We’ve had more than our fair share of nervy one-goal wins this season. And although we’ve rode our lucks on a few occasions during those matches, it has largely been down to much improved game management than what we’ve been used to in recent years.
However, on Saturday we had a little throwback to seasons gone by. It gets said time and time again, largely because it’s true, but if you go two goals up at home you really should be winning that match.
However, it wasn’t to be and we were punished for a poor second-half performance. Here's what the fans had to say...
Hendrick hasn’t lived up to expectations since signing. However, Saturday was his best performance of the season by a mile, and not just because of the two goals - but they certainly helped.
The first of his brace was an absolute beauty, one of those rare occasions when the screams of ‘SHOOOOOOOT’ from the crowd are a) reciprocated and b) actually end with a goal. The second was a much easier finish.
He hasn’t been top of the fans’ Christmas card list since he joined, but they certainly enjoyed what they saw against QPR...
Rumour has it Jeff Hendrick has a foot like a traction engine. #readingfc— Thomas (@rfctom) January 14, 2023
Jeff Hendrick woke up feeling like prime Zidane this morning #ReadingFC— Crooky (@Crook1871) January 14, 2023
Hendrick! About time playing-your-former-club magic worked in our favor #ReadingFC— Scott (@American_Royals) January 14, 2023
Hendrick's on fire, NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA. #Readingfc— Exiled Royal (@exiled_royal) January 14, 2023
If Jeff Hendrick scores a hat-trick, I’m going to have to retire from twitter.— Greg Double (@Dubstep1988) January 14, 2023
To be very fair, he’s having a blinder. #readingfc
The second half
From the good to the bad. And the second half really was quite bad. As Ince said after the game, we have a tendency to sit back when we go in front and invite pressure. Mostly this season we’ve managed to see out the win, but on Saturday it came back to bite us.
Our intensity dropped, and we kept sitting deeper and deeper and ultimately got what we deserved. In fact you could argue we were fortunate to get a point in the end. The fans weren’t happy with the second half showing...
sit back for the whole of the second half that’s what happens subs very negative from ince and dann didn’t win a ball. Lumley saves world class #readingfc— Chazzer (@charlie_r_17) January 14, 2023
Furious with that. #readingfc got what they deserved for such an overwhelmingly negative second half. Dann and Sarr looked a disaster. Baffling tactics from Ince and strange subs, Lumley to thank for even getting a draw. Two points thrown away in predictable fashion.— George Flood (@GeorgeFlood24) January 14, 2023
Still trying to understand the logic of trying (and failing miserably) to shut up shop at 60 minutes and sit back. Poor tactics and really annoying result #readingfc— Becki White (@MissBeckaEllen) January 14, 2023
Bottled it again. Feels like a loss. Time after time we sit back when ahead and get punished #readingfc— Ryan (@Ryan1871_) January 14, 2023
Frustrating that, great first half performance and a deserved lead. Sat back too much second half and the defensive subs made us look worse defensively. Thought we then looked too wooden at the back, up against 3/4 agile QPR forwards. #readingfc— Steven Hansell (@steveyroyal) January 14, 2023
Got to wonder if that clear penalty that the ref didn't give would have changed the game - but other than that a poor defensive performance in the second half #readingfc— Cal (@CalRam2) January 14, 2023
What certainly didn’t help with the performance was some questionable substitutes from Paul Ince midway through the second half. Bringing McIntyre and Dann on for Loum and Hoilett was a bit overly negative, some fans felt.
We all know Ince is no tactical mastermind, but some fans are finding it frustrating just how negative Ince is with his tactics and subs...
Paul Ince is to blame for todays results, shocking tactical decisions, substitution choices were the main blame but you could tell we’d sit back in the second half and it would cost us, once again, #2pointslost #readingfc— Mac (@MacauleyWeaver) January 14, 2023
Paul ince needs to hold his hands up and realise he got those subs all wrong! Invited pressure with CBs having the pace of a snail! #readingfc— jamie (@jamiec9900) January 14, 2023
Paul Ince needs to take the accountability at full-time. Why did we change what we were doing in the first half? #readingfc— Luke (@Luke1871_) January 14, 2023
Paul Ince has a lot to answer for. Those substitutions were absolutely shocking. #ReadingFC— Tatum (@Tatum1871) January 14, 2023
Paul Ince totally cost us 2 points today. We were so so comfortable and then he goes and completely changes it. What was he thinking . Awful awful management. #ReadingFC— Dean Bennett (@DeanBennett1993) January 14, 2023
A good first half but a really, really poor second half and we got what we deserved. Ince has to take some accountability, which for someone reason I doubt he’ll do publicly, because those substitutions were questionable to say the least.
But he wasn’t the only problem, the defending for both QPR’s goals left a lot to be desired and there's a lot of work to do before Stoke next weekend.