Dwight Gayle almost had the perfect hat-trick on Wednesday night.

The 25 yard raker free-kick, two yard tap in, and…punch into the net!

At the match fans were bemused as after celebrating Dwight Gayle scoring in the opening seconds, they then saw the referee suddenly pointing a yellow card at the striker and Reading take a free-kick, rather than returning to the centre circle.

There was clearly no offside and the linesman didn’t raise his flag…only for after the goal going in, the ref went across to his helper and then rule dout the goal.

This looked clearly a case of a word in the ear, as the linesman definitely hadn’t made the decision for the referee.

Watching afterwards on TV, it became clear that Dwight Gayle hadn’t come close to heading it, instead punching the ball into the net when he couldn’t reach it. Guessing a bit of an age thing when it comes to judging this kind of thing but whilst younger fans may think it is fair game, those that lived through the cheating Maradona era – like me – will think differently.

It was embarrassing the way Dwight Gayle celebrated and then expressed disbelief when the ‘goal’ was ruled out – do not do it again! A senseless yellow card, embarrassing behaviour AND the fact that by letting the ball go beyond him, it could have ended up being a goal by other means as well.

Thankfully, the game will be remembered more because of the splendid Dwight Gayle free-kick that sealed the win by making it 3-1, 25 yards out and into the top corner – perfect.

Set-pieces have been a disaster in recent times but thankfully that looks behind us, Shelvey and Ritchie are putting some excellent deliveries into the box, whilst Gayle has shown what a threat he can be from those within goalscoring range.

As he says himself though, there is nothing quite like a tap-in and it is the same as a fan, when Isaac Hayden put the ball across and it eluded keeper and defenders, there is that delicious second or so when you know it is a certain goal.

Dwight Gayle speaking to the official club website:

“Great to score again, two goals, and help the team get the win.

“In the last few weeks the coaches have told me to get on free-kicks but I have been practicing a different kind, from closer in.

“Matty (Ritchie), Jonjo (Shelvey) and Ayo (Perez) all wanted it but they’ve all had free-kicks in the first couple of games, so I thought it was my turn, finally.

“Luckily I stepped up to the mark when I got the chance. I hit it and it went in, so hopefully I can keep taking them.

“But the second one, they’re my favourites, the tap-ins. When Isaac  (Hayden) put it across my eyes lit up. Strikers love those.

“And to do it at the Gallowgate End is special, too. You know the history there and when the fans are screaming because you’ve scored there, it is just an amazing feeling.

“Perhaps we made a few mistakes in the opening two games but we’re going to improve and keep improving as we grow as a team.

“We’ve got the confidence of a win behind us now, and hopefully this can really push us on.

“However, it’s only three points. We have to use this as a platform to push on and keep picking up points.”