That’s a wrap for 2022 then. A year that started so horrifically got gradually better, and it’s clear as day to see that the club is in a much better place than it was 12 months ago - both on the pitch and off it.
Friday evening proved that yet again. If we’d have gone 1-0 down to Norwich City in January this year, there's no way we would’ve drawn the game. We’d have probably lost by three or four. However, this team is made of sterner stuff.
It was a valiant fight-back and a very valuable draw. Here’s how the fans reacted to it...
With Baba Rahman flattering to deceive so far this season, it’s a bit surprising that we haven’t seen more of Nesta Guinness-Walker. Paul Ince has even opted to start with Tom McIntyre at left-wing-back in the last couple of games.
However, as soon as Nesta was introduced against the Canaries, he made a real difference. He showed attacking intent and purpose, and essentially looked like a round peg in a round hole. He even won the penalty that got us the point.
If this cameo is anything to go by, we have to start seeing more of the wing-back. The fans were certainly impressed with his showing...
I rate McIntyre as a player and do really like him, but he's not well suited to left wing back. You could see that immediately when NGW came on, straight away he got high up the pitch and was taking on their full back, and that's where the pen came from #readingfc— Tom Maynard (@ttmaynard) December 30, 2022
Nesta Guinness Walker. Man should be playing every game #readingfc— Dave from Reading (@shakefon) December 31, 2022
NGW has to start for the foreseeable future #readingfc— kieran_34g (@JRGingyFraud) December 30, 2022
What a difference NGW made when he came on. Had to start against West Brom. Knowing Ince he'll probably keep TMac there or play Baba #readingfc— Ryan (@Ryan1871_) December 30, 2022
A pleasing point
I’ve said it time and time again this season: it’s very rare that a point away from home in this league is a bad result. Yes we could’ve played better (you always can) and there may be a bit of frustration at the defending, but a point at Norwich is a good point.
And like I said earlier, earlier this year we would’ve crumbled at 1-0 down. It’s a nice feeling that we ended the year fighting back from a situation when we wouldn’t have done at the start of the year.
Here’s what the fans had to say about the result...
Very happy with a point at Norwich tonight. Pleased for NGW. #readingfc— Stevie p (@stevie_p1871) December 30, 2022
Given our away form, very good point there. Take that all day #readingfc— Mikey (@mikeykeel19) December 30, 2022
Great point that. Win the home games and take a point like that away from home and we’ll stand a chance #readingfc— Jacob Potter (@pott95) December 30, 2022
Great point. Very happy with that. Character coming from behind. Much the better team after we conceded. #readingfc— Anthony Kendrick (@AJKendrick) December 30, 2022
Huge point! Take that all day long. NGW once again making a difference. Weird what happens when you play a left back at left back.— Jamie Hodder (@Jamie_Hodder21) December 30, 2022
Hendrick, Sarr, Loum all underperforming again. #ReadingFC
Happily take a point. 10th after 25 games is more than where we should be #readingfc— Ross (@rossm1871) December 30, 2022
Decent point in the end. 4 from Swansea and Norwich is a good return. Roll on WBA #readingfc— Ben (@BenParsons89) December 30, 2022
To be finishing the year sat in 10th in the table seems pretty surreal. Even the most optimistic Reading fan wouldn’t have predicted that. Hell, I thought we’d be in the bottom three and on our third manager of the season.
However, this team has surpassed all our expectations and has the heart of those Reading team in years gone by that we’ve all loved. They may not have the same quality, but there is a togetherness about this group of players that is hard not to love.
Onwards and upwards in the New Year. URZ.