News and Views

Loader Goal - First Of Many?

01 May 2019
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Despite defeat at Middlesbrough on Saturday it was still a very satisfactory weekend for the Royals. Although we were already safe from relegation, it was mathematically confirmed with a game spare as Rotherham were beaten at West Bromwich Albion. That defeat meant Rotherham were relegated and will join Bolton Wanderers and Ipswich Town in League One next season. There was more good news for Reading fans as England youth International Danny Loader got off the mark with his first senior goal for the club. And what a strike it was as he collected the ball from a Gunter throw on the left, turned past his marker and unleased a fantastic effort from outside the box into the top right corner of the Middlesbrough goal.

As well as immediately becoming a contender for Reading's goal of the season it got conversation going on what the future holds for Loader as he become one of Reading's youngest ever goal scorers. At just 18 years old to have already established himself in the first team and got on the scoresheet is a huge achievement. Neil Webb remains as Reading's youngest scorer, despite playing in midfield, after making his Reading debut when 16 years old and scoring his first goal only a month after his 17th birthday. Neil Webb went on to make 72 appearances for the Royals, scoring 22 goals before his career took him to Portsmouth, Nottingham Forest, Manchester United, Nottingham Forest and of course England. He is perhaps the most successful player to have began his career at Reading. He went on to earn 26 England caps, scoring 4 goals for the three lions.

Everyone will be hoping the club manage to hold on to Danny Loader as he is sure to attract interest from other clubs. If he does stay with the Royals then he is currently 190 goals behind the Reading FC's record goal scorer, Trevor Senior. Senior scored an insane number of goals off all parts of his body during two stays with the club, including hitting an incredible 41 goals in the 1983-1984 season. It seems unthinkable that any Reading striker will ever come to Senior's haul in that season. His strike rate was over a goal every two games across his Reading career which made him such a prolific goalscorer.

Reading's top league goalscorer of all time is Ron Blackman who scored 158 league goals, and a further 9 FA Cup goals. While Trevor Senior got his goals over 362 appearances, Blackman was just 24 goals short of Senior's record despite playing 240 times for the Royals. Sandwiched between Senior and Blackman in our top scorers table is Jimmy Wheeler with one more goal in all competitions than Ron Blackman. It's hard to appreciate just how many goals those three legends scored. Jimmy Quinn 'only' scored 94 for the Royals, although he hit 40 goals in just one season in 1993-1994. In more recent times fans like to remember Dave Kitson and Jamie Cureton, but they are both much further down the list with 62 and 55 goals respectively.

With Oliveira and Meite both out injured for Sunday's final game of the season, at home against Birmingham City, it will be interesting to predict the result and who might get on the scoresheet. Apart from Loader and Meite our only other scorers in the last 9 games are Rinomhota, Baker and Barrow. Many people like to track goals scored in past games to help figure out how the next game might play out, as this way they can make more accurate bets on sites like NetBet sports betting. Without this information, understanding the odds of a game would be certainly more difficult.

Reading have struggled to find a consistent goal scorer in recent seasons, and have struggled as a result. Meite will finish the season as leading goalscorer with just 13 goals. Last season Barrow and Bodvarsson were top of the charts for the Royals but only found the net 10 times. The last time we had a striker that hit more than 20 goals in a season was Shane Long, now the holder of the fastest ever Premier League goal, when he scored 25 goals all the way back in the 2010-2011 season. After another disappointing campaign we will be hoping for a big improvement next season - and hopefully a striker emerging who can consistently find the back of the net. It would be unfair to put that level of expectation on Loader at such an early stage of his career, but hopefully he can chip in at least with a few more goals next season to help us on our way to a higher placed finish.

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