17-year-old impresses in otherwise frustrating end to home campaignRoyals boss Brian McDermott was desperately disappointed to be reflecting on another defeat inflicted in injury time, but held praise for a 'shining light' second half performance from Academy star 17-year-old Josh Barrett after the last Madejski Stadium game of the season.
"We're desperately disappointed. It was poor. We lacked energy in the first half and we had to change the system at half-time, because we didn’t start well. We didn’t play well today, that's for sure.
"It was a great goal from Quinny, we got back to 1-1 and you think we’ll maybe go on to win the game and then, right at the end, we give another goal away.
"And it sums up how it's been here for a couple of years now, in the last two seasons. It’s very frustrating. But it’s about the summer now. We need to recruit well, do a lot of work in the summer and that is going to be very, very important."
A player who might well play a part in that squad restructure over the summer months is Barrett, who on his Madejski Stadium bow produced a second half cameo that proved to be a real positive on an otherwise frustrating afternoon.
"Josh made a difference after coming on at half-time, the shape was different, and he did a really good job," McDermott said. "He was brave, got on the ball, created stuff. He made things happen.
"Sometimes you put youngsters in and they take to it straight away, sometimes it takes a little bit longer. But Josh has taken to it straight away today and I thought he was going to come up with a goal.
"He’s 17 years of age, but he acquitted himself well – he’s going to be a good talent. He's been training with us and he wants to work hard. Today, he was a shining light.
"He’s a talented boy, he’s another one of our own and he looked like he thrived in the environment. So we’ll work with him, nuture him and I’m sure he’ll be a good play for us going forward."
The Royals boss also had praise for our fans, many of whom stayed behind to absorb applause from the squad - who have appreciated the home faithful's support all season.
"We walked around the pitch at Wigan in 2005 when they had just won the league and we’d missed out on the play-offs - that was tough. But the following season we won the league. And it didn't feel great today.
"But the support was teriffic today – you never want to walk round a pitch at the end of a season after a late goal like that, but sometimes that pain will bring you through to next season and help to get you to where you want to be."