7, 2020
Not for the first time, Bowen’s tactical decisions came under a bit of criticism on Tuesday evening. Firstly, the decision to start Jordan Obita in place of the injured Ovie Ejaria was a strange call with Michael Olise probably the better like-for-like replacement.
Then, the manager waited until the 86th minute to make a second substitution - in a game that was crying out for a Lucas Boye or a Garath McCleary to come on and try tp create something, that decision seemed very, very odd and surprised a fair few of the fanbase.
There is no real reason for not making the changes earlier, we weren’t playing very well at all. Was it stubbornness from Bowen? Naivety? I guess that’s a matter of opinion, but the fans certainly were a bit confused...
I really want to know what Bowen thinks he needs to do to address how bad we are going forward #readingfc— Dominic (@domwindle) July 7, 2020
@TheTilehurstEnd why do you think Bowen and the team play safe at home when there's no crowd #readingfc #playsafe— Mark Killick (@killick_mark) July 7, 2020
Really can't understand why Bowen is persisting with Obita on the left wing, get Masika or McCleary on. I like Obita and he's a good left back, but way to one dimensional as a winger, yes he can cross a ball but it's predictable #readingfc— Tom Maynard (@ttmaynard) July 7, 2020
How can Bowen be happy with how it’s going right now. Surely a draw is not good enough? How have changes not been made yet? #readingfc— Alex Lane-Kieltyka (@alex_elkay21) July 7, 2020
We need more attacking threat and we bring Boye on in the 85th minute? He needs more time to settle in the game surely? Dodgey by Bowen #readingfc https://t.co/R7BOIP8CzO— Luke (@Luke1871_) July 7, 2020
That game right there, highlights exactly why Mark Bowen will never take #ReadingFC any further than bottom half. The game was crying out for change, some flair, different shape, no left back at left wing. But he doesn’t have the knowledge or balls to make the changes. So poor.— LordCKS (@LordCKS) July 7, 2020
Piss poor that, Bowen has to make subs far earlier. Assuming Boye isn’t match fit but you need to be starting Olise or McCleary ahead of Obita there. Also silly taking Puscas off unless he needs a rest #readingfc— Nick Houlton (@Houlton11) July 7, 2020
2 clean sheets in a row, credit where it’s due Bowen has tightened us up this week. But another game at home where we are creating nothing and waits too long to have a go. 86th minute to bring on Boye and McCleary. Would like to see more intent. #ReadingFC— Alex Sheppard (@Alex_Shep_Urzz) July 7, 2020
It was the dullest 90 minutes of football I can remember. Neither team looked like they wanted to go out and win the game, which is probably more understandable from the visitors’ perspective - but from our point of view, it’s really poor that we haven’t done more to try and win the game.
The fans were left confused, frustrated but above all else, utterly bored. There was no creativity, spirit or recognisable effort from either team to try and get on the ball - it just looked like two very average teams cancelling each other out.
Unfortunately, when Bowen isn’t winning, his style of football really isn't the most pleasing on the eye - and that’s something the fans have noticed more and more throughout the season. Does the Welshman need to tweak his style of play?
The fans were left praying that we aren’t subjected to many more games of that nature, showing their frustration on Twitter after the game...
FT 0-0. I thought we were brilliant defensively again. Going forward we looked a bit slow and bored and nothing really worked for us today. No idea what Bowen was thinking making those subs so late, that was very poor by him. At least we got a point ⚪️ #readingfc https://t.co/cZDmAJR1lw— Luke (@Luke1871_) July 7, 2020
@willow1871 Wow that was a boring and lacklustre display. Outplayed for most parts by Huddersfield without really testing Rafael. Not having it that Puscas had a shot on target, we had one real shot in the 97th minute. Two hours Reading fans won’t get back #readingfc— James East (@JamesEast16) July 7, 2020
Same old Reading - it's boring now! Owners got to be worried about attendances.... #readingfc @willow1871— neil buckley (@therealbucks) June 30, 2020
@ReadingFC yet another dire & utterly boring home performance isn’t the best way to promote season ticket sales for next season! #readingfc— Andy C #FBPE (@AndyRFCCharman) July 7, 2020
That was probably the most boring game of football I’ve ever seen #readingfc— Joel (@Jdh72Joel) July 7, 2020
Boring boring Reading against a shocking Huddersfield side. Bowen playing one up front does make you wonder #readingfc— Mark Yeoman (@markyeoman12) July 7, 2020
Boring Bowen Ball #readingfc— Matthew (@cassell_matthew) July 7, 2020
90 minutes we will never get back.
Horrible crash down to earth after the unbelievable high of Saturday afternoon. Hopefully we get a reaction on Saturday against Charlton, another team who are fighting for their lives at the bottom of the table - it’s not going to be easy, and if we’re not careful we will find ourselves on the end of another bad result.