A trip to West Bromwich Albion with the form they’re in is one of the toughest games in the league at the moment, but for some reason I was still quietly optimistic going into Monday. This team have shown that they can stay in matches against so-called better opposition and nick a result - the last game at Norwich City being an example of that.
However, in the first half we were blown away - particularly in the opening 20 minutes or so. And in the second half the hosts got the winner they probably deserved. We just weren't at the races and didn’t do anywhere near enough to get a point.
Here’s how the fans reacted to the game...
A poor start
That opening 20 minutes or so was really painful to watch. West Brom could’ve easily had five or six.
As Paul Ince said after the game, the team looked leggy and tired. We did manage to stop the bleeding slightly as the game went on, but if you start a game as bad as we did it’s so hard to build any kind of momentum. You’re always on the back foot.
The fans didn't like what they saw in the opening exchanges...
This looks like we'll be getting another hiding here. The difference in class when attacking is huge. #readingfc— Milo (@MiloRoyal1871) January 2, 2023
It’s gonna be a long game if we keep playing like this #readingfc— Ben George (@BenGeor41996349) January 2, 2023
We have been absolutely horrendous so far, have no idea how its not at least 3 or 4-0 already #readingfc— Dan (@DanTheMan__98) January 2, 2023
ponderous, sloppy, disinterested, tired performance - yet somehow still 0-0#readingfc— Al (@dadros70) January 2, 2023
Thought I was coming home after 5 mins but we have survived somehow #readingfc— Father Christmas (@vinty_boy) January 2, 2023
The positive attacking football by #wba is the polar opposite of #readingfc.— Mathew White (@Mathewjwhite) January 2, 2023
We are so slow, static, allowing opposition to regroup and get back into position. No urgency, no movement, no willingness or desire. Always looking to slow down play as if we are two nil up.
Remarkably, in such a poor overall performance, there were a few really good individual performances. Mamadou Loum was really good in midfield and Tom McIntyre impressed at the back, but the stand-out was most definitely Joe Lumley.
Without him in the first half it would’ve been a massacre. He kept us in the game with a couple of really good saves. He’s fast becoming a proper fans’ favourite...
Joe Lumley entering the race for Player of the Season. Becoming a hugely mportant member of team. Top 'keeper #readingfc— Neil Warren (@Neilsthings) January 2, 2023
If we don't concede by half time then Lumley deserves a knighthood. #readingfc— Naby Sarr's Left Foot (@SirthomasVIII) January 2, 2023
Joe Lumley is on performance enhancing drugs today #readingfc— Nick Houlton (@Houlton11) January 2, 2023
Joe Lumley with one of the best saves you’ll see this season. Critical. #readingfc— Tom Light (@tomlight93) January 2, 2023
Definitely riding our luck here, Lumley has been superb #readingfc— Dan (@DanTheMan__98) January 2, 2023
A deserved loss
Although we were slightly better in the second half, we were still lucky it only finished 1-0. We didn’t deserve to get anything from the game and it looked to be one match too far for the players in what’s been a very tight festive schedule.
It was just one of those games where we came up against a better team. The tactics were slightly frustrating - we were toothless in attack. But this result won’t define our season.
The fans shared their thoughts on both performance and the result after the game...
Didn’t deserve anything from that, but can’t be too despondent all things considered. West Brom had too much quality & we can’t always bumble our way through games to nick something. Not saying that’s ideal, but it’s the state of where we’re at at the moment #readingfc— Matt Williams (@mattwilliams100) January 2, 2023
Deserved nothing from that. Look tired. Look devoid of ideas. Super-negative tactics never quite seen to suit us plus I don’t think we are too enough to park the bus. Even when we were behind we didn’t create much. Season wise, we’re doing just fine. #readingfc— Simon Latson (@SimonLatson) January 2, 2023
Deserved result, but once again missing simple chances that would have saved us a point #readingfc— Cal (@CalRam2) January 2, 2023
Awful start, questionable calls as always, but a decent fight away at the form team in the Championship. No huge deal given our recent results. Loum/Lumley standouts. #Readingfc— calum (@caldini4) January 2, 2023
No complaints over that result. Tough start but overall better performance than at the Madejski. #ReadingFC— M ️tthew (@MaffRoyal) January 2, 2023
Deserved nothing today. 4 points from 3 tough games. January and February will be massive. Winnable games there. #ReadingFC— Jamie Hodder (@Jamie_Hodder21) January 2, 2023
Don’t deserve anything from the game, but how does the cross come in and no one cut it out… #ReadingFC— Tony Dempster (@DempsterTony) January 2, 2023
A tough start to the New Year, but it was always going to be. I’ll reiterate: our goal and the goal of teams like West Brom this season are very different. Until we’re mathematically safe, staying up has to be our number one priority.
In the grand scheme of things, we’re having a decent season. And it’s important to keep sight of that. URZ.