News and Views
Reading 2 Nottingham Forest 0: Review
31 October 2016
By Alex Bower
Reading returned to winning ways at the Madejski with a 2-0 win against Nottingham Forest. Goals came from Garath McCleary and Chris Gunter, who both happened to be playing against their former club. Here are some of the things to come out of the game.
Reading Up To Fifth
Back at the start of this season, I don't think that anyone will have expected to be up near the top of the table. After the league positioning of recent years and with both a new manager and squad, fans will have been somewhat optimistic but also realistic about what to expect this year.
While people may be frustrated at times by how the side is set up to play these days, there can be no complaint about where the Royals find themselves currently in the table. Of course it is still early in the season and you only need to take a look at last season to see how things can fall apart as time goes on. Reading have, however, started this season well and can hopefully maintain their position until the end of the year.
Al-Habsi At It Again
Much has been said about Ali Al-Habsi's heroics in recent games, but the Reading goalkeeper was at it again on Saturday. At a time when the Royals were only one goal up, Al-Habsi made a number of crucial saves in spectacular fashion.
It is a seemingly recurring point that Al-Habsi is making great saves at the moment and keeping Reading in games as a result. While it is great to see him performing so well, the next step will hopefully be to see the defence stepping up to prevent such chances reaching him in the first place.
Gunter Goal Silences Criticism
One player who seems to have been on the receiving end of a fair amount of stick is Chris Gunter. The Wales international seems to frustrate many fans with his ability to largely pass the ball backwards and not block crosses when defending.
Potentially my favourite moment of the game was during the second half. Gunter was getting his usual criticism from the fans sitting around me as normal. Shortly after, he was in the box and had scored. Everyone stood up, applauded and was stunned to silence. People may still be critical of his play, but for that moment it was amusing to see them silenced (or at least muttering under their breath) by what was a great and rare goal for the defender.
Has Anyone Seen Beerens?
Prior to this season, Roy Beerens was one of the new players that I felt would really make an impact this season. The Dutchman has skills, pace and good technical ability - At least on paper.
The midfielder's performances have been somewhat frustrating. While he has the ability, he has seemingly struggled to make an impact on games and is becoming an absent figure for large periods while on the pitch.
The problem has also been Jaap Stam's stubbornness when it comes to substitutions. Against Forest, however, Stam did finally substitute Beerens when he was under-performing. The midfielder has a habit of disappearing during games and subsequently still has much to improve on.
Matt Mills - Forever The Pantomime Villain
After missing out on the last game through suspension, Matt Mills was surely happy to be returning to face his ex-club. When Forest come to town there is always one thing you can rely on and that is the consistent chanting directed at the ex-Reading defender.
Despite having pretty much every obscenity thrown at him and being booed every time he touched the ball, Mills even made sure to wave at the East stand after the final whistle. Credit to Mills it was handled well by him and provided much amusement to a large section of the home crowd.
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