‘To put it in gentleman’s terms, if you’re looking for a young lady and you pull one, some weeks they’re good looking and some weeks they’re not the best. Our performance today would have been not the best looking bird but at least we got her in the taxi.’
Ian Holloway, last seen traveling the country in a tour bus that had his face plastered along its side, offered this pearl of wisdom during his tenure as QPR manager. Though it teeters precariously along the lines of chauvinism, it’s certainly rings true when applied to our most recent performance.
There have seldom been games under Kenny Jackett’s tenure in which we have been dominated to the extent we were by Reading. Despite being far removed from the Championship elite, the Royals enjoyed three quarters of possession and, according to BBC WM, managed over 20 shots on goal.
However, the most telling statistic of all is Reading’s ‘goals scored’ tally. Despite a pretty calamitous first half showing, our defence managed to keep the away side at bay and, in doing so, offered hope that improvement is on the way.
Ethan Ebanks-Landell has come in for criticism in recent weeks but enjoyed a most impressive second half.
The January transfer window, along with the returning Kortney Hause, is likely to bring the Smethwick born defender some much needed competition but yesterday’s showing suggested he is good enough to make that contest more hard fought than we initially expected.
Indeed, our defensive application was a world away from the recent Keystone Cops tribute act we’ve had to endure. If we can get some more bodies in over January, preferably in the centre and left back departments, then we’ll have cause to hope that Kenny can finally remedy this season long ailment.
That being said, my Mom made the excellent assertion that, for all of the back four’s recent failings, we have largely been guilty of neglecting the defensive shortcomings of our midfield.
There is nowhere near as much energy in the centre as there was last season, irrespective of the combination Kenny has plumped for over the duration of the campaign.
Kevin McDonald, though still our most influential player, is often guilty of indolence and Dave Edwards appears to have been running on empty for some time now.
The cause of this malaise is difficult to diagnose but is something that also needs to be addressed over the ensuing months. We can but only hope that our flustered manager remains capable of solving such conundrums.
This was a big win for him and will hopefully instigate a revitalisation that will silence some of his more over zealous social media detractors.
One win, especially one as cagey as this, won’t be enough to rekindle Kenny’s love affair with our club. This needs to be a turning point rather than another false dawn.
Or, to revert to the tone of Sky Sports’ premier Football League pundit, the start of a long term relationship and not another one night stand.