Reading (a) Premiership
Half time: Reading 0 Newcastle 0
Full time: Reading 2 Newcastle 1
"Our away form is obviously a huge concern after this result because a point, after the fact that we had lost the previous two away games, would have been very nice and given us a bit of confidence.
"Now we get ever more edgy as time goes on because we have not been able to get a result away from home.
"It is all very well playing well at
home but sometimes away from home you have got to be able to dig in and we
didn't do that.
"We got back into it when we went a goal behind - when we conceded goals in the fashion we did it made it difficult to get something out of the game.
"It was very disappointing. This season it has been one win at home and then an away defeat.
"It is disappointing when you throw it away like that. Whether we deserved to be level - and you would probably have to say we didn't - nevertheless we had got it.
"Reading were nervous and it gave us our best spell of the game but if you are going to give stupid goals away like that then you are not going to deserve anything.
"It was just such a basic error to concede a goal like that at that stage of the game. We didn't deal with the first ball but more importantly didn't deal with the second either and the young lad comes on, runs behind and scores the winner for them.
"If we didn't deal with the first ball, it was important we did so with the second. We should have known what to expect because we had worked on it in training.
"It was a real killer for us. But credit to Reading. They make life difficult for a team wanting to play football because they don't allow you to. We didn't dig in well enough and didn't do enough when we had the ball. Our energy levels looked down because theirs were so great."
Steve Coppell commented:
About his inspired late substitution:
There seemed to be a decent amount of optimism in the air, in the pub and
in the ground before kick-off and after two straight victories over sides
tipped for Europe again this season.
This just had a "Wigan" feeling about it. A game we should win against plucky newcomers but the sort of game that we just always seem to lose. Bland, new flatpack grounds in retail/business parks tend to bring out the worst in us; Reading, Derby, Wigan - they're interchangeable.
The midfield line-up was certainly a surprise. No Milner, no N'Zogbia and
no width with four central midfielders ahead of our new-look and promising
Reaching the interval scoreless was something of a minor achievement for us, but two glaring failures to hit the target by Reading forward Leroy Lita were major let offs - with Given's chief worry being a back pass from Cacapa that had him scampering back into his six yard box.
Our custodian looks incredibly nervous at the moment and communication with his new line of protection isn't great. He didn't have much chance in stopping either Reading goal but his positional sense doesn't look good either at the moment.
Steve Coppell's side took the lead out of the blue eight minutes after the
restart, the ball running kindly for my man of the match, Dave Kitson who looped one in from 20 yards,
Given's inexplicable placement off his line.
Even Owen (and Shearer) have their off days and the service up to the striker was awful. Having said that, Owen was unable to win a single header or 50-50 ball all game and the flicked on header for Rooney in Russia seemed just a distant memory.
It was then the home side's turn to make an inspired substitution, Shane Long
arriving on the field with seven minutes remaining as Reading howked a long
free kick forward.
As I said after the Everton game, it's two steps forward, one step backwards but that still represents progress. Those away fans hurling abuse at Allardyce immediately after each Reading goal do no-one, least of all themselves any favours.
They may have had a point had they taken great exception to the starting line-up - to come to Reading who had been leaking goals and play for a clean sheet or narrow 1-0 victory just didn't make sense.
This was one of those days that had we attacked from the off we could and should have had the firepower to outscore the home side; Owen and Martins vs Lita and Doyle?
Managers may hate 5-4 games but I'd have certainly taken that scoreline (win or lose) ahead of this meek submission. There are times to be cautious and canny, this wasn't one of them.Niall MacKenzie