Every Reading game seems to be a rollercoaster to be honest, and Saturday afternoon summed that up really. It was a poor first 60 minutes: the players were sloppy in possession, not that aggressive out of it and the opposition didn’t really have to do all that much to find themselves with a comfy lead (where have we heard that before?).
However, once Reading pulled one back through Tom Ince’s penalty, we were a completely different team. And Jeff Hendrick even popped up with a wonderful equaliser.
There were mixed emotions from the fans after a really mixed game...
A poor first hour
As I said, for the first hour we were poor. Other than a Tom Ince effort that was forced wide by the ‘keeper, we didn’t threaten going forward. And we were pretty bad defensively, conceding two sloppy goals - particularly the second.
The most annoying or worrying part was that it was by no means the first time we’ve seen the team play like that. And the fans weren’t happy...
Woeful! The same week in week out! I couldn’t tell you what our game plan is, what’s the tactics? This is every week #ReadingFC its frustrating to watch— VinLK (@VinLK3) February 4, 2023
Absolutely abysmal ‘defending’. Really not sure how Lumley let him pull that ball across from that position either. #readingfc— Andy C #FBPE (@AndyRFCCharman) February 4, 2023
Just can’t understand how with 3CBs that there is ever that much space in the box. Such a poor goal to give away #readingfc— Dom (@domwindle) February 4, 2023
I can only assume that Alex Rae fell asleep with the rest of us (and our defence) during the first half if he thinks that was a great advertisement for The Championship! #readingfc https://t.co/GN6U2VJmfB— Andy C #FBPE (@AndyRFCCharman) February 4, 2023
A strong comeback
I don’t tend to agree with Paul Ince on many things to be honest, but he’s right in saying that we’ve seen capitulations before in the kind of situation we found ourselves in on Saturday.
You can have your say on whether you think Ince is the right man to take us forward beyond this season or not, but has installed some of the old-fashioned cojones into the players. And they showed it again with a great comeback.
The fans were delighted to see us fight back to a draw...
Great comeback. Shows the spirit and fight in this squad is alive and kicking under Ince. #readingfc— Jonathan Richards (@JR_1871) February 4, 2023
Credit for coming back from 2-0 down but it begs the question why we can’t play more like that at 0-0. #readingfc— Dom (@domwindle) February 4, 2023
Great result for #ReadingFC. Annoying we don’t play until we’re down but will take a draw and on we go.— Dan Worth (@DannWorth) February 4, 2023
A good point today. Certainly would of taken that before kick off. Bringing Azeez on at LWB was a good change. I know people like to give Ince stick when his subs don’t work out. #readingfc— Steven Kemp (@StevenK37506094) February 4, 2023
I know Ince’s game management is usually horrid but he did well today. Changed the game and picked up a valuable point. Just gotta keep ticking on until the end of the season #readingfc— Harry Sands (@SarryHands) February 4, 2023
Hendrick may not have exactly set the world alight with his performances this season, but he sure does have a decent goal in him. First the long-ranger against QPR a couple of weeks ago and now this, a Paul Scholes-esque volley from Ince’s corner to earn us a point.
The fans certainly enjoyed the strike...
Hendrick thats absolute filth, what a strike son #readingfc— James Roberts (@JamesRobertsFM) February 4, 2023
Welp, if there is one thing that can be said about Jeff Hendrick, is technical ability is second to none! #readingfc— Alex Lane-Kieltyka (@alex_elkay21) February 4, 2023
GOAL OF THE SEASON JEFF HENDRICK! OH WHAT AM I WITNESSING #readingfc— Zac (@ZacLONDON_31) February 4, 2023
Hendrick is JESUS!— HMS Reading FC (@bluewhitewall) February 4, 2023
HE PERFORMS MIRACLES!
THAT IS WHY HE PLAYS!
HE IS WORLD CLASS!#ReadingFC
A really random observation, but this game reminded me of the 2-2 draw at home to Stoke City in the 2018/2019 season. We did well to come back and get a point from the game, but the results that followed just showed that it papered over cracks more than anything.
I don’t want that to happen again. This point needs to be a catalyst for an upturn in fortunes. There were definitely more negatives than positives in my opinion, and we can't let them become mainstays.