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Bristol City Fans Verdict: Schoolboy Defending Costs Royals

As you can imagine, the Loyal Royals weren’t in the best mood after Tuesday’s loss to the Robins - as ever, Harry rounds up the reaction.

PA Images via Getty Images

Ah, the highs and lows of football, how I’ve missed you. After the win on Saturday against Preston, the fans were in high spirits and somewhat positive about what was to come. However, in classic Reading Football Club style, the majority of that positivity was completely wiped out in the space of 90 minutes on Tuesday night.

That positivity was replaced with frustration and anger - some, in my opinion, justified, some not so much. However, what I think we can all agree on is that we can’t be that easy to score against, we just can’t.

From my seat in Club 1871 it was hard to see just how much space Weimann and Martin got for Bristol City’s first two goals - but having watched the highlights, my God, the players may as well have got deckchairs out and started reading a book. It was embarrassing.

From then on, as Morrison said in his post-match media duties, it was an uphill battle - and a battle that, despite flirting with fighting back twice, ended up being too tough to conquer. For that the players can only blame themselves.

Here's how the fans reacted to some of the key talking points...

The defending

This is probably the big one - and the most obvious talking point to come from the 90 minutes. Those first two goals were just unacceptable. We are a far cry from the defensive unit we saw at this stage last season.

We have looked vulnerable from set pieces in every game so far this season, and it needs to be sorted ASAP. In this league in particular, you can’t be easy to score against at set pieces, or else you’re going to concede bucket loads.

I think it’s fair to say that the fans are, in general, happy with our attacking output so far this season. But it’s clear to see that that is definitely not the case when it comes to our performances defensively, as the Bristol City game proved again...

Lucas Joao injury

This may be cheating as it wasn't technically within the 90 minutes, but, for me, it’s the worst thing to come from Tuesday night. Poor defending can (hopefully) be fixed on the training ground and on the pitch, losing your talisman cannot.

Joao being out until January is disastrous if we don’t bring in a replacement - especially when you combine that with Meite’s long-term injury too. That’s half of our goals from last season gone. Which is very, very worrying.

It’s clear to see too that I’m not the only one in this camp too, as the fans reacted with shock after hearing the news...

Tom Dele-Bashiru

I always like to be a bit balanced in these Fans Verdicts - where that is possible. And the performance of debutant Tom Dele-Bashiru on Tuesday has allowed me to do that. He was a glimmer of hope in what was otherwise a very disappointing evening.

He played off the left hand side after replacing Bristow at half time and looked a real handful. He had a nice touch, got at the Bristol defence and, in general, showed signs that he could be a really good player for us this year. Don’t be surprised to see him in the starting eleven on Saturday.

Here’s what the fans had to say about TDB’s promising cameo...

Conclusion

A disappointing evening all in all. But not one that should result in mass panic in my opinion. We’re still only three games into a 46-match season, so there is still a lot of time to go and a lot of time to fix things, although the defending needs to be fixed sooner rather than later.

Like I said previous, the worst bit of Tuesday night was hearing Joao is out until January - we need to get someone in. It’s as simple as that. If we don’t, it could be a tough, tough season.

URZ.