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Luton Town Fans Verdict: Youthful Royals Fall To FA Cup Defeat

Harry rounds up the reaction of the Loyal Royals as they watched their team fall at the first FA Cup hurdle.

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From Veljko Paunovic’s comments in his pre-match media duties, I think we all expected to see a much-changed line-up for Saturday’s FA Cup tie against Luton Town, and he stuck to his word. There was no Josh Laurent, Andy Rinomhota, Lucas Joao, Ovie Ejaria, Michael Morrison, Rafael, Omar Richards, John Swift or George Puscas to be seen anywhere in the squad, which I think tells us all Paunovic’s priorities this season.

You can understand that point of view for a few different reasons: a) our position in the league b) the already hectic schedule and c) the fact that we don’t have the squad depth of our Championship rivals. But I still think there may be a few fans who are quietly annoyed that we’ve fallen at the first hurdle.

However, there were a lot of positives to take from Saturday lunchtime’s game. The players that came in, who were mainly promoted from the under-23s, did themselves and our youth system very proud with their performance. Unfortunately, they just lacked that end product.

On the whole though, the fans were happy with what they saw. Here’s how they reacted after the game...

Young players

The fact that a huge amount of our key players were rested meant that chances arose for a number of academy players. Oli Pendlebury made his first professional start in the heart of midfield and looked at home at this level, highly rated Jeriel Dorsett showed promise and Luke Southwood proved again he’s more than a handy back-up to Rafael.

For the last 10 minutes or so, 10 out of the 11 players on the pitch were academy players, which is a wonderful thing to say. After taking a half to find their feet, the youngsters looked really good after the break, but just lacked that killer instinct. Overall though, the fans were impressed...

Missed chances

For all of Reading’s good play in the second half, they just couldn’t find that killer touch, which left the fans very frustrated. How Sone Aluko hit the bar I will never know, while Jayden Onen and Nahum Melvin-Lambert were both also guilty of missing a couple of really good chances.

Everything up to the final shot was brilliant in the second half, but those are the fine margins that win or lose you games. You have to wonder, if it were someone like Puscas on the end of those chances, whether we’d be out the cup or not.

Here’s how the fans reacted...

All eyes on the league

Whether you agree with it or not, Paunovic showed on Saturday that all of his proverbial eggs are in the promotion basket. I know it would’ve been nice to progress further in the cup and I actually do think that Pauno could’ve taken it a bit more seriously and included players like Swift or Puscas to help them progress in their recovery.

However, it just wasn't to be, and I think the large majority of the fanbase do understand Pauno’s point of view and have themselves already switched their attentions back to the league...

Conclusion

A frustrating result and outcome but a positive performance. Hindsight is great so it's easy for us to say Pauno should’ve played some more ‘senior’ players, but that doesn't guarantee a better result.

Pauno’s choices can't be changed now so it’s important we just look forward to the rest of the Championship season.

URZ