POST MATCH RAMBLE: Reading -v- Wednesday

POST MATCH RAMBLE: Reading -v- Wednesday

Hmm……………

It was cold today, effing cold. Yes, I had a big coat on. Yes I had my (not very) stylish running hat on pulled down over my ears and yes I had gloves on.

Did I put on the scarf I should have ?

No.

Big mistake as the wind somehow seemed to find it’s way around the Madjeski right to the right hand side of my neck.

Being scarfless was almost as big a mistake as going to this game.

The team looked interesting, both Premiership loanees in the starting lineup, plus Hutchinson, our talisman Westwood but only the bench for May, Nuhiu, Helan, Buxton and co. “Contain and hit on the break” seemed to be the motto as we passed the ball around quite smartly, and on the deck for most of the time, in the opening stages. The issue was the ball was passed sideways, backwards, slightly forwards, then sideways, backward and slightly forwards again without any real intent or gain, Yes, I know the opposition can’t score when we’ve got the ball but even so…….

https://lh3.ggpht.com/ExasunqGmdhFZsCRlQ8DTqASan4tp7YEDExtm5gHRvADDWalkTpBl8a5Je-sogMc3lw=h900

Not something iin the SWFC repertoire; A good cross

Anyway, I’m actually struggling to find much that was of real interest in the game as Reading were a very average team who we managed to make look much better than they are by giving them space and allowing them to almost carve us open far too many times. There were at least three balls that sped across our six yard box that just needed a touch but they didn’t apply one, each of which came from a good cross – something we still wouldn’t have managed ourselves even if we were still trying as I write this six hours later.

In a way, therefore, it was no real surprise when Reading did score from a poorly defended cross and you just don’t give Pogrebnyak a free header from the edge of the six yard box, as Westwood told his “defence” in no uncertain terms before giving his near post a right royal kicking in his frustration.

Maghoma

Involved in a goal for a change…not ours though

You’d have hoped that going a goal down might have introduced a bit of urgency into things from our point of view. If it did I, for one, missed it as we continued in the same sideways, backwards, forwards vein much to the annoyance of all those around me. And so it went on, I don’t really recall Federici having much to do apart from one smart save and then, with almost predictable inevitability, Reading scored a second goal which, again, had Westwood doing his nut. I, and many in the stands and in yellow shirts, really think that Maghoma was to blame for lack of cover for this one.

The talk around me at half-time centred on the fact that Gray would have to shake things up and he did by bringing on Nihui for Baker and Helan for Mattock. I was gobsmacked at this latter change as Mattock should not have been the one to make way but Maghoma should, he had had an absolute shocker of a first half IMHO and continued to do so in the second with poor decision making and some truly awful, wayward “finishing”.

It’s not often I find myself wishing a player would get subbed off but today I did, both with Maghoma and Chris Maguire.

Everyone has a talent; Maguire’s is tummelling

I have now come to the conclusion that I don’t want to see Maguire in our starting lineup unless we have no other warm body that can pull on the shirt.

He has become an embarrassment with his constant diving, complaining, gamesmanship and lack of team spirit, all of which were on show again today, the nadir for me being when he had a real go at Palmer for something (maybe getting in Diva Maguire’s way, I’m not sure) to which Palmer responded in kind and the only people that won were the Reading crowd right next to them who thought the whole thing was hilarious.

A few weeks ago I was at Craven Cottage when we lost 4-0 and, on that day to the bemusement of the Fulham fans, we (the supporters) kept going until the end, gallows humour and all that to the fore. Today we (the supporters) started well and Tango enjoyed his role as cheerleader, including a few ‘thank you’ chants of “Milan Mandaric” but as the game progressed the teams showing just sucked that enthusiasm out of most of us.

As it was at the far end of the pitch I couldn’t really see what Helan did to give away a penalty but I started to have horrible visions of my recent trips to Reading and the 6-0 and 5-0 drubbings we received on those being added to. I’m sure it wasn’t me saying “Come on, Keiran, do your stuff” out loud that made him save the penalty as, in truth, distance from it notwithstanding, it looked to be so poorly taken that I could have saved it if I’d been in goal but surely we could take that gift and try and get something from it ?

Stuart Gray

Shuffling the pack to ramp up the averageness

It seems not and Gray tried once more to change things by bringing on Dielna for Hutchinson when most of us would rather have had Maghoma replaced by Stevie May but that wasn’t to be.

Yes we had some (slightly) more, positive, forward movement in the second half but we always looked vulnerable to a sucker punch counter attack that would have finished us off and really flattered Reading who are an average team at best. Wednesday fans were heading for the exits long before the final whistle though, and, as the girl next to me said when 4 minutes of extra time were announced, couldn’t they just have made it 1 minute and let us all go ?

Based purely on his body language after the goals if someone comes in for Westwood before the end of the transfer window I’d guess he’ll snatch their hands off, I wish the rest of the team cared as much and had the passion he showed today. Interestingly enough, though, he was the one that came closest to us to applaud us after the match, Nihui just walked straight off and most of the others didn’t venture much past the half-way line, a little poor I thought given that there were about 2200 of us there today and the total crowd was less than 18,000.

Lees

Solid

For me very few players in yellow emerged with much credit today. Westwood did as much as he could given that he was badly let down by too many in front of him for much of the game. Lees was solid and dependable as, for the most part was Loovens but, unsurprisingly, he got yet another yellow card. I felt for Mattock because I don’t feel he should have been the one to make way at half time. Palmer was OK, Lee worked hard to little avail Hutchinson drifted in and out of things, Maghoma and Maguire were lucky to get 90 minutes for me and I would have that Keane and Baker must be wondering how quickly they can go back to their parent clubs after a day like today. Not quickly enough, probably.

Still, the table says we’re 10th, we have a new owner who may invest in the squad and hopefully we can pick up enough points in the coming weeks to ensure there’s no late season tension around the lower end of the table. Realistically I can’t see us making the playoffs this year which is perhaps no bad thing given some of the deficiencies we showed today and also how Leicester are finding things with, arguably, a much better squad overall than ours.

On the plus side, I was home by about twenty to six and there aren’t that many Reading fans in the office to take the piss out of me on Monday.

Rob Fisher
Owls Alive
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TWITTER: @OwlsAlive


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