A display which had all the hallmarks that you’d want to see on a perfect away-day. No wonder Mark Bowen was delighted with his side at the final whistle.
Battling for everything in the dreadful weather, three goals from his strikers and a well-merited clean sheet… nothing but praise from the boss from the way the Royals executed the gameplan.
“It seems to have been a little too long coming!” said Bowen after a fantastic three points. “We’ve had drawn games and a couple of losses, so it was important that we got back to winning ways.
“Obviously I’m delighted with the result and the performance. But it was more about what they took on board. Coming into the game, with the conditions being as they were, I was emphasising that we needed to play intelligent football.
“Making the right decisions and choices, and not putting yourself under pressure at the wrong times. And when you get a chance to get it down and play, doing that as well. We did all of those things.
“I don’t think we started so well in the first five or ten minutes, but we grew into the game when Ovie Ejaria, Michael Olise and John Swift kept getting on the ball. We managed the game a lot better than they did. Obviously the sending off helps, but we were denied a stone-wall penalty in the first half, and then late on Ovie was clean through and missed his chance – I nearly passed out!
“But we were professional, and it’s confirmed what I already knew. Looking back, I didn’t want to highlight it, but we were in front against Cardiff, Hull and West Brom and got pegged back. When we got our noses in front, it was important how we handled it. And we handled it very well.
“They weren’t in a rich vein of form coming into the game, at all. So it was important to make it difficult for them to get their crowd behind them. We controlled that really well. Pelé was missing with a bit of a groin problem, so John Swift went in there and was the quarter-back. Getting on the ball a lot and dictating the play when we needed to.”