Tuesday was a huge game - one that, just seven matches into the season, had already been teed up as a relegation six-pointer as fellow struggles Peterborough United came to town.
After the shambles of recent weeks - particularly in a defensive capacity - we needed to see a reaction. And, all in all, I think we got that, albeit with a few bumps along the way, in traditional Reading Football Club style.
The performance in the first half wasn’t great, as yet again we struggled to break down a low defensive block. However, thanks to three moments of individual quality and some handy interventions from Luke Southwood between the sticks, we managed to hold on to all three points - which could be a massive mental boost for us going forward.
It was Tom Dele-Bashiru who ended up stealing the show - bagging his first two goals for the club - with Swifty chipping in with his customary piece of magic too.
The fans were in a good mood after the game - well, certainly a better mood than they have been in recent weeks. Here’s what they had to say...
In his limited appearances so far, TDB has looked exciting without doing anything of real note. However, in the second half of Tuesday night’s game (after a particularly poor first-half performance I must say) he clicked into gear and showed us a taster of what could be to come.
His first goal - Reading’s second - was a beautifully taken touch and finish after some good work down the right hand side from Puski. And then the Watford loanee sealed all three points with an absolute peach.
The fans were certainly impressed with his performance, and are eager to see more from him...
Tom Dele-BASH-IT-IN-THE-NET #readingfc— calum (@caldini4) September 14, 2021
Dele-Bashiru is incredible, will be a very decent player for us. #readingfc— Royals Stu (@RoyalStu1871) September 14, 2021
Ain’t nobody like Tom Dele, makes me happy, makes me feel this way #readingfc #RFC #REAPET #watfordfc #hornets— Joshua Verroken (@joshverroken) September 14, 2021
TOM— Adam (@formuladam) September 14, 2021
Tom Dele and Swift are on another level #readingfc— George (@1871_GS) September 14, 2021
Tom Dele-Bashiru is an absolute baller. Bossed the midfield against QPR on Saturday and was awesome again tonight #readingfc— Ben de Souza (@ben_deS_94) September 14, 2021
TDB #readingfc— Alex (@alexshepherdd) September 14, 2021
TDB pls don’t go back in January I’ll cry #readingfc— TheBoysInHoops (@wills1871) September 14, 2021
You’d think the amount I’ve talked about him so far in these pieces this season, I’d be getting a bit bored. I’m not.
I am so, so happy for this bloke. I don’t want to take any credit for anything but I have been in this man’s corner ever since he joined, while he’s received more than his fair share of criticism. Now he is silencing all those haters, and showing why he is our most important player.
He continued his fine form on Tuesday night with a worldie of a free kick - which went down very well with the fans, who again showed their adoration after the game...
Thank you John Swift once again #readingfc pic.twitter.com/wGZXQnqVjd— Graham Addison (@GrahamAddison7) September 14, 2021
John Swift a CAM. Best player in the league by a distance. Incredible start. #urz #readingfc pic.twitter.com/qw5PZMH23q— Ed blythman (@Ed_Blythman) September 14, 2021
John swift is the best player in the league. #readingfc— jacob ainscough (@ainscough_jacob) September 14, 2021
P.s. Swift is the greatest player of all time #readingfc— Nick Houlton (@Houlton11) September 14, 2021
John Swift was top top drawer again tonight. Absolutely key to everything good we do.— Jon Gould (@JonG0uld) September 14, 2021
How much would you sell him for in January if an offer comes in? Is there a (sensible) number too good to turn down assuming we’ll lose him on a free at the end of the summer? #ReadingFC
John swift at his best is unplayable at this level #readingfc— Luke Thurlow (@luke_1871) September 15, 2021
Swift is on fire, your defense is terrified #readingfc— Olly_URZ (@OllyURZ) September 15, 2021
John Swift has 7 goals in the first 7 league games this season. For #readingfc this has only been bettered by MacPhee, R. Blackman and K. Dixon, with Davey, R. Williams, Senior and Quinn matching the feat. Great achievement by Swift considering all the others were centre-forwards— Chris Lee (@cribsie) September 15, 2021
A vital win
Let’s be honest, the overall performance wasn’t the greatest. The fans’ reaction on Twitter after the game seemed to back that up. But what the fans also appeared to agree on is that the only thing that mattered is we ended the night with three more points than we started it.
And the fact that it was almost de ja vu to Saturday, but we managed to hold on and even go and score again, *should* do the players the world of good and settle some nerves.
This team needs confidence, because when the play with it, we can match anyone in this league. And wins like Tuesday will give them more confidence.
It will also keep the fans in a good mood...
Absolutely vital 3 points and confidence boost. Still far from perfect but we are at least getting plenty of goals, still some very iffy moments at the back though. But tonight was about the win, performance secondary #readingfc— Tom Maynard (@ttmaynard) September 14, 2021
Confidence boosting win if nothing else. 3 quality goals. #readingfc— Dean Bennett (@DeanBennett1993) September 14, 2021
Great to get the win tonight, was vital. Three brilliant goals URZZ #readingfc— Luke Tizzard (@luke_tizzard) September 14, 2021
That’s more like it - three great goals. But let’s face it we HAD to win that one. #readingfc— Jonathan Richards (@JR_1871) September 14, 2021
Win was all that mattered tonight especially with Fulham on Saturday. Swift & TDB outstanding and Southwood & Holmes both solid. #readingfc— Louis Stagg (@dinglouis_) September 14, 2021
Game of numbers not pictures, only thing that mattered tonight was the result. Vital win. Southwood & Swift, both fantastic! #readingfc— Jordan Norris (@Jordan_Grittt) September 14, 2021
Desperately needed win. Awful first half, no intensity, way too slow. Improved 2nd half, 3 great goals. Yet another set piece goal conceded!!! Swift, TDB & Southwood, all did well. #readingfc— Stevie p (@stevie_p1871) September 14, 2021
It feels amazing to win again.— Reading FC Blue And White Wall (@bluewhitewall) September 14, 2021
I need to sleep but not sure if I will be able to. Only if it was a Saturday night.#ReadingFC pic.twitter.com/g1R806YOQa
A really, really important win and one that should boost the players’ confidence and settle some nerves among the fans.
We’re by no means out of the woods though. We all know the biggest word in this league is momentum, and you can only build that by putting together a run of good results - and that will be next on Pauno’s agenda.
It may not happen straightaway though with a tough trip to Fulham coming up on Saturday. I don’t know about you lot, but I'm making sure I visit a few pubs before kick off...