Boss reflects on a hard-earned point against Huddersfield"It was a night we made very difficult for ourselves," said Royals boss Steve Clarke after a 1-1 draw against Chris Powell's Huddersfield Town this evening.
"A goal down within two minutes, a goal we gave away, and they sat themselves in after they got the early goal. We huffed and puffed a little bit, got ourselves back in it at 1-1 but it was quite a disappointing first half perfiormance.
"And the biggest disappointment for me came in that we allowed them to score a second and get in front again before half-time.
"That made the second half more difficult, but credit to the players - they stuck at it and we kept probing away, trying and trying...and eventually one of the substitutes got us a point."
Ola John came off the bench towards the end of a second half which had seen the Royals desperately try to break down the brick wall of a ten-man defence fielded by the visitors.
"The changes I made at half-time were changes I had to make, because the way we were playing in the first half was too wide, too open. Then the introduction of Ola gave us a little spark, and he got the equaliser which is great for him.
"He's been a little bit frustrated as he's missed out on a few of the squad selections recently because of the five loan player rule, so i'm pleased I put him on tonight and I'm pleased he showed everybody what he can do.
"We were chasing and chasing and chasing to get it back to 2-2, we had lots of shots, half chances, opportunities - and we knew if we'd scored that second goal early enough we would go and get the winner.
"But it wasn't to be because Huddersfield defended very well and tonight we have to settle for the point and move on to the next game.
"Big credit to the crowd too. I thought they were fantastic in the second half. It wasn't the biggest crowd we've had this season, but they understood the players needed a bit of help second half and I thought they got right behind us and kept pushing us."
The draw becomes our third within the space of a four game spell which hasn't been as lucrative as the run of wins that preceded it.
"Over the course of the season, you're going to have spells where things aren't quite running for you. At the moment we're in a little run where we're not getting beaten, but we're drawing too many games.
"Three draws out of the last four, that's only three points - you get much better rewards for a win. But if you keep shooting yourselves in the foot and going behind at home, teams are going to sit in against us and we then have to find ways to pick holes in their defence.
"We did it twice today - we scored two goals at home and normally that should be enough to win the game.
"But a point is better than nothing. There are still 93 points up for grabs, so lots to play for. And we started the night seven points behind the league leaders, and we end the night still seven points off the top."