Dire. Only way to describe today’s performance. James Collins, a model of inconsistency if there ever was one, gifted Reading only their second win of the season with an absolute howler only five minutes into the match. What followed was one of the most agonizing performances of the season.
It was a game of returns giving us no returns at the Madejski today. Both Jack Collison and last year’s hero, Ricardo Vaz Te, made their comebacks today. Collison had a bit of a cameo in West Ham’s last match but he played the better part of the second half in this one. His running off the ball created a lot of opportunity, none of which were taken.
And Ricardo, oh Ricardo. Left completely unmarked at the back post after a Matt Jarvis cross, with only minutes remaining in the match, all he had to do was make any sort of solid contact and the match would have been tied. Well he flubbed his lines.
It’s hard to say whether or not Reading actually came to play football today, as after being gifted their opening goal they seemed to have no interested in attacking of any sort. Well unless it meant pinning the ball down in West Ham’s half and killing more time on the clock.
Ours is a squad that is regularly derided as not playing “proper” football, instead focusing on a big, bruising physical style of play. We looked like Barcelona compared to Reading. Tempers flew from the start of the match, Mark Noble going into the book within the first 20. Six more were to come, three of them to West Ham.
It means next match we’ll be without both James Collins (what a shame) and Mark Noble (an actual shame). This surely won’t help with the frustration that was on display all match long from West Ham. Chances weren’t going our way and Reading’s physical style led to outbursts of anger from both Carlton Cole and Joey O’Brien.
West Ham’s next match, against Norwich, will hopefully see the start of a long and promising partnership between James Tomkins and Winston Reid. The initial shock of starting the season with a solid defense has now seen the regular poor defending rear it’s ugly head again. Reinforcing the back line and bringing back it’s steely resolve from the start of the season will be the first part to righting the ship.