Well I kept warning you. I kept saying we were playing crap. I kept saying that when the luck ran out we would be in trouble. Well O'dear. O'two O'games O'on O'the O'trot O'we O'have O'lost. O and we were shit today!
I hear time and time again from the anonymice that only by being at a game do you get the true feel for a match. Well I was at Reading today, and let me assure you that we were dreadful. No end of Reading fans told me before kick off that they were crap and couldn't score goals. Three told me that they had only managed two goals in the first 45 minutes all season. The word on the terrace was, knock in a goal in the first half and you've won the game. Easy then eh?
So what did we do? We contained. We played Diop. We played Piquionne. We showed no invention, no creativity, no imagination. The idea seemed to be, keep the score at 0-0 and eventually we will be presented with a chance that we will bury. Well we got a chance, two in fact, but one fell to Piquionne, and the guy is crap, and the other was cleared off the line; and that was it!
And then, second half, Doctor Evil woke up to the fact that he was playing a shit Reading team and decided to try to win the game. Cole came on for Diop and before you could say, let's go 4-4-2 - which we didn't try to do anyway - O'Brien got himself sent off. And then, straight from the freekick, we were a goal behind. Cue Captain Kev to become more animated than at any point in the whole game as he walked half the length of the field arguing with the referee, as if that would get O'Brien back on the pitch.
Before we go any further, O'Brien deserved to go, and so did Collison. In fact, O'Brien could have been shown red when he collected his first yellow. The challenge was iffy, the hands were raised and the forehead was lowered towards the Reading player's face. The second yellow was a yellow, so 1+1 = 2, even in a Newham comp! And so what that Kebe was "showboating" and taking the piss when he pretended to pull up his socks because we were affording him so much time on the ball? That was no excuse for Collison to try to chop him in half! The challenge was crass. The boy should be fined. End of.
But all that is almost irrelevant. The truth is, we were shit. Idiots will claim that the sending off decided the game but they will miss the point completely. The football was awful, from both sides until we went down to 10 men and Reading made us look like complete mugs once we were a man short.
Anybody remember all those games we failed to win when the opposition were reduced to 10 men? Anybody remember Fulham, Sunderland and Reading coming from behind to draw against us when a man short? But this team? We folded. Pathetically. And Allardyce didn't help by leaving us short in midfield! Tell me, why wasn't Piquionne withdrawn immediately and Sears sent on?
When we went down to 10 men, I was in the stand trying to work out who was the third man in midfield! Faubert had been pulled back to right back. We had two strikers on the pitch, albeit one was wide left and hopeless and the other only touched the ball a couple of times after coming on. Noble and Collison were busy but ineffective. Who the hell was the other player on the pitch? I tried to rack my brains. I looked down at the pitch, searching for the anonymous man. I waited for the mystery man to get involved. It was only when my son asked, "What has Nolan done all game?" that the penny dropped! Captain Kev was shit. Anonymous. Irrelevant. Ambling. Casual. Hopeless. Slow. Passive. Inept.
And he was not alone!
This is a mediocre team and the luck, as I predicted, has run out. Automatic promotion? In our bubbled dreams! If we finish in the top six it will confirm how crap this division is! I predicted a difficult December. Well, we are still three points short of avoiding a second consecutive relegation!
So much for the Allardyce revolution! And, to round it all off, I collected a £35 parking ticket to make my day complete! I hate bastard Reading!
Player ratings: Green 4 (I didn't see him make a save and he may have been at fault for the seond goal), Demel 5 (injured too early to make an impact - more damaged goods off loaded on West Ham), Tomkins 7 Faye 7, McCartney 6 (crossing awful!): Diop 6: Noble 5 (did nothing of note) Nolan 3 (Was he on the pitch second half?): Collison 4 (sending off irresponsible and, one shot apart which hit Piquionne, offered little going forward): Faubert 5 (Got to the byline once all game!) Piquionne 1 (Looked utterly disinterested!). Subs Cole 3, Carew 1 (Did he touch the ball?)