There are few things in life more baffling than this Reading team at the moment. Away from home we’re passive, weak and lacklustre, but at home we’re a completely different team.
The performance was by no means ground-breaking on Saturday, but at least we looked like scoring - which we did three times - and looked to take the game to Blackpool. It is our home form that will keep us in this league, but there is no reason why we can’t play with that kind of intent away from home too.
Here’s how the fans reacted to the key talking points from a vitally important win...
Amazingly, Paul Ince went with a back four from the start on Saturday. Among many things, that allowed Yakou Meite to be deployed in what many of us think is his strongest position: on the right wing.
And he showed why he should be playing there more often than not. He was a menace right from the start and showed plenty of those marauding, wrecking-ball-esque runs - two of which led to the penalty and Ince’s second.
He’s already a fans’ favourite, but the supporters love him even more when he plays like that...
Play Meite In his best position...2 assists & wins a pen. Only taken Ince a year to work it out #readingfc @willow1871— Julian Cox (@juskicox) February 25, 2023
Meite man of the match by an absolute mile, been an absolute beast down the right hand side. Deserved his standing ovation #readingfc— Jack (@thesimpsonRFC) February 25, 2023
Brilliant win, annoying goal to concede though. Ince brilliant, Meite my MOTM, monster performance in his proper position #readingfc— Nick Houlton (@Houlton11) February 25, 2023
Defenders on toast is a weird meal but Yakou Meite loves it #readingfc— Adam GC Jones (@ajonesrfc) February 25, 2023
I’m actually finding this Yakou Meite performance annoying now.— Greg Double (@Dubstep1988) February 25, 2023
Whenever he’s fit and played in his best position, there aren’t many more effective players in the Championship.
Injuries happen, but the misuse is so irritating. #readingfc
Meite was the difference yesterday. It’s taken Ince 12 months to realise Yak is a wide player! At full pelt he is unplayable. We’ll stay up so ultimately Ince has done well but watching his football & listening to his interviews is painful #readingfc— Jordan Norris (@Jordo_Grittt) February 26, 2023
It’s a scary thought to think where we’d be this season without Tom Ince. He doesn’t wear the armband but it’s clear he’s the leader on the pitch, the one willing to take the game by the scruff of the neck.
He bagged two more goals on Saturday, taking his tally to nine for the season, to go along with the four assists. Realistically you could’ve given him the player of the season award in December.
The fans loved what they saw from the former Blackpool man...
Tom Ince vs Rashford for the ballon D’Or is going to be quite something#readingfc #mufc— Pipey (@matt11p) February 25, 2023
TOM INCE GET IN THERE SON!!! #ReadingFC— Tatum (@Tatum1871) February 25, 2023
2 goals from Tom Ince today!!! @ReadingFC @RFCCommunity #readingfc #TomInce #ReadingCommunity #grassrootsfootball pic.twitter.com/uUuaHtOJq8— Rachel Tasker (@BetterBunting) February 25, 2023
Goooooooaaaaaaalllllll !!! Tom Ince makes it 1-0 #readingfc— Andy (@Brownie1871) February 25, 2023
Yesterdays performance was Tom Ince’s fifth @WhoScored man of the match award— Dan Worth (@DannWorth) February 26, 2023
He’s #ReadingFC ‘s highest rated player this season (7.03) pic.twitter.com/zN0DvOzdjR
Tom ince is just everything isn’t he #readingfc— RfcMiliano (@RFCmiliano) February 25, 2023
A vital win
As I said earlier, it was a vital win. We criticise the away form, so it’s only right we praise the home form. It is actually impressive how a team so poor away from home can look like getting points against any team at home.
As frustrating as we and Ince have been recently, to be sitting where we are at this stage of the season is an achievement in itself - and more than what we could’ve expected in August.
The fans were happy with another big home win...
Disappointing to have conceded late, once again, yesterday but another 3 points closer to safety. Already equaled last season’s number of wins… #readingfc— Rich1871 (@richiec87) February 26, 2023
Got in and watching the rugby and that’s just the performance we needed today and a great win let’s keep this momentum of winning at home going and it will help.#Readingfc— Mark Talks Sport (@MarkTalksSport) February 25, 2023
Solid win that. Didn’t get out of second gear. Blackpool the worst team we’ve played against this season so far. #readingfc— Jacob Potter (@pott95) February 25, 2023
Great to see the stadium fairly full for the first time in a long time. Topped off by taking my grandad and he gets to see a 3-1 win. Up the Biscuitmen. #readingfc— Jackson (@JacksonsCorner_) February 25, 2023
We needed to win that game and we did it because we finally played attacking football. Let’s get stronger and go again against Middlesbrough to gain some momentum. Yakou Meite was absolutely brilliant ⚪️ #readingfc— Luke (@Luke1871_) February 25, 2023
Cracking win. Mega three points. Hopefully can build some more results from here #readingfc— Harry Sands (@SarryHands) February 25, 2023
All bundle on! A great win for #readingfc pic.twitter.com/ekUfkmENBS— Steve Poole (@TheRealStavioni) February 25, 2023
A really good, important win. Perhaps it's a win that brings up frustrations as well though - why on earth can’t we play with that kind of intent away from home? If we did, I guarantee we’d have a lot more than 11 points on our travels this season.
However, it’s important to praise the win for what it was as well: a comfortable, solid three points that gets us within touching distance of that crucial 50-point mark. Happy days.