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...
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...
Yep, easily player of the season so far— Ewan (@ewan_sparrow) November 6, 2021
Andy Yiadom— david witney (@davidwitney4) November 6, 2021
Obviously Clarke was immense and deserves MOTM, but what a shift from Yiadom - especially second half, looked so threatening— Sean Burgess (@SeanKB94) November 6, 2021
Great to see Yiadom picking up several different attacking positions which the new formation gives him license to do. Cancelo & Walker have this level of freedom from RB and thrive. Yiadom is a very well rounded player who offers plenty going forward. #readingfc https://t.co/E4tjegOETu pic.twitter.com/lz2iBzWfHp— Ed Ryding (@EdRyding) November 6, 2021
Best player by a mile. Class.— Keano (@CKeaney98) November 6, 2021
Totally agree, to me he seems to be the most consistent player in the team, if other players could turn in performance in the same way this team would be challenging game in game out, just wish the useless organisation would deduct the points now and let us all enjoy the season— NorthDevonRoyal (@NorthDevonRoyal) November 6, 2021
Clarke might get a lot of plaudits tonight but full props to the management for the system change at half time and to Yiadom for an inspired 2nd half performance #ReadingFC— Alex Everson (@Readingfanman) November 6, 2021
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...
Protect Clarke at all costs!!!! Wrap him in bubble wrap. Tie him down to a 10 year contract. He is our new messiah. I may be overreacting…#readingfc— Chris Beale (@bealec1988) November 6, 2021
As if Clarke us trolling the home fans, what a boy! Huge result for us #Readingfc— Christopher Hamblin (@ChrisH1871) November 6, 2021
WE WON AND CLARKE SCORED A DOUBLE WHAT A LIFE WE LIVE #readingfc— Harry Sands (@SarryHands) November 6, 2021
What a header from Clarke, great finish to the game, I love watching #readingfc away ⚽️⚽️— Simon Edwards (@Madstad109) November 6, 2021
Shoutout to Clarke tho taking his chances give this lad a start against forest he deserves it ⚽️ #readingfc— Miles (@Milesyyy12) November 6, 2021
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...
I’m so confused, according to most fans on here we lost the game after 3 minutes today and Pauno was sacked. Just looked and saw we won 1-2. Most bizarre thing I’ve seen all week #Readingfc— Steve (@Steviep1871) November 6, 2021
Unreal result considering the circumstances, especially coming back from behind. In Pauno we trust! #Readingfc— Louis Stagg (@dinglouis_) November 6, 2021
Great result. Fair play to Mitrovic/Pauno for actually getting the subs on today. Clarke #readingfc— Ben (@BenParsons89) November 6, 2021
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.