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Reading v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship

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Two Up, Two Down: Plucking the (many) positives and (few) negatives from Sunlun’s 3-0 win!

No strikers, no worries! The lads came up with a stellar display against in-form Reading – but what did our panel see as our positives and negatives?

Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images

Jon Guy says…

Two up!

Patrick Roberts

His two goals may be what he is remembered for but his performance was a lot more than that and I think he took it on himself to lead the line when Simms went off. He was the player we saw at the tail end of last season and could be a key man in the weeks to come.

The third goal

What can you say about that goal? It was class from start to finish but more importantly if you were a young talented player you’d want to be part of a team who can play like that.

Two down

Simms’ injury

It’s the last thing we need and we have to hope it is not too serious. He had the chance to lead the line for an extended period with Ross out.

Getting out of the traps

We still need to start quicker and with more quality. We didn’t start well and it was a poor first 25 minutes from both sides in terms of the quality of passing. We grew as the game went on but better teams might have punished us. It’s really a very tenuous down as there is so much to be positive about despite Simms’ injury.

Reading v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images

Mark Wood says…

Two up!

Patrick Roberts.

Wow. I couldn’t decide which of his two goals was the best, the first with a snooker-like finish, or the second where he ghosted past the Reading back line and stroked the ball into the corner. Then came the third goal, which was one of the best team goals we have scored anywhere. Three great goals on one of those days where you have to say we put in a complete away performance.

Aje Alese. On a night when we were spoiled for choice for the positives to choose, the one I am going for is the performance of Alese. Like Patrick Roberts, he has been waiting for his chance since the start of the season and he didn’t disappoint. He made a tackle early on and came gliding away with the ball before delivering a calm pass. From that point you could see he was going to step up to the plate and didn’t lose a challenge on the ground or in the air all night.

Two down

Another injury

Obviously, the injury to Ellis Simms. We don’t know how long he will be out for, but the news is that is possibly a toe injury. If he is out for a few weeks, then that leaves us with no recognised strikers for the time being, although after this performance we look like we can cope!

Not getting Simms off sooner

There are not many negatives after a night like this, and to pick one more feels more like nit-picking, but if I have to choose something then I would like to have seen Ellis Simms brought off sooner to avoid aggravating the damage instead of letting him go down I think three times after his injury. Still, you have to say Tony Mowbray came up with one of the best reorganisations during a game you can wish to see anywhere.

Reading v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Kev Campbell says…

Two up!

Solid at the back

One thing that will undoubtedly fly under the radar from tonight’s performance is superb defending. Even with top-class Dan Ballard and Dennis Cirkin out injured, our defence looked absolutely unflappable. Beyond one or two half chances, Reading never even threatened the 18-yard box, let alone the face of goal. Alese and O’Nien were superb defensively and starting our attacks and Danny Batth was a brick wall in the centre.

No striker, no problem

Obviously, the prospect of being without Stewart and Simms for an extended period is worrying, but the creative quality oozed out of our side with Pritchard as a false 9. The third goal was a world-class, sublime, Manchester City-esque team goal, that put on full display just how good our squad can be going forward.

Two down


Unless we dip into the free-agent market, we’re possibly without a striker for a time… However, see above.

I genuinely can’t find anything else to gripe about!

Reading v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by David Horton - CameraSport via Getty Images

Andrew Smithson says…

Two up!

Spreading the load

With the injuries mounting up, particularly in the striker department, it was great to see players stepping up and contributing in terms of goals and general play. Aji Alese slotted in with the minimum of fuss and we even had the luxury of being able to bring a couple of lads on in the second half to rest some legs and help get the new faces up to speed.

Slick Sunderland

Any 3-0 away win would be notable, but to do it against an in-form side and in such a convincing fashion was great to see. I’d expected Reading to struggle this season but they’ve actually been in good form - yet Sunderland looked so much sharper with their play and on this evidence could well have the better season.

We scored three superb goals and looked superior in every department. Everyone played their part, even those making cameos, and Tony Mowbray must be pleased with the potential his has seen from his squad.

Two down

Sunderland Wednesday

These Wednesday night fixtures will take some getting used to - Tuesday has always been the traditional day for midweek games in my time and were it not for external factors I doubt the club would want that to change.

In practical terms, playing 24 hours after Watford could put us at a disadvantage come the weekend but I was encouraged at least to see some thought and resource being put into it from our end. It will be tough for those with young kids etc to be stopping down south now for a couple of nights, but the plan to remain and train in the area reduces the amount of travelling and could make a difference. Preparation is vital, and thankfully it seems as if things are being put in place to give the Lads the best chance possible to get themselves ready.

Pedants’ corner

Our loanee from Manchester United has stated more than once now that he prefers to be known simply as Amad, yet we are still seeing official sources using either his full name or referring to him as Diallo. It is understandable to a point, and mistakes are inevitable from time to time, but if people are going to regularly get a bloke’s name wrong, it starts to look a bit disrespectful.

It can be difficult after a good win to find fault so perhaps I am searching too hard for something to raise, but I am a miserable get at times and a real pedant with regards to such matters so now I’ve spotted it I need to get it off my chest! Hopefully, the lad himself is not as bothered, and the early signs suggest he could have something about him.


Pause for thought


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