It’s funny how history can repeat itself, isn’t it? On 2 April 2021, we travelled to Oakwell for a season-defining game with our fellow play-off contenders Barnsley. Exactly one year on and the same scenario was upon us, although this time ourselves and Barnsley found ourselves at the opposite end of the Championship table.
It’s also funny how both games finished with the same scoreline, and yet the emotions from the fans after the match couldn’t be further than what we experienced after the same fixture last season.
Words cannot describe how big this game was. It didn’t matter about performance, we just needed a result. Anything to keep that gap at five points or more. And, ultimately, the players delivered on that, thanks to another late Josh Laurent goal.
The goal sparked some terrific scenes among the travelling contingent, who took those celebrations onto Twitter after the game. Here’s the key talking points.
I know Drinkwater hasn't exactly set the world alight since joining on loan from Chelsea, and I think it’s fair to say that the relationship between him and the fans is fractious to say the least. However, I thought he was superb on Saturday afternoon.
He showed energy and determination and looked up for the fight. He was a lot better on the ball than he has been in recent weeks too. Credit where credit is due.
The fans appreciated his performance too it seems...
ARISE SIR DANIEL NOEL DRINKWATER! #readingfc— Footballskills 98 (@JamesBr23509416) April 2, 2022
Fair play to Drinkwater he didn't do a lot with the ball but without it he put in a shift and made a fair few important tackles #readingfc— Tom Maynard (@ttmaynard) April 2, 2022
Drinkwater by a mile. The abuse he gets is shameful. Hatred fuelled by envy of somebody’s success is distasteful. RFC were the only team playing any football and DD was at the heart of it all. #Readingfc— Nick Knight (@NJK20171) April 2, 2022
Although Danny Drinkwater has been poor this season, today he was a level above, absolutely phenomenal . #ReadingFC— Henry (@HenryKnight_18) April 2, 2022
Some of the Danny Drinkwater abuse today was based on previous performances. He was very decent today. Had his flaws, but had a very solid game today. #readingfc— Trenchy (@AdamHumphries96) April 2, 2022
Huge point, the least we deserved. Drinkwater unreal from start to finish. #readingfc— AJB (@ALEXB1871) April 2, 2022
Drinkwater was class today, helped us get one step closer to safety. URZ #readingfc pic.twitter.com/9HUvvBbxv5— Isaac (@Isaac_1871) April 2, 2022
There are a few moments every season which you can look back on and think “that’s why I keep on following my team up and down the country”, and Saturday produced one of those.
We were good in the second half (or Barnsley were just astonishingly awful), and deserved a point. But it’s one thing deserving a point and another thing getting it. Step forward Josh Laurent, who slotted home to produce scenes reminiscent of Modou Barrow’s winner at Ipswich Town under Jose Gomes.
What a moment, and one that the fans will savour for some time...
Those limbs were just what football is about.— Blue And White Wall (@bluewhitewall) April 2, 2022
How can you be one of those top 6 "fans"?
You never get the real feeling like of an equaliser especially at Barnsley!
Days like this is why I keep on going home and away.
Should have got a win but every point matters.#ReadingFC
That was some limbs shame we couldn't get the winner (or play well for more than the last 20 minutes of the game), but I'll take that point! #readingfc— Becki White (@MissBeckaEllen) April 2, 2022
1st goal celebrated since Covid…what an important one too…absolute limbs! #readingfc— Jeff H (@jeffhallett) April 2, 2022
Those limbs today gotta be the best I’ve been involved in, gotta love the football #readingfc— harry (@hrryjnes) April 2, 2022
There is absolutely nothing better than tumbling down the stairs in the limbs for a late away goal What a day yesterday was #readingfc— Jacob Potter (@pott95) April 3, 2022
The bruises from the limbs for the goal yesterday are very impressive #readingfc— Trenchy (@AdamHumphries96) April 3, 2022
Amazing limbs at the equaliser, right result in the end, need to get a result on tuesday thou #uptheding #readingfc— Simon Edwards (@Madstad109) April 2, 2022
A big result
The performance left a lot to be desired, particularly in the first half, but all that mattered was getting a result. That draw keeps the gap between us and Barnsley at five points with seven games to play. It’s not done yet, but taking a point off our direct rivals is huge.
We have to keep backing it up though, starting with the home game against Stoke City on Tuesday. We just need to keep this wheel turning.
The fans certainly understood the significance of the taking something away from Barnsley judging by these tweets...
Admittedly we should of played much better earlier on but just think the goal was so important in the fact that Barnsley would of only been 2 points behind us if we hadn’t of scored. The goal was a massive relief and keeps the gap to 5 points #Readingfc— Jamie Collis (@JamieCollis1995) April 2, 2022
HUGE point. #readingfc— JDM (@RFC_Smurf93) April 2, 2022
Take a point all day. That was a must win for them and a must not lose for us. Two winnable home games this week to put us out of sight now #readingfc— Louis (@dinglouis_) April 2, 2022
Would’ve taken a point all day, the next 2 home games are massive, win them and I think we’ll have enough to stay up. #readingfc— FI Royal 1871 (@FIRoyal1871) April 2, 2022
+1 absolute massive point that Scenes in that away end #readingfc pic.twitter.com/VsnaFS44ir— Chazzer (@charlie_r_17) April 2, 2022
Honestly that was a bloody painful watch #readingfc thank goodness for @Tom5Mc an important block for an even more important point! Thanks @JoshLaurent28 for the equaliser Can we please just play decent football for the next 7 games! Our mental health is taking a battering!— Sam Smit (@SamanthaSmit29) April 2, 2022
What a day! Huge point #readingfc pic.twitter.com/3Az7AeAN3z— Eoghan Burton (@eoghan1996) April 2, 2022
Huge away point today who knows how important that may turn out to be. Onwards we go @ReadingFC #readingfc— Richard Crewdson (@crewy100) April 3, 2022
A loss would’ve been disastrous, so that goal is the most important goal of the season so far. But they’re only going to get more important from here on in, we need to back this result up with another good one on Tuesday.
Barnsley were there for the taking though in that second half, so I really hope we’re not looking back at this result at the end of the season and ruing not taking all three. But, let’s keep backing the boys like we did on Saturday, they'll need it more than ever.