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Birmingham City Fans Verdict: Clarke Inspires Incredible Turnaround

Here's how the fans reacted to a rewarding trip to the Second City.

PA Images via Getty Images

For long periods, Saturday’s game felt a little bit like deja vu, didn’t it? Looking good enough on the ball without having any real conviction in our attacks and the regulatory smattering of criminal defending.

At half time, 1-0 down and with a very young bench (even by our recent standards) it felt like same old, same old. And I don't think there were many of the travelling contingent who had any hopes of any kind of comeback being possible.

Step forward, Jahmari Clarke. We’ve all become used to seeing Clarke come off the bench, but usually it’s with 10-15 minutes to go when the games already lost. This time however he replaced Puski at half time, and ended up winning us the game with a brace.

It was a wonderful example of how much your emotions can change in 90 minutes of football. The fans went from apathy to utter delirium within the space of 20 minutes. I haven’t celebrated a goal like that winner in a long time.

Here’s how the fans reacted to the key talking points...

Andy Yiadom

Although it was Clarke who stole the headlines (and rightly so), a lot of credit needs to go the performance of this man. It was a display that showed why when it comes to offering new deals to players out of contract next summer, Yids needs to be high up on the priority list.

Starting at right wing back before moving out to the right wing, he was a constant threat going forwards and was probably our biggest attacking outlet all game.

His performance was summed up by his strong tackle and Messi-esque run that led to the winner. He was superb, and the fans loved what they saw from him...

Jahmari Clarke

I have to say, in his fleeting appearances so far in a Reading shirt, Clarke hadn’t showed me anything that suggested he should be starting games regularly. However, I guess when you only get given 10 minutes at the end of the game it’s hard to do that.

I think it’s fair to say that he’s more than a viable option up top now. The first goal was an absolute bullet of a header before scoring the winner with a classic poacher’s finish.

He sent that away end into raptures in the second half, and the fans carried that love onto Twitter after the game...

Pauno

For some reason, there seemed to be a heap of criticism for Pauno on Saturday morning before the game. Some fans even suggested that if Reading were to lose to Blues then Pauno should be sacked.

Every fan is entitled to their opinion, of course they are. Personally though I feel it’s hard to blame Pauno for our recent struggles; we currently have more than 11 first-team players out injured. Any team in the country would struggle with that amount of injuries.

However, after the game, there was credit thrown the way of the gaffer as - even from his living room - he switched the formation and brought on Clarke, which ultimately won us the game.

Here’s what the fans had to say about Paunovic after the game...

Conclusion

There is nothing better in football than a late away win. Absolutely nothing at all. The players recovered from a tough start and, thanks to Jahmari Clarke and a tactical switch from Paunovic, managed to come away with all three points.

But I think I speak for us all when I say thank God for the international break. It’s been a tough period to be a Reading fan, and make no mistake there are more tough times on the way too. But at least this gives us a glimmer of hope and a little ray of sunshine.

URZ