Well, it was a game of two halves, wasn’t it?
Until next time.
I’m just joking! Couldn’t leave it like that, could I?! This game signalled a brief respite in the Manchester United debacle (more on that in an upcoming article), so getting back to league action after a week that was dominated by the FA Cup was welcome.
Having missed the the Watford game through Covid (I’m better now, thanks) I was excited to return to the South Reading Stadium. And I guess, ultimately, the key word there is “excited”, which is a welcome feeling this season, certainly in the last few months. I was as confident as a crocodile capturing an unsuspecting gazelle drinking from its waterhole for this game: we are monstrous at home and QPhahahaha had been in poor form heading into it, so the prospect of three points looked strong.
I’d spent a larger part of the morning than is probably less than healthy to admit watching two Aussie blokes mouth the commentary to the recent darts final. To be fair, I had seen them before, but this was a different level kind of funny. If you are on Twitter (or for under-16s reading this, TikTok) check out Shepmates. Hilarious.
I got to the ground pretty late (2.46pm) so swerved into the car park like I was in some sort of demolition derby, whacked on the handbrake (don’t actually have a handbrake) and ran out of the car to scurry across the concrete towards gate five. I absolutely hate missing the players come out (bad omen) so got to my seat just in time to see Yids and co stride out onto the hallowed turf and Reading’s premium sporting venue.
First half I thought we were good: aggressive, forthright and purposeful going forward and not too shabby defensively. Hendrick scored a belter, absolutely swazzing it from outside the area into the bottom left corner. The swerve on the strike was an outrage and it was nice to see a player being told to shoot and then actually shoot and then actually score.
@ReadingFC fans: SHOOOOT!— ITV Football (@itvfootball) January 14, 2023
@JeffHendrick92: okay then
Watch highlights from the @SkyBetChamp and across the @EFL tonight from 9pm on ITV4! pic.twitter.com/18GoPKtyxu
At HT I had to go and collect a QPhahahaha fan from the away end for the half-time mega death challenge and let me tell you: they were clucking from their non-performance in the first 45 minutes. The glumness cascaded down the block like a big fat sad cloud and I drank it in like a Tudor king at a banquet.
Responsibilities done and done, I went down to the concourse to gather refreshments (which I pay for, before anyone starts). The wait to collect my edible merchandise was too long, frankly. I missed the first eight minutes of the half and once I’d got back to my seat, we looked a different team. The play was stagnant, the endeavour gone. The visitors slowly grew back into the game and eventually got one back, ultimately turning the screw fully to read “draw”. Fair play, it would have been easy for them to totally collapse, but they came out in the second 45 and really deserved the draw, perhaps even the full three points.
The bare facts are that if you are 2-0 up at half time, you should be winning the game. We didn’t do enough in any area of the pitch to warrant getting the win; the subs were bizarre and overall we were left with a point and a bag load of regrets.
A bad result of course. Bad performance? Certainly the second period leaves a lot to be desired from everyone, manager included. The subs were naff, concentration slipped and the whole performance fell apart quicker than a mishandled Lego model. Stoke City up next, which promises to be another mid-table thunder puffin.
Until next time.