After a loss last week and conceding a poor goal within the first four minutes on Saturday, I’m sure a few fans were fearing the worst - including myself. However, the Royals battled fantastically to come back and gain three crucial points.
Although we’re only two games in, it is so important to get three points on the board as quickly as you can - particularly in our case where you feel every point will be so valuable come the end of the season.
Led by Tom Ince (more on him later), we showed fight, quality and game management to first fight back from a goal down and then to hold on to it - with a Shane Long goal the icing on the cake.
Here’s how the fans reacted...
*More* injury woes led to our Irish Prince Shane Long getting his first start in the hoops since his return - and boy did he make an impression.
It wasn’t just the goal, which was as special a moment as I can remember in recent times, but his overall performance was the best non-Lucas Joao striker performance we’ve had in a very, very long time.
Long isn’t the biggest or strongest, but what he will do is harry and hassle and chase every single ball down. And what he lacks in height or strength, he more than makes up for in experience.
It was a wonderful display from Long and the fans absolutely loved it...
Unbelievable as well to see Shane Long score again in a Reading shirt, one of the best strikers I've seen to play for this club along with Doyle etc— Jack (@thesimpsonRFC) August 6, 2022
My late mother used to love watching Long play, hope she's looking down with a big smile on her face ❤️ #readingfc
Shane Long has scored for Reading and now I've got something in my eye. #readingfc— Greg Double (@Dubstep1988) August 6, 2022
To celebrate a Shane Long goal for Reading Football Club with my son who wasn’t born the last time he scored for us is special #readingfc— Ben Thomas (@mrblthomas) August 6, 2022
It was going to take some performance to to get more headlines than Long on Saturday, but Ince Jr did just that.
There will always be that element of ‘he’s only playing because his dad’s the manager’ but honestly, if he keeps playing like that, I really don’t care.
He was simply incredible all afternoon. He led the way in terms of fight and determination to get back into the game, and his team mates followed. And to top it all off, he planted a screamer into the top corner to win the game. A seriously impressive afternoon’s work from Ince.
The fans were clearly delighted with his showing...
Ive not seen a player run like Tom Ince did yesterday since Stephen Hunt in his pomp. There was a moment around 80 minutes where he sprinted after keeper then was back in our half about 5 seconds later. Incredible #readingfc— Purty good thanks (@CheckmateBA) August 7, 2022
Tom Ince is an absolute firecracker as well. Fast developing into my favourite player at the club #ReadingFC— Alex Everson (@Readingfanman) August 6, 2022
Absolutely brilliant victory and thoroughly deserved too, the whole team worked their socks off, in particular Ince Jr was non stop and my Motm for sure. Good to be back #readingfc— Dan (@DanTheMan__98) August 6, 2022
A big win
Like I said previously, getting a +3 as early as possible in the season is vitally important. What was so impressive though was the way we got the points. Yes, we conceded a poor goal, but we had the spirit to come back, score two goals and then hold on to the lead comfortably.
There were a few hairy moments, but overall it was an impressive afternoon and one we need to build on...
Great win that! Grew into the game and looked pretty tight at the back second half. Just need to start games better but we play like that every week and we should be fairly comfortable. #Readingfc— Jamie Collis (@JamieCollis1995) August 6, 2022
What a turnaround from last week.— Blue And White Wall (@bluewhitewall) August 6, 2022
Last week we played in a disgusting town. Played awful. Had horrible weather.
Paul Ince puts on his magic hat and makes a wonderful afternoon of football. Great weather and a great game.
Went behind early but fought for the win.#ReadingFC
Really happy with the win today. Not totally convincing tactically but the attitude from the players was so much better than we've seen the last few seasons! Mentality could be the clincher this season and today was really encouraging. #readingfc— Blue & White Jester (@bw_jester_rfc) August 6, 2022
That’s was a stonking win, the team were brilliant. There may not be too many days like that this season so lets enjoy them when they happen. Passion and tenacity back today and atmosphere was great, my club is coming back! #ReadingFC @ReadingFC— Clive Wratten (@Clivewratten) August 6, 2022
We’ve won a game when being a goal down. My word. Quality win. Battled and battled for that. More of that fighting spirit and we’ll be well clear of the drop. #readingfc— Jacob Potter (@pott95) August 6, 2022
A big win, but one that needs to be built on. Long was brilliant, Ince was magnificent. Get Sam Hutchinson and (fingers crossed) Naby Sarr into this team and the foundations are there to build a half-decent team.
Carry that kind of mentality and desire throughout the whole season and the fans will be happy, and we might just have a better season than we’re all expecting.