Seeing Shane Long’s name on the team sheet must be starting to strike fear into Derby County whenever Reading come to town. Despite his recent poor form, Long stepped up to score both goals Saturday (his seventh in as many games against Derby) as Reading finally ended an agonising run of draws.
Not only was it a good team result, but Shane Long finally produced the end product to go with his good all round play. Standing up to take a penalty when not in the best form of your career is never an easy thing to do, and the confidence from that goal seemed to spur him on. Whilst the validity of the penalty, as with most, is still being debated there was little doubt about the fine finish for his second goal.
Brian McDermott rightly praised Long’s contribution after the game. The biggest challenge for him now is to keep the form going and hopefully come the New Year Long will be up into double figures for goals.
It was also something of a relief to see another side being as wasteful with chances as we have been in previous games. It has been a while since a team has had almost double the number of shots we have had, although their cause wasn’t helped by another fine display by Federici in goal. He pulled off some top saves, especially near the end to help keep the scores level.
The poor travelling conditions seemed to cause some of the players to opt for a train back down south with those fans able to attend the game. It may have been a long tiring journey back, but I am sure for all involved it was a very happy one. Whilst calling the game off may have been preferential for many who struggled to make the game (most notably the supporters club coaches), it’s vital that we get as many points on the board before we enter the busy Christmas period, especially as the table is so tight.
The win was enough to move us seven places up the table. Ordinarily I would have thought that with our poor run we would have been well out of the play-off race. But this is no normal season, lose the next game and we will be right back in the middle of a relegation battle!
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.