Just as it seems Reading are about to hit a good run, something seems to get in the way and this time it was an in form QPR team eager to return to the top of the table.
This was the first big test for a side that seems completely inconsistent and unfortunately they left Loftus road with a clear ‘must try harder’ message. This was a sentiment echoed by boss Brian McDermott, who stated the Reading players were not physical enough to match Neil Warnock’s side.
The most worrying factor to take from this game is that for the second time in a row the Royals found themselves 3-1 down, suggesting some of the defensive frailties seen earlier in the season (before the Sig sale and team rebuild) are not completely fixed.
It seems hard to believe that coming into this game the Royals boasted one of the best defensive records in the league despite struggling for the first month of the season to keep a clean sheet, and this probably says more about the new attack philosophy of English football than anything else.
Despite being outmuscled and outscored at Loftus Road it is still unclear how much to read into this result. With QPR leading the division for most of the season and Reading showing the signs of a mid table team with play-off intents, was anything other than a defeat really expected?
Sadly after two hard fought wins and with QPR failing to win in the last four attempts, this may have seemed the ideal time to play them. The game itself however was not completely forgettable; the one real plus from the day was Shane Long celebrating his new contract with a goal that didn’t come from the penalty spot.
He is one player that has found it hard to really win over the supporters, largely due to his lower goals to game ratio when compared to players of the past. If he is trying to finally win the fans this is a great way to start and hopefully he can take this through to the next game with Cardiff.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.