Let’s be honest – sometimes cracking out the full Dirty Leeds package isn’t very useful.

Having watched roughly 187 minutes of goalless drudge from these two sides last season, it was fair to say the realist would’ve said that was probably about the height of the Whites’ ambitions this time around.

As it turns out, the creditably noisy faithful were left to ponder a number of could have beens: if Ross’s shot had been a little to the right, if Snoddy had kept his cool and/or shot anywhere other than straight at the keeper, but mostly, if Mr Thompson hadn’t have flown through a man who was posing minimal direct threat to goal.

Warnock’s tirade following the twelth-minute flattener that effectively saw us territorially on the back foot for the majority of the game was good to see – perhaps he hadn’t actually used the words “teach those Waitrose-munchers a lesson” in his team talk. In all seriousness, though, youth doesn’t necessarily mean idiocy, and we can only hope a player of some promise learns.

It could’ve been worse. Danny Pugh’s lunge on the much-targeted and subsequently injured Jem Karacan just after was definitely worse. Both sides’ sense of righteousness beyond this point turned the spectacle into something pretty ugly – one for the fans of low-level violence and exaggeration.

There were chances first half though, mostly falling for the Home side. Ian Harte teased the defence on occasions and hit the post with a cross, Lonergan well beaten. Frankly, until midway through the second period it was a matter of cringing any time a Leeds player went in for a challenge and waiting for the inevitable, but it was at this point a sudden counter-attacking surge began.

A defensive mistake allowed McCormack to set himself and shoot cleanly for the first time, his shot smashing the outside of the post. This was swiftly followed by a jinking run from the same man, a perfect square for Snodgrass and…a really poor finish that was gratefully saved by Federici.

It looked the effort of a man still adapting to his more of a free role, and it remains to be seen whether he’ll be around to grow into it. There were a few more vague Leeds probes, but after the deflation of a golden chance spurned, it did seem like it was a case of whether we could grind out another of those 0-0s. No such luck.

Defenders of the Dirty Leeds approach may point to the glory days – but the lads in the glory days had the quality, not just the robustness. Bringing it back to the present, the difference between a Roberts and a Becchio, for example, is marked. Both do the hold-up play, just Roberts does it better. Both do the niggly fouling, just Roberts does it more cunningly. I could go on.

In fairness, Paul Robinson was reasonably effective in getting to grips with Reading’s talisman in the main – but his steel turned to mush for their second goal in the 90th minute as he was muscled off the ball in exactly the kind of place you don’t want that to happen, and Roberts slipped it in for Adam Le Fondre to smash home.

The game was pretty much over with Reading and Le Fondre’s first just minutes before – breaking the back of some more measured resistance from Leeds somewhat ragged-looking line-up. The breakthrough was simply an 11 v 10 goal, back post header directed at the spare man for the most unmissable of headers. Since Reading’s overwhelming territorial dominance hadn’t converted into better chances, it was difficult to work out whether it was a deserved lead or we were hard done by.

A few other observations: the average nature of all our cadre of defenders means that whoever comes in makes little difference, no-one seems highly convinced by Lonergan, and when we actually get the ball down and have a go, we look like a half decent outfit.

Some may argue there was a certain brutal glory in this defeat – I wouldn’t. It was a game we could’ve won with a full complement of intelligent fighters, but as it is, Le Fondre’s double is the definitive au revoir for Leeds’ fairly torrid season.

As “we’re Leeds United – we don’t give a ****” rang out loud and proud in the closing minutes, you could only reflect that it’s a good job that’s the case.