What is there to say about this game that hasn’t already been said about other games in the last few weeks? Reading’s 4-0 drubbing at QPR was another showcase of this side’s inability to defend, its poor mentality and the fact that the manager has no answers to any of the serious questions he’s faced with.
The saddest thing about today is that it was in no way a surprise. Few eyebrows were raised by QPR opening up Reading for their avoidable first goal, avoidable second goal, avoidable third goal or avoidable fourth goal. And really, as soon as the opener was scored in the 13th minute, we all knew what was coming.
Frustratingly, Reading had actually played well until that point. Seemingly building on some of the positives from last week’s 4-3 defeat to Huddersfield Town and buoyed by a vocal travelling support, the Royals looked much more positive, taking the game to QPR in the early stages of the contest. Lucas Joao went close from a John Swift free kick, Josh Laurent was denied a penalty after dancing into the area.
But just like a house of cards, Reading quickly collapsed. All it took was one small shove - Laurent beaten too easily to allow a cross for unmarked Lyndon Dykes to nod home - and any signs of promise evaporated. Those 12 minutes were fun while they lasted.
You got the sense that the players knew they were beaten at 1-0. Reading looked increasingly sloppy in possession, defensively ragged and ineffective going forwards - confidence being retained as well as a colander retains water. A second goal was a matter of when, not if.
QPR obliged. The hosts played well all afternoon and were good value for the 4-0 win even without Reading’s inadequacies, but they didn’t have to exert themselves too much to pick the Royals off. Another right-wing cross nodded in by unmarked Dykes: 2-0. A straightforward counter after a Reading corner broke down: 3-0. An unmarked header from a corner of their own in the second half: 4-0.
Reading managed to stem the bleeding at 4-0; the hosts took their foot off the gas but could have made it 5-0 or 6-0. The Royals did to be fair put together some decent attacking moves, often through John Swift or the returning Ovie Ejaria, but this was against a QPR side that knew it had the game wrapped up.
The match being over as a contest by half time, let alone when the fourth was scored in the 51st minute, gave the away end plenty of time to wallow in misery. The mood was glum at best but increasingly outright hostile, with chants including:
- “We’re f*cking sh*t”
- “You’re not fit to wear the shirt”
- “We support a load of sh*t”
- “We want Pauno out”
While I’m not one to do chants such as those myself, I’ve no problems with anyone who did belt them out today. Fans are rightly fed up of how terrible things are at the moment and the lack of any progress in tackling long-standing problems. Does anyone have any faith that this manager can turn things around?
Really though, we didn’t learn anything new today. This drubbing was the latest in a string of nightmarish performances that we’ve long since come to expect. That inevitability is the saddest thing about this whole situation.
I’m running out of ways to sum up how sh*te things are on the pitch, how painful watching this team is at the moment and how worried I am for the future. It’s challenging to see how things get any better without a managerial change, and as things stand that looks unlikely. It’s a depressing time.