Well, that was tortuous wasn’t it? A good win against Cardiff City and - even though I know it has nothing to do with results on the pitch - a straight-talking fans forum with Paul Ince, Mark Bowen and Alex Rae during the week had the fans in a positive mood in the run-up to Rotherham. Well, within 45 minutes, that good mood had been well and truly extinguished by a shambolic first-half display, even by our low, low standards.
From the first whistle, we just weren’t at the races and we got punished for costly mistake after costly mistake. Joe Lumley will of course get the headlines, but the 10 players in front of him didn’t help him one bit, particularly the central defenders.
As Ince said after the game, we were weak and got bullied, and despite a tad improvement (and tad is being very generous) the damage was done in the first half.
The fans were fuming, and rightly so. In that first half we were let down. Here’s the key talking points...
I feel bad including Lumley in this, but I just had to. I feel bad because, yes he made three dearly costly errors, but the worst bit for him would more than likely be the aftermath of the game scrolling through social media.
Some of the abuse being directed at him during the game and on Twitter afterwards was just ridiculous - and no way to improve a player’s confidence after a streak of errors. It was good to see the vast majority of fans at the game get behind the ‘keeper.
After the first error, his head just went, didn’t it? Mentally he was gone and that led to the next two goals. Here’s what the fans had to say about him...
Thankfully Lumley doesn’t have a Twitter account, times like these you’re glad. Did he have an absolute shocker? Yes. Does he know that more than anyone? Yes. Some of the stuff written post game was really poor. Best response is to get behind him on Wednesday night #readingfc— Tom (@SaturdayRoyal) August 14, 2022
I hate targeting players but I’m curious if there’s ever been a worse individual performance in a Reading shirt than that Lumley one #readingfc— Harry Sands (@SarryHands) August 13, 2022
I have never, in almost 20 years of going to football, seen a goalkeeper lose his head like Joe Lumley today #readingfc— Anthony Jones (@Ant_Jones96) August 13, 2022
I know all goalkeepers make mistakes, and also some have had worldly performances but Martinez aside, when was the last time we had a reliable keeper you weren’t ever worried about making a clanger?— Ed Ryding (@EdRyding) August 13, 2022
Lumley, Southwood, Rafael, Mannone, Al Habsi and Bond all guilty. #readingfc
Like I said, Lumley wasn’t the only thing wrong with Saturday. The defence got ran absolutely ragged in that opening 45. Twice we got done by one easy ball over the top and too many times McIntyre or Holmes got bullied in the air.
There are clearly good players in TMc and Holmes, but ever since they joined up with the first team, they’ve been apart of teams that crumble far, far too easily - which would’ve done no good for their mentalities. Naby Sarr and Sam Hutchinson are needed in this team ASAP.
Here’s what the fans had to say after witnessing another woeful defensive display...
Hutchinson you better come back and live up to Wednesday hype and knock some sense into this defence.#ReadingFC— Blue And White Wall (@bluewhitewall) August 13, 2022
I was at Rotherham and what bothered me most wasn’t Lumley’s error(s). We were already beaten by then. It was the way our defence was pulled around by a bit of pace and movement from some pretty average Championship forwards. #readingfc— Phil Crowther-Green (@Clonebattalion) August 14, 2022
I'm gonna start a gofund me so we can get Sarr in for the next game I cant watch this defence again seriously think this game could end 5 or 6-0 #Readingfc— J (@JamboRfc1871) August 13, 2022
Any of our keepers will be overworked with our defence #readingfc— Ross Giacobbe (@rosariogiacobbe) August 13, 2022
When you have 3 of the same defence as last season what do you expect? We arent very good, its going to be another long season #readingfc— Dan Gabriel (@DanG188) August 13, 2022
Btw 3-0 down also stems from the defence not doing their job and allowing the opposition to get into a scoring position. The defence is not good enough, simple as that. Holmes and McIntyre are not the duo that will work, at least right now. #readingfc— Alex Lane-Kieltyka (@alex_elkay21) August 13, 2022
Conceding another early goal
Paul Ince said it himself after the game: we do not have the squad to be able to keep coming back and winning games - especially considering how bad we are at it with a full squad - so the fact we’ve now conceded in the first 10 minutes of every game so far this season is seriously worrying.
It’s a trait that needs to be wiped out quickly. And the fans know it - they were fuming after seeing their team concede yet another early goal...
Another goal conceded inside 10 mins! Why can we not keep things right early on!! #readingfc— BerkshireBoys (@BerkshireBoys_) August 13, 2022
Early goal conceded again ffs #readingfc— Jacques and The Big Steppers (@yungpencilcase) August 13, 2022
Ffs another early goal what the hell is going on #readingfc— Nick Crook (@nickmightyroyal) August 13, 2022
1st goal today was frustrating, early on AGAIN. We don’t clear our lines for ages and then McIntyre doesn’t deal with the cross and gets beaten. 1-0 down within 10 minutes for the third time #readingfc— Nick Houlton (@Houlton11) August 13, 2022
A day to forget, immediately. I don’t whether it’s good or bad that we have a game on Wednesday, considering the amount of injuries we’ve got and the fact that Blackburn Rovers have won three out of three in the league so far, but it does give us a chance to put things right quickly.
It is so important we get at least a positive performance on Wednesday. I fear the atmosphere around the club will downward spiral very quickly if we start to see more of Saturday too often.