We’ve all seen many a last-minute loss in our time following the Royals I’m sure, but non in recent memory have rankled as much as this one. I still feel just as bitter writing this on Sunday afternoon as I did at 5pm on Saturday evening.
What happened was unjust and simply plain wrong. The incompetence of refereeing in the EFL needs to be investigated. We were brilliant against Burnley. We went toe to toe with top-of-the-table and red-hot promotion favourites. We held firm defensively and caused them problems on the break. We deserved more than what we got, a lot more.
Here's how you reacted to the big talking points. I think you can guess which one dominated the agenda most...
Firstly, let’s focus on the positives, of which there were many. The manner of the defeat will sting for some time but the performance the players put is one to be proud of.
This team is made of stern stuff and we saw it again at Turf Moor. Up against a team that’s flying high at the top of the table and the favourites for promotion, not many would’ve given us a sniff. But the players dug in, held their own and should’ve come away with at least a point.
Despite the obvious disappointment, the fans were quick to praise the performance...
Yiadom was excellent as was Ince, he was a huge threat on the break and carried us up the pitch well! Mbengue struggled after a good performance last weekend, Meite did well too. Very unlucky this afternoon, but a really good performance #readingfc— Tom Maynard (@ttmaynard) October 29, 2022
thoughts on the game (only posting now due to service station stop) - heartbreaking to lose it like that when we played so well. burnley did look excellent to be fair to them and they’ll almost certainly go up this season, but our performance was excellent. just gutted #readingfc pic.twitter.com/1zjriUUvSb— Joe (@iJC106) October 29, 2022
Obviously nothing anyone says or does is going to make the #readingfc result different, but I want to say that those lads played their hearts out today and I'm proud of them and everyone involved in whatever way today. All eyes on Tuesday now, and C'MON URRRRZZZZZ— Karz From The 'Ding ☕ (@FFSKarz) October 29, 2022
The boys did us proud today. Everywhere we go #readingfc pic.twitter.com/e5HJXUp04o— Dan (@DingDan1871) October 29, 2022
We deserve that for our defensive performance. Been superb. #readingfc— Jake (@JakeMoorePR) October 29, 2022
Deserved something from that, solid performance and robbed by yet another incompetent ref Tough one to take but plenty of positives. #readingfc— Melvir (@Melvir88) October 29, 2022
Feel for the players put in a good away performance and should of nicked all 3 points. I bet that pen is given if it was the other way round. #readingfc— Steven Kemp (@StevenK37506094) October 29, 2022
Now onto the not-so-positives - well the one not-so-positive. It’s just wrong that we haven’t been awarded a penalty in injury time, plain and simple.
It’s an awful decision and I have a feeling that it would’ve been given if it were at the other end of the pitch, and the fact that it was 800 Reading fans calling for a penalty rather than 20,000 Burnley fans was a factor. It’s either that or sheer incompetence; either way it's not good enough.
Trying to find some family-friendly tweets on this topic was difficult to say the least...
Really? EFL refs ♀️ pic.twitter.com/Sky3UV5AB8— Ian Bedwell (@ianbedwell) October 29, 2022
@EFL shocker today from Jeremy Homer Simpson and his non-assistant. It’s courage not VAR that is needed for that clear penalty call. #readingfc— Andy C #FBPE (@AndyRFCCharman) October 29, 2022
HOW is this not a clear penalty. 4 officials and not one spotted this. Disgrace @EFL #readingfc https://t.co/bkBtHG2FzU— Arthur (@Rubin_46) October 29, 2022
I despise VAR, I think it’s killing the game, but with decisions like that today, you really have to question whether it would be beneficial. How on earth that penalty is not given I will never know. Just baffles me as to what the referee was looking at ♂️ #readingfc— mitch (@mitchrfc1) October 29, 2022
Hate to spend my life complaining about referees but idiots like Jeremy Simpson bring this game into disrepute. Clear penalty turned down for us to go 2-1 up in the 90th and we end up losing. Outstanding performance and we get nothing because a fool can’t do his job. #readingfc— Oli Roose (@oliverrowse) October 29, 2022
No wonder Incey was livid post match. Shocking decision. That is a penalty all day long. #readingfc https://t.co/LVmOfsJfMH— Dan Green (@dan_green_) October 29, 2022
Just seen the foul on Ince in the penalty area, how has the ref (Jeremy Simpson) not given that?? he’s had a shocker there #readingfc— Stevie p (@stevie_p1871) October 29, 2022
It’s nothing short of a disgrace. How an earth are decisions like this gotten away with so easily by referees who ain’t good enough at their jobs. #readingfc https://t.co/tBxNZDyZa4— Jacob Potter (@pott95) October 29, 2022
That was heartbreaking. The gulf between premier league and championship refs is massive. How that wasn’t a penalty is beyond belief. Bottle job! #readingfc— Arthur (@Rubin_46) October 29, 2022
Paul Ince was nothing short of fuming in his post-match press conference, and who can blame him? His team got robbed by a poor decision.
The fans were quick to praise Ince for his honesty, and it was refreshing to see that kind of emotion from the gaffer. It shows he cares for the club, for the fans and for his players. A few managers would’ve gone for the PC approach to save themselves a bit of money.
Here’s how the fans reacted to his post-match interview...
Absolutely love seeing Paul Ince say it as it is passion pride and doesn't hold back we will bounce back urzzzz #readingfc https://t.co/eowajPt3ye— Johnny Hunt (@Huntyroyal) October 29, 2022
Huge respect for Paul Ince speaking up against these continually poor excuses for @EFL officials. It’s about damn time they stop fining and censoring managers for speaking the truth and actually sort their own house out and improve them #readingfc #EFL @SkyBetChamp https://t.co/N6TrLzL2dW— Tom (@SaturdayRoyal) October 30, 2022
What a man Paul Ince is. The odd thing is no one talks about it in the media. It’s such a joke and makes people fall out of love with football. Getting beat is one thing but refs not being brave enough is another #readingfc pic.twitter.com/G79Lxm8xm4— Benjamin Rose (@Benjamin24BR) October 29, 2022
Fair play to Ince. Same feelings as me. Refs are allowed to completely shaft teams over and over and get away with it #readingfc— Alex (@royalex_B) October 29, 2022
Spot on, we can’t keep putting up with turgid refs in the Football League, Ince will get fined for his comments despite speaking facts #readingfc https://t.co/V2uBqWLRph— Nick Houlton (@Houlton11) October 29, 2022
The terms salty and bitter have been thrown around by Burnley fans since the game, and look, there’d be Reading fans doing the same if the shoe were on the other foot. But at the end of the day, the refereeing standards in this league affect every team, and it needs to change.
We were robbed on Saturday, but I have full faith in this team to react. They’ll be fired up for the trip to Luton Town on Tuesday and I’m confident of a result.