Let’s get the most important part out of the way first and foremost: it's an absolutely huge win. I don’t think I quite understood the magnitude of the result until I looked at the table on Wednesday morning. Getting over the 40-point mark is massive.
However, elephants in the room need to be addressed and the performance still left a lot to be desired. In the first half in particular we were woeful. With all respect to the visitors, we were lucky we weren't coming up against better opposition, otherwise I’m sure the game would’ve been done and dusted by half time.
Here's how the fans reacted to the key talking points...
A huge win
Like I said, the most important thing is the win. We now sit on 41 points, 12 clear of the drop zone, albeit having played a couple games more than 22nd-placed Wigan Athletic.
From where we were - both in terms of performance and in terms of fans emotions - at half time, to getting a win, is as surprising as it is important. The fans were delighted with three big points...
A massive comeback win for #ReadingFC and finally over that 40 point threshold— Dan Worth (@DannWorth) February 14, 2023
A win is a win is a win is a win. Very much needed three points and hopefully almost there safety wise ❤️ #readingfc— Wimby (@Wimby) February 14, 2023
That papers over some major cracks, but boy did we need that win and 3 points! The overriding point for me from that game is....FOUR AT THE BACK! #readingfc— Tom Maynard (@ttmaynard) February 14, 2023
Paul Ince gets his fair share of criticism, but he made the right call making the double change at half time against Rotherham. I mean, it was an obvious call to make, but it would not have surprised any of us if he’d waited until the 82nd minute to bring someone on.
Femi Azeez, Tyrese Fornah and Nesta Guinness-Walker (who replaced the injured Baba Rahman in the first half) made a real impact and showed more within 10 minutes of the second half than any of their team mates had done in the first.
The fans were certainly impressed with the cameos of the trio...
Right, that first half was diabolical but the second half was a gutsy display. This is the reason why I want Guinness-Walker, Fornah and Azeez to start games. It completely changed the way we play for the better and we came out 2-1 winners #readingfc— chloe (@_chloerfc) February 14, 2023
Azeez, Nesta GW, Fornah CHANGED the game - have to start Friday! Happy Valentine’s Day you bloody royals ⚽️ #readingfc— Greg (@Greg1871) February 14, 2023
Azeez, Nesta and Fornah need to play on Friday. We looked a better team with them on.#readingfc— Joe (@RFCJoeJ) February 14, 2023
If Fornah, NGW and Azeez doesn’t start next game. There’s clearly something wrong with Ince and has his favourites. At least they showed abit of fight when they come on yesterday #readingfc— Joshua Lamb (@lambeyyy1871) February 15, 2023
#ReadingFC are losing, we bring Azeez on for a full half, we win. The man needs to start— Gareth (@OohGareth) February 14, 2023
If NGW and Azeez don’t start next game I will lose any last hope I have remaining. Players that should be starting every game. #readingfc— Glyn (@GlynBull) February 14, 2023
It’s fair to say that, after the Sunderland game, the fans were not happy with the manager. And at half time on Tuesday, I don't think they’re would’ve been any non-expletive tweets for me to include.
However, credit where credit is due, the substitutions and formation change did have an impact - an impact amplified by the two goals (by that I mean the performance wasn't that much better) but an impact nonetheless. Here’s what the fans had to say about Ince after the game...
Ince has done what he was brought into do, I’m grateful for that. He’s just not got enough to take us forward. Next season is too important we’d set ourselves back with him in charge, I believe that even with an improved squad. So cheers Paul. #readingfc— Guilty i support #Readingfc (@royalmint90) February 15, 2023
Fair play to Ince. Shocking first half, his HT changes turned the game and we take a big 3 points. #readingfc— george (@talkmurtytome) February 14, 2023
That scrambled ‘result’ should not save Ince. Players got those points despite not because of him. #readingfc— Andy C #FBPE (@AndyRFCCharman) February 14, 2023
Huge result for us tonight so really pleased in the end- but can’t help thinking Ince has got out of jail massively. Subs changed the game but should have all been starting #readingfc— James Grant (@jamesgrant1992) February 14, 2023
We got the three points, but it’s an even bigger win if it kills off the 5-3-2.— Greg Double (@Dubstep1988) February 14, 2023
There is NO WAY Ince can see that improvement and revert back to it. #readingfc
Good tweet - in my view you only sack a manager once the players stop playing for him. That is far from the situation at this time. They like him & they like playing for him. The vitriol aimed at Ince is puzzling when he kept us last season & looks like he will again. #readingfc https://t.co/PFzfc77SeL— Jonathan Richards (@JR_1871) February 14, 2023
Well done to Ince for making the necessary changes, hopefully he will start them at Cardiff. The change in formation made a difference in the second half. Fingers crossed we ditch 5 at the back for the foreseeable future. #readingfc— Milo (@MiloRoyal1871) February 14, 2023
This. Ince is responsible for the bad form and deserves criticism but you can’t doubt that his changes and switch in formation won us the game. Give credit where it’s due #readingfc https://t.co/Qhg3WYUJP5— Harry Sands (@SarryHands) February 15, 2023
A big win but a questionable performance, to say the least. But a win’s a win and we have to use that as momentum into the next two games which, again, are huge.
After the Blackpool match we could be sitting on 47 points with 12 games to play, a position which it would be very, very difficult to get relegated from (touch wood).
By the way Paul, you did not switch to a 4-2-3-1 at half time, it was a 4-3-3.