PNE Fans’ Panel: Culprits were the “shoddy” defenders says John Smith

From being as scarce as hen’s teeth, wins on the road had become so frequent of late that I’ve been in danger of needing an abacus to count them.

Sunday, 31st March 2019, 2:24 pm
Updated Sunday, 31st March 2019, 3:28 pm
Ben Pearson had to come off injured

Before the game travelling through the idyllic picturesque villages of Berkshire which double up as Midsomer in the long running television murder series, I was optimistic of seeing an unprecedented seventh straight away win.

However, while the result did not kill off our play off hopes it certainly dealt them a devastating, if not fatal, blow. If DCI John Barnaby was conducting an enquiry into the matter he would name the culprits as the shoddy defenders who gifted Reading two simple goals in the first half which left us chasing the game.

We had only won once on our previous 13 visits to this stadium, losing on nine occasions and although Alex Neil tinkered with the formation at half-time and went for broke we never really looked like salvaging anything from the game with Jayden Stockleys late goal being just a consolation.

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The game saw a first start for Callum Robinson but I thought he looked a bit rusty with strike partner Lukas Nmecha looking a bit jaded after his international exploits.

We looked more threatening following the double substitution at half-time but were then hampered with an injury to Brandon Barker who was looking lively following his introduction to the fray. As the clock ticked on it became increasingly difficult, especially when my man of the match Ben Pearson also suffered an injury.

And although he battled on bravely, he eventually had to come off as we finished the game with 10 men. With regards to our play-off hopes the fat lady might not be singing just yet but I feel she is starting to clear her throat in readiness.