May 26, 2024

Reading, a team grappling with a crisis, suffered a 3-2 defeat against Shrewsbury, squandering a lead in the dying moments.

This loss keeps them firmly at the bottom of the division, trailing by ten points for safety and without an away league win in a year. Despite holding a 2-1 lead entering injury time, they ultimately fell short, missing a chance to climb above Cheltenham in the standings.

Early goals from Sam Smith and Dom Ballard had given Reading the advantage, but Tom Bayliss’s goal narrowed the gap. As the match approached its conclusion, it seemed Reading was set to secure their first away win since November 12th of the previous year. However, a late equalizer from Chey Dunkley and a subsequent winner by Jason Sraha in the 96th minute shattered those hopes. This heartbreaking result disappointed the traveling Royals fans, who already feared relegation to the fourth tier, a fate not experienced since the 1983/84 season.

Expressing his frustration post-game, veteran midfielder Sam Hutchinson, who acknowledged his own role in the late equalizer, admitted to feeling upset. He highlighted the challenges faced by the club, both seen and unseen, and emphasized the difficulty of dealing with criticism from fans.

With just four away days left in the calendar year, Reading faces the challenge of breaking a year-long drought without an away league victory. The upcoming fixtures against Wycombe, Lincoln, and Peterborough pose tough tests. The last game of 2023, an away match against Cheltenham, could be an opportunity to end this winless streak, although the likelihood of playing in League Two in 2024 looms large.

Hutchinson acknowledged the inadequacy not only of the team but the entire club, stating that excuses won’t suffice, and everyone involved, including players and fans, shares a sense of frustration and anger. Despite some successful cup performances, such as a 9-0 win against Exeter City in the EFL Trophy and a 4-0 victory against Millwall in the EFL Cup, these triumphs seem to be temporary distractions from the persistent issues faced by the club.

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