Yesterday at the Madejski Stadium has to be one of my best so far in my 10 years being a season ticket holder. Many Reading fans still remember the 4-3 defeat in the Division One Play-Off Final in 1995, which always makes it that bit sweeter when we get one over Bolton. However, I don't think anyone expected what happened at the Madejski yesterday.
On the whole we'd be performing better, a draw at home to Nottingham Forest was a start, followed by an excellent performance away at Watford which really built the foundations for us to kick-start our season. I have to admit, despite the improvement away at Watford I had my doubts before kick off yesterday. I felt, knowing Reading, it could go one of two ways, we'd either play out of our skin and hammer Bolton, or produce a disappointing performance and be back at square one again. Thankfully it was the former of the two.
We started well, but within the first 10 minutes I don't think many Reading fans would have thought a massacre was about to occur. However, with 12 minutes gone Adam Le Fondre smashed the first past a helpless Longergan in the Bolton goal to give Reading the lead. You could see it meant a lot to Alfie, I think he has been hard done by with the amount of football he has got recently. The second from Alfie was a fantastic finish, he put his head down and ran, looked up and played it neatly into the bottom corner. He then went on to round off his hat-trick with a simple tap in after a very unselfish pass from Gareth McCleary who could have easily got himself a goal. At this point, I'm thinking 3-0, done and dusted, knowing Reading that'll be it and it'll be a tight second half and Bolton might get one back.
We showed no remorse, attack after attack and there was a fourth just before the break. Sitting in line with the penalty box, at first glance I thought it was a free-kick, but the referee pointed to the spot and Alfie let Pogrebnyak have his chance, he tucked it away in the bottom corner for a fourth. The second half carried on in the same style, Bolton looked well beaten already and Gorkss added a fifth sliding the ball in as Bolton failed to clear their lines. Hope Akpan made it six, with a deserved goal, smashing it in, again after some very poor Bolton defending. Blackman rounded it off with a seventh, a great finish for the lad who has really come into some form recently. Bolton got a late consolation through Ngog.
We looked like the Reading of old, high tempo, using the flanks and generally threatening all over the park. However, I think we are much better than the Reading of old. We did play with that high tempo and everyone worked hard, but we also passed the ball so well. I think before we played with a high tempo in the past, under McDermott and Coppell the passing wasn't quite as noticeable as it is now. That was one thing I always thought was slightly missing from Reading teams previously, but Adkins seems to be bringing it in. I thought Akpan and Williams complimented each other so well, one sitting and one pushing on, and even though I am a big Guthrie fan we really didn't miss him. McCleary was unstoppable yesterday, and McAnuff was very strong as well. I think credit has to go to Obita who played so well again at Left Back.
Yesterday I feel it clicked, everything fell into place and a performance that I think has been brewing was produced by the players. Yes, Bolton were very poor, but we made them look poor. I'm not getting too ahead of myself, because we have some very tough games coming up but I think if we play like that we'll get promoted. I still feel strengthening needs to be done in the transfer window, a Centre Back and Left-Back priority for me and maybe a Striker or Attacking Midfielder as well. I really hope this result will make us push for promotion, and start a good run of results to get us right in the mix at the top of the table.
Thanks for Reading.