Hampshire Royal The first half was the best I've seen a Reading team play for a couple of years. It was clear that Stam is trying to instil a Holland/Man U style of play.Pass the ball around, keeping possession, then only break when the opposition defence are out of position. I could hear,as has been said above, that people were calling for the ball to be lumped forward. Why? Keep possession and use the ball properly when you can. In the second half, PNE used their size and strength trying to intimidate us. It nearly worked on occasion, but we deservedly held on to win. That's not to say that we didn't attack in the second half, we did! But if we are going to play with wingers, who put in good high crosses, we need a big 'target man'. Unfortunately, Kermorgant isn't that player.
The defence didn't give me as many kittens as they did last season; the midfield was excellent, the attack lacked something. Rakels didn't play badly, but he was in the wrong position. Evans was brilliant as were Swift,and McClearly, Joey VDB was what we missed last season. He's a tough CB (at least he was today) and you could see the PNE players were frightened of him, not because he was going to thump them (although he did on a number of occasions, but because he just robustly stopped them. Williams was my MOTM.
It is obviously very early in the season, and things may go wrong, but I feel that there's something about this team which wasn't there in the in the last couple of years and it's really quite exciting!!
I don't know who PNE's youth manager is, so enormous respect to their players and fans for wholeheartedly giving their applause for Eamonn Dolan. on both occasions it was asked for.
Top Flight What a game and what a performance!
It's definitely a work in progress. They will make mistakes and they will lose some games but things are certainly moving in the right direction already. I wasn't expecting Jaap to have got a performance like that out of them after just a month on the training ground.
If he can get them to that after a month then the future looks very bright indeed.
Nameless Nice that Preston presented flowers to Mrs Dolan just before ko.
The huge picture on the outside of the former North Stand is mightily impressive.