It was probably no surprise that Roberts scored. He was booed with every touch from kick off to the goal by some Burnley fans at the ground, and not for the first time we saw such a former Blackburn player grab a winning goal against us.
|Jay Rod hit the post on his 100th league appearance|
It was cruel because we'd started the game well up to that point and were somewhat unfortunate not to have taken the lead ourselves.
Eddie Howe had named the same team that had won against Barnsley in midweek. The only change was on the bench where Keith Treacy, who is fast falling into disappearing names along with Andre Amougou, was replaced by fit again Martin Paterson.
We turned out in our yellow shirts with claret shorts and socks. It's a bugbear with me but why couldn't we wear our claret and blue? We did so there last season and also in the promotion season twice. At least we had the claret shorts and socks on, recently it's been all yellow.
So often recently, Southampton apart, we've started away games really brightly. This was no exception. For the first ten minutes Reading must have wondered what had hit them and they must have considered themselves very fortunate to still be level as the clock reached ten past eight.
The play was virtually all down the far end of the ground and Josh McQuoid seemed to be involved in much of it. He nearly got on the end of a Kieran Trippier cross and then delivered the perfect cross himself for Charlie Austin whose header crashed against the bar with Adam Federici beaten.
It only needed a goal but when it came it was at the other end with Reading's first real attack of the game. They got the ball down their left where an exposed Trippier couldn't prevent a low cross coming into our box.
There seemed some confusion between Michael Duff and David Edgar and that gave Roberts just the chance he wanted to score his third goal in four Reading appearances. It was a fifth goal against Burnley but his first in just over ten years since he scored both in a 2-0 Turf Moor win for West Brom in February 2002.
We shouldn't have been behind but we were and for a time we struggled to get ourselves back into the game. Reading seemed content to let us pass the ball around but we were no longer causing them many problems and it looked more likely that any second goal would go Reading's way as they tried to catch us on the break.
Jay Rodriguez, making his 100th league appearance for the Clarets, hit a shot wide, but it was speculative and the only other moments were when referee Darren Deadman started to get his cards out.
It took him almost 40 minutes to produced the first of his eight yellow cards, and when he did he got it wrong. I've watched it back and there can be no justification whatsoever for a yellow card for Ross Wallace, and there wouldn't have been one but for Roberts' reaction. Roberts also saw yellow.
I'd no complaints about the next one for Duff, and that came close to costing us another goal. You don't want to be conceding too many free kicks in shooting range when Ian Harte is in the opposition but that's what happened, and it was right on half time. It led to one of the most talked of incidents in the entire game.
Harte's shot was saved comfortably by Lee Grant. It wasn't a particularly good free kick and that should have been the end of the matter, but Grant opted to palm it down into the ground and the ball appeared to catch his knee.
It dropped loose and only the most incredible of blocks from Ben Mee prevented us going in 2-0 down. Ben had something of a reputation for throwing his body in the way when he was at Manchester City, but here he threw his head in the way whilst grounded.
Brave or stupid or both? Former England striker Michael Owen certainly thought it was brave. In true message board style, Owen doesn't know his ofs from his haves, and tweeted: "Anyone see that Burnley defender stick his head in there to stop a goal? Could of got his head kicked off. Bravest defending I've ever seen."
Mee didn't seem to know what the fuss was about as his team mates rushed over to congratulate him, but he'd ensured we only took a one goal deficit into half time.
The second half proved to be almost a replica of the first. We dominated the early period, came close and then hit the woodwork. It then followed the same pattern of the first half where Reading allowed us to play yet looked dangerous on the break and it ended with them almost scoring a goal, this time following a Mee mistake.
It should have been 1-1 in the very first minute of the half. It was our best chance as Austin got clear. As good a save as it was from Federici, this was more a miss. Austin should not have given the goalkeeper a chance.
Soon after we might well have been down to ten men. There was no intent from Jay Rod but his challenge on Mikele Leigertwood might have seen him received his first ever red card rather than a yellow.
He got away with it and then, just as Austin had done early in the game, he headed against the woodwork. It came from a Wallace corner and his header hit the post. It proved to be our last real chance of the night.
For all the possession we had we never really seemed to threaten the Reading goal much and it was the home side breaking who always looked the more likely.
Howe sent on both Paterson and Ings but neither were really able to get into the game and there looked to be no real chance of a goal coming.
Right at the end, Reading should most definitely had their second. A mistake by Mee, over in the right back position, allowed them to get the ball across the box where Kebe should have played the ball back inside for substitute Adam Le Fondre. Instead he blazed a shot high and wide into the stand.
That was it, the whistle blew and for only the second time since leaving the Premier League we had failed to score in successive away games.
We can't win a league game at this place but I still have my memories of that wonderful night in May 2009. Those memories were never far away last night.
Now, we have to start winning again. Only one win in the last four league games has made things more difficult for us. We're good enough to go on another winning run. It's what we need.
The teams were;
Reading: Adam Federici, Matthew Connolly, Kaspars Gorkss, Alex Pearce, Ian Harte, Jimmy Kebe, Jem Karacan, Mikele Leigertwood, Jobi McAnuff (Hal Robson-Kanu 80), Jason Roberts (Adam Le Fondre 76), Noel Hunt. Subs not used: Mikkel Andersen, Jay Tabb, Tomasz Cywka.
Yellow Cards: Jason Roberts, Kaspars Gorkss, Noel Hunt.
Burnley: Lee Grant, Kieran Trippier, Michael Duff, David Edgar, Ben Mee, Ross Wallace, Dean Marney (Marvin Bartley 79), Chris McCann, Josh McQuoid (Danny Ings 68), Charlie Austin (Martin Paterson 68), Jay Rodriguez. Subs not used: Brian Jensen, Brian Easton.
Yellow Cards: Ross Wallace, Michael Duff, Jay Rodriguez, Dean Marney, Danny Ings.
Referee: Darren Deadman (Cambridgeshire).