Royals fan James Earnshaw gives his verdict following Reading's narrow 1-0 defeat to Leeds United at Elland Road.

Reading fell to a disappointing, although not unexpected, defeat to promotion chasing Leeds United.

Pablo Hernandez’s strike on the hour mark was enough to separate the sides who find themselves at different ends of the table.

With the impressive 3-0 win away to Sheffield Wednesday last week, there was an air of cautious optimism in the Royals ranks.

The team sheet was as to be expected, unchanged other than Pele replacing Michael Olise after returning from his injury.

There was to be some bad news as Ovie Ejaria pulled up during the warmup, but he was replaced by impressive youngster Olise.

The first half was a close affair, with both sides having half-chances but just missing the cutting edge.

We defended valiantly and sprung dangerously on the counter, yet failed to create any great chances to score.

0-0 at half-time was a fair score and one which we could build on in the second half.

The second half, unfortunately, did not turn as we had hoped.

Seemingly the hosts stepped up a gear, and we failed to match them going forward or back.

The inter-play, and speed in which they created chances, troubled Reading and in the 57th minute the deadlock was broken.

Following a few last ditch tackles, Hernandez managed to wriggle free and fire a shot past the helpless Rafael.

At that point we hoped the side would get on the front foot and put Marcelo Bielsa’s men under intense pressure, but it did not turn out that way.

The game became stretched and we failed to get a period of dominance, which must be credited to Leeds and their ability to see the game out.

Ultimately it was disappointing as, other than a late Liam Moore strike and potential penalty shouts in stoppage time, we were unable to forge any clear chances to equalise and Leeds saw the game out rather comfortably.

There were plenty of talking points, such as the snub of Sam Baldock from the bench, but special mention must go to Olise.

Despite having no more than an hour’s notice of his impending start, the midfielder looked composed in the midfield and was constantly looking to create chances.

Although his influence waned as the minutes ticked by, his first half performance was definitely one of, if not the best, on the Elland Road pitch.

And who can forget his glorious roulette in the middle of the pitch to set up an attack.

We are yet to discover the length of Ejaria’s absence, there should be no fear that the academy graduate is a capable replacement for the dazzling midfielder.

The only slight concern could be the lack of clear chances we made, but considering the opposition it is not something that gravely worries me.

 It is certainly something to keep an eye on though as we approach some very winnable matches.

In reflection, a deserved victory for the Yorkshire side but we should definitely come out with our glass half full.

I have come away from many an away-day feeling hard done by and disappointed- today we were just beaten by the better team and can take that, provided that we win on Wednesday and Saturday against Wigan Athletic and Barnsley.

Having won last week today was a real free hit; and although it is gutting to not get something it is not the end of the world.

With the top two, and most of the top six, out of the way now we should now really be looking to put a good run together for the end of the season, as well as another run out in the FA Cup coming up.