Every single time I think I’ve seen everything this football club has got to offer, they manage to conjure up something else that makes me question why I continue to trudge up and down the country to watch them. It’s not good for my health, it really isn’t.
I’m sure Saturday was quite great entertainment for any neutrals who managed to catch the highlights after the game, but for us Reading fans it was an all too familiar story of how this club can pick us up and then bring us crushing back down to earth.
There were positives, of course. I mean, for a starter at least it was better than the Huddersfield Town horror show. However, it’s clear to see that we’re still a team low on confidence and, at the moment, low on quality defensively.
If you score three goals at home, there is no way you should not be winning that football match. And that should’ve been the case, we should've walked away with all three points. With 10 minutes to go, we were 3-1 up and everything was rosy. But what happened after that was, quite frankly, embarrassing - but entirely predictable.
Here’s how the fans reacted to the key talking points...
Honestly, this lad must be going home after every game thinking ‘what more can I possibly do?’ He has started this season in imperious form and produced yet another show-stopping performance on Saturday - bagging his first-ever professional hat trick.
They were three wonderful goals too, it has to be said, all of which were finished off beautifully by Swifty. He has carried us so far this season, and without him we’d be even worse off than we already are. He’s a joy to watch when he plays like he is currently and boy are we lucky to have him.
The fans certainly loved his performance, showing their adoration on Twitter...
Despite the late comeback, let’s just take time and appreciate how good John Swift is #readingfc— Matty Dempster (@DempsterRfc) September 11, 2021
john swift beat player in the league by the way. it’s not close. #readingfc— g (@GEATON98) September 11, 2021
We don’t deserve Swift. Feel so bad for him when we’re conceding 3 goals a game #readingfc— George (@1871_GS) September 11, 2021
John Swift is honestly one of the most talented players I’ve ever seen grace the mad stad #readingfc— KizzleRicks (@KieranBarrett66) September 11, 2021
John Swift appreciation post. What a player, best in the championship! #readingfc— Joe Denslow (@JoeDenslow) September 12, 2021
Swift is the best player in the championship, there’s no question about it #readingfc— Saul (@Saul1871) September 12, 2021
From the wonderfully good to the horribly bad (and the predictable). What is it about our defence at the moment? It’s just awful. We've now shipped 16 goals in six league games and there are no signs of improvement coming from anywhere.
Conceding from ANOTHER set piece was bad enough; the lack of leadership, accountability and game management after going 3-1 up were laughable. As soon as Andre Gray scored to make it 3-2, you knew exactly what was going to happen. We sat back and essentially invited them to score, and they did.
We just have to see out that game. 3-1 up with 10 minutes to go, you cannot capitulate the way we did. And the fans were rightfully fuming...
3 goals conceded again stoke, 3 goals conceded against Bristol City, 4 goals conceded against Huddersfield and 3 goals conceded today.— Jack (@thesimpsonRFC) September 11, 2021
A combination of bad managemrnt and poor defending is to blame for Reading's current predicament.
Big decisions are needed #readingfc
The defending for QPRs second goal was shocking. Moore and Morrison failed to pick up the only striker in the box. Defend that and we win the game. #readingfc— Paul Smith (@Skeptichead) September 12, 2021
What a mess. Watching the highlights over again and the defending is diabolical . If we could actually stop conceding we'd look a lot more likely to finish around mid table. As it stands we look likely to be around the bottom three. WTAF are they doing in training? #ReadingFC— Milo (@MiloRoyal1871) September 12, 2021
Unfortunately yet again defence letting us down 16 goals conceded is a disgrace we even have the championship top goalscorer i really hope Dann can sort the cbs out #readingfc— Jamie Cresswell (@Jamiecresswell) September 11, 2021
We’ve got the joint 5th best attack in the league….— Micah (@1871M1C4H) September 11, 2021
And we have the worst defence in the Football League. What an absolute mess. #readingfc
What is actually wrong with our defence... First goal wasn't great. Second I don't know what Moore/Morro were doing between them... Morro was behind play and Moore didn't fancy picking up the man. Third I don't get why Morro was ball watching.. again the CBs costing us #readingfc— Max Howard (@MaxHoward_15) September 11, 2021
He still deserves time, that is unquestionable in my opinion. However, Saturday really wasn’t a good day at the office for the boss. Although the result was not decided upon one substitution, the decision to take Puski off and bring on Holmes was absolutely baffling.
George Puscas was causing QPR all sorts of problems and was a genuine out ball for the entire game. He was playing really well. So to take him off to go five at the back and leave Swift as our striker was questionable to say the least.
The fans were fuming with the decision, and even more question marks began to appear over Pauno’s long-term future as boss...
That’s what you get for taking off your striker for a CB with 10 minutes to go Pauno #readingfc— Nick Houlton (@Houlton11) September 11, 2021
i defend pauno all the time…but it’s the same mistakes over and over. subs have always been horrible, really thought he’d learn his lesson by now. embarrassing collapse..poor swift #readingfc— ً (@_jord19x) September 11, 2021
Big game for pauno Tuesday.— JD0tD (@Jd0tD) September 11, 2021
Has to win otherwise he is gone.
Which is why I can see him losing.
I'm not calling for his sacking by any means. We knew it would he a tough season.
Owners have history. #readingfc
Pauno has turned out to be exactly how Chicago Fire fans said he would be. I wanted him to do well, I want every #ReadingFC manager to do well, but this isn't working at all. 2 wins in the last 17 games, no tactical nous or game management. Simply out of his depth and must go.— Milo (@MiloRoyal1871) September 11, 2021
Can't help but feel Pauno's time at #readingfc is running out. Our front 4/5 were excellent and to take off a player who was key to that felt like tactical suicide. I don't want us to keep sacking managers, but if he's not learning from repeat mistakes what other option is there?— Ross Mobsby (@RJMobsby) September 11, 2021
That sub from Pauno was bloody idiotic. Why on earth go five at the back. #readingfc— Tommo (@Rfctomo) September 11, 2021
Tuesday is make or break for Pauno. Showed improvements yesterday in the second half but if we keep leaking goals and not winning games, he's got to go #readingfc— AidenRFC (@AidenRFC_) September 12, 2021
A familiarly frustrating day as Reading fan. I love Pauno, I really do and there is no way in my opinion he should be sacked. We've done that many times before and it’s never worked. We have to give him time.
However, the owners have history with sacking managers. And I do fear for his future if he doesn’t start picking up results soon. Tuesday night it is a massive game, absolutely huge. And could be the perfect night to kick start our season.