Before the game on Saturday afternoon, we were sitting on 22 points after 15 games - which I’m sure any Loyal Royal would’ve bitten your hand off for at the start of the season. However, there was still a sense of doom and gloom around the place due to the results and performances of the last three games.
We’ve seen some really poor performances in recent weeks, so it was vitally important that the rut was put to an end at the earliest opportunity. The performance wasn’t perfect by any means against the Robins, but it was the three points that mattered most.
It just eases that bit of pressure that was building, and it is a timely reminder that although the previous three games weren’t great, there is still a lot to be optimistic about.
Here’s how the fans reacted to the talking points...
One of the big concerns going into this game was our centre back predicament. Sam Hutchinson being injured and Andy Yiadom being suspended meant 20-year-old Mbengue was forced to step into the back three.
However, the youngster was really impressive. The entire defence was really good to be honest, but Mbengue deserves a special mention.
He did everything he needed to and showed maturity beyond his years. The fans were certainly impressed with his performance...
We need to tie MBengue down to a longer contract ASAP, three years +. He’s 20, he’ll develop, we can make a good profit at some point - no brainer #readingfc— Nick Houlton (@Houlton11) October 22, 2022
Mbengue is class from what I've seen so far. Athletic, good on the ball and reads the game so well #readingfc— Sean Mobsby (@SeanMobsby) October 22, 2022
All I’m saying is get Mbengue signed to a long term contract. Absolute baller #readingfc— Cameron (@ronniemac93) October 22, 2022
Mbengue was unreal. Abbey too when he came on #readingfc— ᴀ (@Arch33s) October 22, 2022
Mbengue absolute rock at the back. MOTM performance #readingfc— Dean Bennett (@DeanBennett1993) October 22, 2022
Decent performances all round IMO but Mbengue had a belter #readingfc— Shaun Berry (@sbezzzab1871) October 22, 2022
Mbengue was probably man of the match, had a very solid game out of position, was commanding and confident. Long was key when he came on, superb cameo and incredible composure to set up Carroll late on. He has to start ahead of João next week #readingfc— Tom Maynard (@ttmaynard) October 22, 2022
A new strike partnership?
Tom Ince started in midfield with Yakou Meite and Lucas Joao leading the line, but it was the two strikers on the bench who came on that stole the headlines.
We’ve really missed Shane Long while he was out. The amount of selfless work he does is only really evident when he’s not in the team, as shown by his work and assist for Andy Carroll’s goal.
That goal gave the fans a taster of what they could see if Long and Carroll started up top together more often, and it certainly whetted the appetite...
I love the Long and Carroll combo #readingfc— Dan Hindmarsh (@DH_Editz) October 22, 2022
That work from Shane Long to the Set up Carroll was excellent and something we have missed so much #readingfc— Olly_URZ (@OllyURZ) October 22, 2022
Such a difference yesterday compared to last season in terms of depth. Imagine being a Bristol City defender and seeing Shane Long and Andy Carroll coming on for the last 20 #readingfc— Jacob Potter (@pott95) October 23, 2022
So funny that Long and Carroll combined to score that last goal for us. Everyone was saying how our strikers are way past it when we signed them yet they contributed more goals than the likes of Semenyo, Conway, and Wells yesterday. Old but gold #readingfc— Harry Sands (@SarryHands) October 23, 2022
Is it just me, or were our highlights actually out of focus today? Shame as we played well and would prefer to see Long and Carroll looking sharp (as in real life!) #ReadingFC https://t.co/gY4EvKf2zb— Maddy Adams (@MadeleineAdams3) October 22, 2022
This ball from Long to Carroll was pure class #ReadingFC pic.twitter.com/MaJx8VBVgB— Gareth (@OohGareth) October 23, 2022
Long and Carroll #readingfc #royals pic.twitter.com/bx7PtkHeGz— Carroll (@nebagaysinla) October 23, 2022
An important win
The most important thing on Saturday was to ensure we walked away with all three points. By hook or by crook, we had to get the win to stop the rut that we’d gotten ourselves into, and the players duly delivered.
It was a comfortable win in the end and the performance was strong, but all that mattered was the +3.
The fans were certainly relieved to see the boys over the line...
Some wins feel better than others. That today felt absolutely marvellous.— Matt Smith (@RustyRoyal) October 22, 2022
GET IN. #ReadingFC
That was a lot better in the second half, good win to end that run we were on!! #uptheding #readingfc pic.twitter.com/c1VSPeupFi— Simon Edwards (@Madstad109) October 22, 2022
BIGGG WIN!!! Big lads Loum and Carroll with the goals and another clean sheet for Lumley! Can’t wait for our huge test against Burnley next Saturday!!! UPPA DING ⚪️ #readingfc— Luke (@Luke1871_) October 22, 2022
Phenomenal work rate by everyone. Deserved the win. Anything less than 3 points would have been criminal. Ecstatic #readingfc— Shaun Berry (@sbezzzab1871) October 22, 2022
Huge much needed win! Not our best performance but we got the job done. The limbs for Carroll's goal #readingfc— Ryan (@Ryan1871_) October 22, 2022
Cracking win! Holmes colossal and Mbengue is some talent! Get in! #readingfc— Jimmy Coulson (@Jimmy_Coulson) October 22, 2022
#readingfc What a win pic.twitter.com/3fR2uOMqkc— Olivia Dallimore (@dallimore03) October 22, 2022
Really happy with that win today. Not our best performance, but I liked how we limited Bristol City to minimal chances. I'd love it if we could see Long and Meite as a partnership over the next few games #readingfc— Alex Hewitt (@Alex_Hewitt98) October 22, 2022
A really important win for our season and just keeps that points tally ticking over nicely and gets us closer to that 45-point mark. It lifts the mood around the club too, which was threatening to turn sour after a bad few results.
Onwards and upwards now, to inform Burnley.