Leroy Lita came back to haunt the Royals, scoring Middlesbrough`s second goal in another home defeat, and Brendan Rodgers side were left to reflect on another home defeat.
Lita was released by the Royals in the summer, but returned to the Middlesbrough side on Saturday and there were no surprises when he got himself on the score sheet in the second half. Taking the ball down just inside the Royals half, he ran through the heart of the defence past O`Dea and Ingimarsson as if they were not there and calmly slotted past Federici before walking in front of the East Stand and applauded the home fans. It was great to see a striker taking the adulation of our most vocal support, shame he was an opposition player.
By that point though we had already contributed to own downfall enough, most notably when we allowed Sean St Ledger to have the freedom of the penalty area to get on the end of a corner and head the visitors into the lead after just 12 minutes.
Lita had a host of first half chances, whilst only a Brian Howard header worried Boro keeper Brad Jones and not even half time sub Noel Hunt could change our fortunes in front of goal. Brendan Rodgers admitted afterwards that everything we did right at Preston in midweek, we did badly here – he couldn`t be more right.
People will continue to talk of the home hoodoo, but the main reason we are not putting results together is simply because we are not good enough. In an honest interview after the game Rodgers also admitted that we were not going to get promotion this season, some of us could have told him that long before our 11th league game.
We now go into the international break sat just one place outside the relegation zone with trips to West Brom and QPR facing us following the enforced rest period. Things certainly don`t get any easier and this squad of players need to take a long hard look at themselves if we are to even survive in this division. You can talk all you like about a ‘transitional season` but if we don`t learn how to win a game then we are in serious of danger.
And things were so positive after Tuesday night!!