Well, if Paul Ince didn't fully understand the task at hand before the Blackpool game - which I’m pretty sure he did, might I add - he will now. After two wins on the spin, Saturday afternoon was a stark reminder of the problems we still have and the trouble we’re still in.
The performance wasn't really that bad. I mean, we’ve seen a lot, lot worse than the 90 minutes on Saturday. However, it was familiar problems that came to the fray yet again. We have the leakiest defence in the entire league, and it's no surprise when you capitulate on a regular basis like we did against Blackpool.
Paul Ince stated after the game that it ‘wasn’t a 4-1 game’ which I guess overall might be correct. But I'm a firm believer in getting what you deserve and, if you defend the way we did in that second half, you deserve to lose by a few goals.
Here's how the fans reacted to the key talking points...
After a few games sat warming the bench thanks to the arrival of Karl Hein, Southwood was thrown back into the mix for the trip to Blackpool. It looks like he'll be staying between the sticks for the foreseeable too due to Hein’s unfortunate injury.
Earlier in the season, Southwood was very, very good. It is fair to say though that in his most recent outings he hasn’t hit the heights he did earlier in the season. He wasn't at his best on Saturday either, in particular for the hosts’ second.
The fans were quite angry with the keeper after the game. Here’s what they had to say...
I'll take hein back next game please. Couple decent saves from Southwood, but again, very costly mistakes. #readingfc— Alex (@Pickettlickett) February 26, 2022
Southwood has to come out and make that his ball. Poor goalkeeping. #readingfc— Paolo (@Skeptichead) February 26, 2022
Southwood isn’t commanding enough. Any sort of cross worries me with him #readingfc— Dom (@domwindle) February 26, 2022
Southwood showing why he isn’t our number one keeper, hopefully Hein isn’t out for long. #readingfc— Royals Stu (@RoyalStu1871) February 26, 2022
A defensive record like ours is relegation-worthy, it really is. 67 goals conceded in 34 games is just unacceptable, completely and utterly unacceptable. After defending better in recent games (huge emphasis on the word ‘better’ in that sentence), it was the same old on Saturday afternoon.
The second half we just crumbled. I get we were trying to chase the game and get back into it, but in my opinion that is used as an excuse for poor defending far too often. Going to try and score goals doesn’t mean you have to be as open at the back as we were.
It’s becoming what we’re used to as fans, but the shambolic defending doesn’t get any easier to watch for the fans...
Another defeat. Every single team can create so many chances against us because we are so weak. We’ve got the worst defence in the league. Hurry up and sign a experienced manager #readingfc— Luke (@Luke1871_) February 26, 2022
Defence is so bad, missing Rino in midfield but no choice when we’re so light there. I like TMc but there’s people that think he’s our best centre backs, nowhere near #readingfc— Nick Houlton (@Houlton11) February 26, 2022
4-1 harsh on us, but when you defend like we do you don't deserve anything. Hope all they work on this week is defence! #readingfc— Somerset Royal (@simundo1110) February 26, 2022
It’s quite simple - sort out our defence and we stay up. It’s literally that simple. Do we have the players? Do we have the manager? I’m not so sure. #readingfc— Paolo (@Skeptichead) February 26, 2022
There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind - something absolutely horrendous happened to the #ReadingFC defence at the infamous Christmas Party. Haven’t fully recovered since.— Pedro‼️ (@PictonPedro) February 26, 2022
Terrible result today! Really not happy with that defending. Got to learn, and fast. In other news the #readingfc museum is awesome! Get down there— Rich1871 (@richiec87) February 26, 2022
Awful defending again - looked like morro was giving him a piggy back#Readingfc— Niall - Guilty, I support Reading. (@Reading106) February 26, 2022
A very worrying 2nd half collapse defence all over the place and we could never really get control of the midfield. Yiadom our best player again, even when forced to play put of position at left back. Couple steps forward recently but a big one backwards today #readingfc— Tom Maynard (@ttmaynard) February 26, 2022
Imagine the shock on my face when I hear we've just thrown away a lead.— sachh (@RFCnews2) February 26, 2022
Imagine the shock on my face when we concede to a set-piece. #readingfc
I’ve gone all the way to blackpool just to see us concede three. Can’t stand this club #ReadingFC— Tatum (@TatumRFC) February 26, 2022
Absolutely disgraceful.— steve richardson (@Rich1Steve) February 26, 2022
A mediocre blackpool team have ripped us a new one. This is worst defence I've seen at Reading. Simply rubbish defending #readingfc
Just not good enough. Again. Hopefully Ince gets a chance to change a few things in the next week before Millwall, because if we continue defending like that, it’s going to be get worse before it gets any better.
If there was any kind of honeymoon phase after Ince’s appointment, it’s been nipped in the bud pretty quickly. The size of task at hand is monumental and Ince and the players better know that.