With how other results have gone recently, Saturday was a real chance for us to take hold of our own future and put some really healthy breathing space between ourselves and the teams below. But it was a chance we didn’t take.
Fortunately, I was not at the game myself, but from the reaction during the game and after, it’s clear to see that it was another miserable afternoon and some of the key problems that led to the end result.
Conceding from a corner yet again, questionable tactical decisions (how on earth it took until the 85th minute before Paul Ince brought Yakou Meite on is the biggest mystery of our generation) and then the dodgy decision for Gilkesy to take the post-match media duties rather than Ince himself.
It was just another really poor afternoon and one that could be a crucial blow looking back at the end of the season, but hopefully not...
I saw a stat before the game on Saturday that said we’d conceded 19 goals from set pieces this season - the worst in the league. The second worst was 13. Now we can add one more to that damning tally.
We all know that Jake Cooper is a threat from set pieces. He’s about 8 foot for Christ’s sake. Three people went up with him for that header but he still got a firm enough contact to score.
It’s not about whether we’re man-marking or zonal, it’s about the basics of defending and attitude. The fans are not happy with our set-piece defensive records...
Same old Reading conceding from a corner. Classic training goal move as Holmes gets blocked & his man he was 'marking' Cooper nods in at the far post. So simple. #Readingfc— Dan Green (@dan_green_) March 5, 2022
Scrappy and messy half, but yet another set piece goal proving to be our downfall, such a basic poor goal to concede #readingfc— Tom Maynard (@ttmaynard) March 5, 2022
That's now 20 set pieces we've conceded from this season. When's it going to end?? #readingfc— Ding Stats (@DingStats) March 5, 2022
Imagine my shock: concede from a set piece, Cooper scores and drinkwater giving away the corner. Sums us up perfectly #readingfc— Callum (@Callumc1871) March 5, 2022
Another goal from a set piece and another ex #ReadingFC player scoring at the Mad Stad!!!— Hmmmmmm (@royalb79) March 5, 2022
You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that Yakou Meite should’ve been brought on a lot earlier than the 85th minute. It is truly baffling that it took as long for any sub to be made by Ince.
We had a host of attacking options on the bench, none more so than Meite who’s importance to this team shouldn’t have to be explained, and we were putting in a very blunt attacking performance. Surely common sense says a change needs to be made? Evidently not.
The fans were fuming with Ince’s decisions...
Not making a sub until the 79th minute and then not brining Meite on until the 85th minute when we're 1-0 down at home just doesn't make sense but obviously Tom Ince is allowed to play the whole game despite being poor yet again #readingfc— Harrison Mitchell (@harrison1871rfc) March 5, 2022
Delighted Rowett this. Any manager who knows the championship knows Meite is a huge threat. Massive red flag that Ince waited this long to bring him on, keeping his son on instead. Paul Ince out of his depth. When fit enough Yaks starts over every winger we have. #ReadingFC https://t.co/47vgCFyjHT— Alex Sheppard (@Alex_Shep_Urzz) March 5, 2022
Strongest bench we’ve had all season. First sub in the 78th minute at 1-0 down.— Alex Stone (@alexgstone) March 5, 2022
Pathetic. Employ a proper manager and run this club properly. #readingfc
Absolute toilet, that performance.— Dave (@shakefon) March 5, 2022
Additionally: what’s the deal with successive managers just not making subs until it’s too late? #readingfc
Just checking that in the last minute of injury time we really did put Scott Dann on up front? I mean VP’s subs were highly questionable but that is awful #ReadingFC— Jimmy Molloy (@northeastroyal) March 5, 2022
Let’s be honest, Ince’s appointment came with its fair share of question marks. None of those question marks have vanished yet. In fact, I’d say that even more have appeared.
There are so many things which just make me feel so uncomfortable about his appointment. Reading signing his son the month before, Paul Ince himself reportedly being a client of Kia Joorabchian, and hiring him on an ‘interim’ basis but with no apparent search for a permanent manager going on behind the scenes. Sending Gilkes to do the presser to does not sit well with me at all.
If we keep seeing performances like we have in the last couple of games too, the fans will lose patience with him. It seems like they already are...
Surely the first question from all the media to Michael Gilkes should’ve been ‘Why isn’t Paul Ince doing the post match interviews?’ #readingfc— Andy C #FBPE (@AndyRFCCharman) March 5, 2022
#readingfc going down with Paul Ince in charge. Thought nothing would change post Preston when it was said he was taking charge. So far nothing has changed my mind— Dean Bennett (@DeanBennett1993) March 5, 2022
Owner currently in the country and at the stadium, Ince not doing the media work and comms team still using the word interim. I would imagine a new manager may not be far off. #readingfc— Royals Stu (@RoyalStu1871) March 5, 2022
Another miserable afternoon. Luckily, results again mostly went our way again with Peterborough United losing and Derby County beating Barnsley, but we simply cannot keep relying on other teams to help us out.
We have to take control of our own future, and losing in the way we did on Saturday certainly isn’t doing that. Something has to change, but we have a pretty tough run of fixtures coming up now.