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Luton Town Fans Verdict: Play-Off Dreams Over

Harry sums up how the fans reacted to another limp display from Pauno’s men, as the top-six hopes were put to an end once and for all.

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Earlier on in the season, I loved writing the Fans’ Verdicts. The outpouring of love from Reading supporters across Twitter was incredible. Having started doing this feature at the beginning of the 2018/2019 season, you can imagine that reading through positive tweets from happy Royals has been a nice change for me.

However, I’ve also seen first-hand the 180 flip that’s happened, pretty much ever since we walked all over Bournemouth at the end of January. And now, I’m expecting the tweets to be as down and subdued as they have been all season for this edition - and I’m not placing any blame on the fans for that.

It’s been a really bad past few weeks. Since that win over the Cherries, we’ve only won five out of 17 matches, which means we’re now going to miss out on the play-offs, and deservedly so.

I just want more for this team because they are so much better than what we’ve seen over recent months. We’ve seen that firsthand in the first half of the season. But when they’ve needed to step up, the be all and end all is that they haven’t - and our rivals have.

The fans were not happy after the Luton game on Wednesday evening, and who can blame them?

No fight

Sim’s match report from Wednesday evening was entitled ‘With A Whimper’ - and I honestly couldn’t think of a more apt title - as I'm sure the rest of the fanbase feel too.

That’s been the worst bit. We just haven’t looked up for it recently. Compare ourselves to Barnsley who scrap for everything and run you ragged - which I know is pretty much their style of play, and ours is much different - it’s like chalk and cheese.

We have a lot of flair players in this team, and when things don’t go the way of flair players, they tend to sulk - and unfortunately, the game against Luton summed that up perfectly. It’s so disappointing, and the fans didn’t hold back after the game...

Paunovic

Imagine if I told you after the eighth game of the season that, by the 43rd match of the campaign, there would be some fans calling for Pauno’s head. Crazy, right?

Pauno deserves criticism, he’s not immune from it. His substitutions are questionable (to say the least) most of the time, and recently I understand that his post-match interviews have become a bit tedious as our form’s dipped.

However, it’s his first season in charge - and nothing is ever, ever fixed by sacking your manager after one full season. We, more than anyone, should know that. Paunovic deserves time, but like I said is not immune from criticism.

There was a mixed reaction towards the gaffer on Wednesday night...

Top six gone

Paunovic and Laurent can say they’re not giving up as much as they like - the top-six dream is gone. A six-point gap with three games to go is far too big, and with Barnsley in completely polar-opposite form to us, it’s the end of the road for our play-off hopes, once and for all.

I said after the Cardiff City game that the fans (hopefully) will be able to look back at this season as a good one when the dust has settled - depending on what happens this summer of course. However, it’s still been torturous watching this team fall from grace so horrifically.

The fans were frustrated, gutted and angry after the Luton game - and rightly so. We’ve been let down by the team in recent weeks...

Conclusion

I was speechless after the game on Wednesday evening, I couldn’t believe what I’d watched - we didn't look hungry, we didn’t want to fight and we got punished for it. We got exactly what we deserved, and we could’ve had no complaints if we’d lost the game.

However, we have to look at this season as progression - going from what we’ve had in the last two/three years to what we have now is progression, that’s a fact. What I'm not so sure about though is our ability to build on it. Summers are never straightforward at this football club, and this one will be no different - so buckle in.

URZ