Going into the game on Tuesday I was genuinely expecting Paul Ince to just field the under-23s and a few under-18s. With how stretched the first-team squad is at the moment and the priority clearly and understandably being on the league, I was not expecting Ince to risk any first-team players.
And with that said, I wasn’t really expecting us to win. It would’ve been nice to go through, as ever, but it really didn’t bother me that we lost. And I know there will be fans who agree with me on that and fans who don’t.
It was a good run-out for a lot of the youngsters, some of whom did more than enough to put their hat into the ring a spot on the first-team bench, and we also got to see a new signing in action.
Here's what the fans had to say about the key talking points to come from Tuesday’s loss...
It’s been a long time coming, but on-loan midfielder Mamadou Loum was finally able to make his debut for the club on Tuesday evening, and it looks like he made an impression on the fans immediately.
He will clearly add physicality and strength to our midfield department, but he also showed a couple pieces of silky footwork and looked assured and comfortable on the ball too. Yes it’s very early days in his Reading career, but it looks like he’ll be an astute signing.
The fans were certainly impressed with his showing...
Liked the look of Loum. Good in the air, good passer, few nice phases of play, strong on the ball, brought the ball down well, shielded it nicely, quick to close down. Good break up play, nicking ball etc. Look forward to seeing him in the championship in a better side #readingfc— Max Howard (@MaxHoward_15) August 9, 2022
Kids got bullied tonight I thought. Clear to see some aren’t ready but admire the effort. Could easily see Loum is a class above what else we had out there. Excited to see him with the first XI. #readingfc— Rob Nutley (@Rnutley) August 9, 2022
Only positive is that Loum looks class when he is on the ball. Not much opportunity to do much but when on the ball you can just tell he is too good for these players.— Blue And White Wall (@bluewhitewall) August 9, 2022
Looks like he will be a great addition to the first team.#ReadingFC
Only positive from tonight is Loum is class and Ehibhationham is decent apart from that got nothing to say #readingfc— Nicole (@NS1871xx) August 9, 2022
One positive for me last night was Loum.I thought he was very good. Comfortable and calm on the ball, covers the ground well , gets stuck in and won all but 1 header I think in the game. Once he gets properly up to speed he will be a real asset #readingfc https://t.co/h3A9QKZSsH— Dean Bennett (@DeanBennett1993) August 10, 2022
As mentioned before, the rotation meant that a lot of younger players got their chance to show Ince whether they were worthy of a spot in the first-team squad or not. Some looked shaky and nervous, understandably so, but there were a few who stood out.
Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan (who grabbed his first goal for the club), Mamadi Camara (who set up that goal beautifully), Jahmari Clarke and young Basil Tuma (what a name by the way) were five that stood out to the fans and who showed serious signs of promise.
Here’s what the fans had to say about the youngsters...
Hope Camara gets a little nearer the senior squad now, looked useful when brought on #readingfc— Max Howard (@MaxHoward_15) August 10, 2022
Was probably being harsh yesterday. I just prefer to keep the wins and momentum going. However, Camara, Clarke and Kelvin E got to show off their stuff and that’s brilliant. #readingfc https://t.co/CNGnZ9gB81— Alex Lane-Kieltyka (@alex_elkay21) August 10, 2022
Camara could defo fill ejarias spot in the first team if he’s out for a while #readingfc— Ali (@alibrown_29) August 10, 2022
Glad we don't have another game.— Blue And White Wall (@bluewhitewall) August 9, 2022
But glad we got to try some youngsters. 2 weren't good enough but they have to learn and get experience.
Should've started with Camara and have that creativity.
Tuma looks exciting. If he gets stronger he will be unstoppable.#ReadingFC
That was a clean finish from Kelvin. Camara assist was something else too #readingfc— Harry Sands (@SarryHands) August 9, 2022
I can see a future where we play 442 with 2 pacy wingers just spamming crosses to Ehi and Clarke and them getting 30+ goals each per season and it's beautiful #readingfc— NKDING43 (@NKDING43) August 9, 2022
All eyes on the league
Let’s be honest, Ince was always going to prioritise the league over the Carabao Cup and rightly so. Imagine if Ince had gone full strength and ended up with even more players on the treatment table, he would’ve got slaughtered.
It seems the majority of the fans are in the same mindset too, which is good to see. Yes a cup run would’ve been nice, but we’re not in a position to risk even more injuries just to get through to the next round. All focus has to be on the league.
The fans are already looking ahead to the rest of the Championship season...
Bearing in mind how important the league is to us this season, if it helps us avoid injuries and keep us fresher for more of the season, losing in the cup is the least of my worries.#readingfc— Chris Reinholter (@mrchrisr91) August 9, 2022
Defeatist and negative as it may be, I’ve zero qualms with us losing that tonight. League is all that matters to me this season #readingfc— Dave from Reading (@shakefon) August 9, 2022
Honestly couldn’t care less we are out, a League Cup run isn’t needed and the youngsters will take a lot from it. #readingfc— Nick Houlton (@Houlton11) August 9, 2022
Good experience for those youngsters regardless. Focus on the league, always was more important #readingfc— Dom (@domwindle) August 9, 2022
Let's be honest nobody cares we're out the cup, it's for the best. Good experience for the youngsters & minimal risk of more injuries to the 1st team which had to be the focus. Back to full focus on the league on Saturday up at Rotherham. Loum in for Fornah for I think #readingfc— Tom Maynard (@ttmaynard) August 9, 2022
Good experience for the younger lads who are looking at first team chances this season. Good to have Loum getting game time. Realistically we need to focus on the league this year so it’s not a negative at all. I’d rather we go out now and save the distraction #readingfc— Harry Sands (@SarryHands) August 9, 2022
With almost half the season condensed into the period from the start to 12th November I think tonight's approach totally justified. League cup isn't going to be a priority for most clubs. Survival at all costs has to be the aim #readingfc— Ian Frampton (@iframpton) August 9, 2022
Cup runs are nice and yes, it’s always horrible to lose football matches, but honestly we have bigger problems than a 2-1 loss to Stevenage in the Carabao Cup to worry about this season.
All eyes simply have to be on the league. It wasn't all doom and gloom either. We got a good look at a few of the younger players who did their chances of getting in and around the first-team squad no harm at all, and Mamadou Loum looked a serious presence in midfield.
Onwards and upwards to Rotherham.