2,800 of us decided to head to the MadStad to finish off our Christmas in style. The Bees went with Josh McEachran for his first full start in the middle in place of Canos and Colin for Nico at right back.
The first 10 minutes we were a little disjointed, Reading under returning coach Brian McDermott with no form had plenty to prove. We were too hurried on the ball and our midfield looked lopsided and disjointed. Josh was there to tidy up but on Toumanis’ shoulder, every pass went through Toumani with Josh Mac watching and waiting and too few passes in the chain, Woods was wide right and Swift wide left with Judge playing patrol watch and catch up, too near or too far apart, this new midfield five were not a fab five as Readings midfield chipped it round us and through us.
Tarky got an early yellow for a tug of shirt, but other than that was imperious, two back to back man of the match performances over Christmas show him at the top of his game. Button made one stop from Robson-Kanu but other than that only concerns were for the crowd wide right from some of his hasty kicks. Woods our ginger Messi, busy and fidgety out wide right, got the ball, a look up like a startled rabbit, nothing doing, he ran on, nothing still on, not closed down he pinged, like a drilled bullet out of a snipers rifle a right footer that whistled past Bond into his upright. It was a 007 clinical finish. 1 nil take that Mr Bond.
Judge was his classy self but couldn’t find a position to hurt the Royals, Vibe drifted and ran and Swift in truth just drifted, the boy oozes class on the ball, but is he too rich for our side, a luxury sweet in our side of special all sorts? Bidwell and Colin held their lines whilst Harlee confirmed whats he says in the press matters little out on the pitch. We are a better defence with him in it.
Second half McDermott out trumped Deano with Vydra and McCleary coming on and taking it up a notch. Vydra headed against the bar when it was easier to score from 6 yards and we went 10 yards deeper. Just before the hour, McCleary to Vydra on the edge of the box to me to you and back again, one touch tip toe through Tarky, Harlee and past Colin, McCleary one touch with the left and the a right footed curl around the advancing Button from 10 yards. Opened up like a tin of sardines, we had been done like we do to others, it was a crackerjack of a goal and one you nod and say fair play, no shame. 1-1.
Then Deano reacted well, Josh trotted off on the hour for Canos, so to Vibe 10 mins later, on came the Hoff, straight away we had balance, Sergi wide right, Woods in the middle, Judge wide left, Hoff linking everyone in the middle with some good bustling hold up play. Within 5 minutes, Woods played a lovely 25 yarder out right, Sergi took the ball on the run like the Artful Dodger running from his chasers, he flicked the ball over Quinn with his right, nudged it past Hector and drilled it past Bond with his left from 20 yards. Like 15 years before this was a “Jason Price” moment in front of near 3,000 Bees, a winner against our rivals that crow Cureton too much in recent years. We went mental and so did Sergi in front of us, flat on his back Charlie George style whilst we paid homage to a special goal from our Spanish Scouser.
Referee Stroud, our infamous ref from Sheffield away two seasons back, who only needs a green card in his pocket to become a human traffic light took his bow by sending Hector off for two yellows for simulation and this game was done, Just time for Sam in his 10 minute cameo to see things out on for Swift and for the Hoff to interplay with Canos and set up Judge who from 12 yards went right and got blocked when left would have seen us put the cherry on the cake. Whistle blown and we thundered our support to our team, these days never tire, a win at Reading was a rare event once, now its becoming traditional!
A good Christmas for Smith and our team, Deano probably still doesn’t know his best XI but you feel Josh Jota and Marco will have main parts to play over the next few months, after that its trying to fit all the pieces into place and rotating on a match by match basis to keep the opposition guessing. 2015 was for most of us our most successful watching Brentford in our lifetimes but you get the feeling 2016 and 2017 will put this years achievements in the shade. One thing you never tire of winning at Reading is always a good day. Cureton is a ghost of the past, Woods and Canos are the present. Happy New Year to all Bees.