Arsenal loanee Karl Hein kept his first clean sheet for Reading on Wednesday despite a mixed night and an angry fan reaction to the team.

Karl Hein with Reading (Photo via ReadingFC.co.uk)
Karl Hein with Reading (Photo via ReadingFC.co.uk)

On the surface of it, you’d think Karl Hein had a great night for Reading on Wednesday.

Making his third start for the underperforming Championship side, the 19-year-old made a huge eight saves to keep a clean sheet. It was Reading’s first clean sheet in all competitions since October 16th.

But it wasn’t all good news. Hein was bailed out on one occasion by a goalline clearance after he made an error, and his distribution earned him some criticism – with the caveat that the windy conditions played a part.

The Reading Chronicle wrote that despite a couple of “excellent” saves, Hein’s “kicking was erratic, but hard to fully blame him for that on a night of epicly windy conditions”.

BerkshireLive agreed, adding that Hein “made some superb stops but his distribution was rather erratic”.

It’s also difficult to ignore how the result was viewed by supporters. No one was celebrating the rare clean sheet, there was almost universal anger at how the team had performed.

Fans chased down the team bus after the match, chanting that the players aren’t fit to wear the shirt.

Karl Hein of Estonia during the International Friendly, Länderspiel, Nationalmannschaft match at Stadio Artemio Franchi, Florence. Date: 11th November 2020. Picture: Jonathan Moscrop / Sportimage
Karl Hein of Estonia during the International Friendly, Länderspiel, Nationalmannschaft match at Stadio Artemio Franchi, Florence. Date: 11th November 2020. Picture: Jonathan Moscrop / Sportimage

Clearly, all is far from well at the Arsenal goalkeeper’s loan club. Yet there are still positives to take from a first senior clean sheet, and Hein thinks Reading have something to work with in the coming games.

“We can build on the clean sheet as a team,” Hein said. “We’ve been conceded too many goals in the past. It was a bit of a busy night, but I’m doing my job, so to get the clean sheet was really important.

“But that negative run we’ve had with losses… we’ve made that situation a bit better with a draw today, and so we can try to take some positives into Preston.”

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Arsenal fan since a young age, now a season ticket holder who enjoys writing, tweeting and making videos about the Gunners.