Brian McDermott was given a hero’s welcome when he made his return to the Madejski Stadium, and the players clearly reacted by bagging Reading’s first home victory over Blackburn Rovers in nearly 30 years.
Blackburn could have established an early lead, but Ben Marshall couldn’t bury his chance, after Paul McShane had a defensive relapse.
Reading opened an unexpected lead just ten minutes in though, with Hal Robson-Kanu nodding over a Chris Gunter pass for the onrushing Danny Williams to gather. Williams then fired an unstoppable rocket of a shot into the opposite top corner from the far edge of the penalty area.
Hope Akpan had Blackburn’s best chance, but the former Reading midfielder was foiled by a good save from Royals keeper Jonathan Bond.
The remainder of the game was scrappy with few clear cut chances, but Ola John, fresh off the bench, had an opportunity to seal the win, but Jason Steele was equal to his run, and saved aptly.
Reading ran out 1-0 winners in the end, pushing them back into the top half, only four points off the play-offs and above Blackburn, who drop to 14th.
FootballLeagueWorld writer Harry Smith identifies three things that we learned from Sunday’s encounter…
1) Brian McDermott brought an atmosphere
For the first time in a while, the Madejski Stadium was bouncing, and all fans were in good voice, with regular chants of “Brian McDermott” airing around the stadium.
It was a much changed atmosphere to the toxic aura of the latter games in the Steve Clarke era.
It is clear McDermott has won over the fans, and that will no doubt be helped with victory in his first game back in charge.
2) Reading can win scrappy
After games such as the 2-1 defeat to Hull City, 1-0 defeat to Preston North End and 1-0 defeat to QPR, fans were becoming sick of losing to late or single goals.
Yet the Reading squad have proved here that they can indeed win ugly, overcoming a plucky Blackburn side, who are on good form under Paul Lambert, and picking up all three points.
It was something that was evident throughout McDermott’s first stint at the club and, although just a game into his second spell, it seems that he has brought that ability back with him.
3) Blackburn need more attacking threat
Reading’s makeshift defensive did an excellent job of marking danger man Jordan Rhodes, and in games like these, where Blackburn’s main man is marked out of the game, they need to bring in reinforcements up top.
This would give manager Lambert an alternative option if things aren’t working, and to also take some pressure off Rhodes.
Reading and Blackburn fans… what did you make of the game? Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!