Reading returned to League One action after the international break, with more off-field tribulations reverberating around the club in the shape of another points deduction. On the 16th minute, the Reading natives showed their thoughts on it by launching 240 tennis balls onto the pitch, much to the disgruntlement of club officials who had tried to seize them all.
Back to the football and Reading welcomed back some players from injury, with Tyler Bindon returning to reignite his centre-back partnership with Nelson Abbey. Given the level of options we have at centre-back with Harlee Dean/Tom McIntyre/Tom Holmes etc, for Bindon to slot straight back in is a massive vote of confidence in the young American.
Reading weren’t amazing in the first half and the opening 20 minutes saw Bolton Wanderers dominate and then take the lead through the impressive Dion Charles. Reading got better as the game progressed, with Dom Ballard showing some good touches, but truth be told it wasn’t amazing till the introduction of the subs.
While through the Paul Ince reign the substitutions were baffling, I think it’s safe to say that this week it worked. The introduction of Paul Mukairu and Ben Elliot added that little extra class to the team, complementing the sublime play Charlie Savage can produce, when he hit another peach of a shot. Caylan Vickers was introduced with eight mins left and it took him four minutes to finally get his name on the scoresheet with a poacher’s goal, which his performances over the last few games have deserved.
The Trotters were understandably underwhelmed with their team’s performance, and took to the social feeds to vent their anger around the manager’s comments, the substitutions, the effort of the players – you get the drift.
Dropped points, try having them taken off you!
Dropped points against 20th, 21st and 22nd after 7 games. I’m still raging. #bwfc— Sam Evans (@SamTweets95) September 17, 2023
Different views, but you’re wrong
Still irritated by yesterday.— #bwfc (@bwfctalk) September 17, 2023
We should have been out of sight by the time Reading scored their first goal - clear cut chances for Vic and Dion and the most bizarre referee decision when Dion should have had a penalty and the Reading defender red carded #bwfc
Strikers – you’re in League One
Evatt mentioned at the end of last season that our main issue was scoring goals yet he’s gone into this new season with the exact same strikers as last season knowing full well Dion is our only clinical finisher. Without him we’re useless. I genuinely don’t get it #bwfc— #BWFC (@bwfcstuff) September 16, 2023
New York, New York
I wonder why the players looked “drained & fatigued”… nothing to do with the players jetting away during the international break, like Santos going to New York etc.. shot himself in the foot again with this quote #bwfc pic.twitter.com/ewk81BFQgo— …. (@bwfc454) September 16, 2023
Hard work sitting on a beach...
Well you know your place
Let's not sugarcoat this or deflect blame. Reading are poor. We were awful.— Nathan (@N__W6) September 16, 2023
Chances aside, can't believe how sloppy we are at times.
Nowhere near our standards atm. Don't see how you can't be concerned - with tougher games to come too... #BWFC
Editor - new column idea?
Evatt’s post match bingo:— Sam Evans (@SamTweets95) September 16, 2023
“We didn’t deserve to lose”
“We had enough chances to win the game”
“Football is about moments and we didn’t make our moments count”
“We’ll dust ourselves down and get ready for the next one”
I’m going for a full house! #bwfc
Or Bolton’s defending
Not sure what was worse today Big Vics finishing, Evatts subs or the performance of the ref. Poor all round #bwfc— Tom Clarke (@tommyc58) September 16, 2023
You have a weak squad?????
On a serious note. We have a really weak squad— Alistair stubbs (@ajmstubbsuk) September 16, 2023
We are good for goalies.
need at least 2 decent CB’s with our injuries. Jones and iredale need to leave.
Midfield we could do with a little more quality
But upfront we have just 1 decent FW in Charles. The rest are shit #bwfc
If Evatt and Markham had spent more of the summer recruiting better players rather than going on podcasts telling the world how good they are, then maybe we wouldn’t be in this position #bwfc— MB (@mb1979) September 16, 2023
Without going in too hard on him, we've got to square up to the fact that Evatt is a very good coach, but a terrible manager. What he's done on the training ground isn't enough to tolerate his ineffectiveness on game day. He can't read a game real time, he's got no plan B. #bwfc— James (@imnotnorse) September 16, 2023
Love for the subs
The usual highlights package can be found on Sky Sports’ website - not really much of a commentary on the game but there’s two minutes of coverage to watch.
Over at the BBC and they actually have a report. They mention the protest, the off-the-field troubles and that we dominated the second half – I’m not quite convinced on that one.
Looking at the local papers and the Bolton Evening News is starting to question the Bolton hierarchy’s signings, messaging and generally everything. Considering that they are in a healthy position this early in the season, the phrase “could be worse” is apt.
What started off as a horrid start to the week ended up on a Saturday with a decent win. There were a few highlights for me. Firstly, Bindon showing enough composure after conceding the goal, getting bullied a bit, to then rebounding from that in the second half and playing well beyond his years shows, that we may have a baller on our hands. The debut of Ballard again shows there’s a decent footballer begging to be let out. And Vickers getting his goal.
It’s amazing that Ruben Selles has this much confidence in the kids as it would have been easy after a couple of defeats to revert to the established pros, but he’s stayed his course, and it’s a breath of fresh air after the reign of Ince.
What’s important is that we don’t lose any more points through not paying staff or the taxman. A positive from this season is we could be giving the younger players great exposure that may help their development and if we can get a top-half finish the confidence could help shape our future for a few years to come.
Next in the league, we move onto Blackpool who have had a similar season to us so far - well, minus the deductions, and hopefully this team, which doesn’t know when it’s beat, can get a result against the Seasiders.