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Reading 0-0 Brighton - Player Ratings

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Clean sheet; no clear-cut chances; Alex McCarthy is a superstar. That's the short of it, but how about the long? Here's how we rated the players today - and vote for your Man of the Match at the bottom of the page.

Alex Livesey

Reading: McCarthy; Gunter, Morrison, Pearce, Kelly (Bridge 46); Guthrie, Williams, Karacan (Blackman 84); Drenthe (Robson-Kanu 46), Pogrebnyak, Le Fondre

Alex McCarthy: 8

Yet another stunning performance from the England call-up, as he kept Brighton at bay with some great saves. Two solid saves to either side from volleys by Calderon and Barnes, then a point-blank stop from the latter where a goal looked a certainty, show McCarthy to have instinct as well as agility, and a spot of luck too as the ball didn't go in off the keeper.

Chris Gunter: 7

Perhaps his best performance so far this season, although he was caught napping by Ward for the best chance of the game for Brighton. Looked to get forward frequently, but his crossing wasn't quite up to scratch.

Alex Pearce: 6

Referee Graham Scott sent off three players the last time he refereed Brighton - if he was looking for another, it may well have been Pearce, who was being dominated by Leonardo Ulloa right up until that kung-fu kick from the striker. But once Ulloa received his marching orders, it was relatively comfortable for Pearce.

Sean Morrison: 7

Far more comfortable in possession than Pearce, Morrison also brought the ball forward well a couple of times in the second half. He may only be 22, but he has the confidence and authority of a captain.

Stephen Kelly: 6

Kelly's first start of the season and it was solid if unspectacular - he was beaten a couple of times but otherwise showed he has lost none of the qualities he showed last season. Was brought off at half-time - whether tactical or fitness-related, we're unsure.

Danny Guthrie: 6

I'm a big fan of Guthrie but I felt today he didn't quite have the same impact on the game. There's no doubting his impressive range of passing but for the most part he didn't really have the incision of previous matches.

Jem Karacan: 7

Jem continues to surprise me and, I'm sure, most of the Royals faithful. He had our three best chances, which speaks of the transformation of his play under Nigel Adkins. The only worry I have of him is his physical presence - twice he was outmuscled, leading to Brighton chances.

Danny Williams: 6

Williams made his first start of the season as well as Kelly, and he showed quality at times, though he still looks a tad raw. He reminds me a lot of James Harper, with slightly more attacking instinct. Obviously not naturally a winger, but coped well enough out wide.

Royston Drenthe: 5

What's that about enigmas, mysteries and riddles? For some reason, Drenthe wasn't at the races today, and he was also booked for talking back to the referee in somewhat surprising fashion. Subbed off at half-time, presumably to solidify the midfield.

Adam Le Fondre: 4

Aside from that first chance where he tried to turn inside the defender and was tackled, an extremely anonymous performance from Alfie, who simply didn't see the ball. It's obvious that the Adkins game is about retention and slow-build, and that doesn't suit ALF's strengths of that burst of pace and finding space in the box.

Pavel Pogrebnyak: 2

He won a header, and had a decent chance, then got sent off for two absolutely ridiculous yellow cards. Whether they were ridiculous for him or for the referee is another debate entirely, but if you give a card-happy referee the opportunity, he doesn't need to think twice. His first was about intent, his second an exaggerated dive when, admittedly, there was contact. On another day, he might have been reprieved, but today, it wasn't his day. Abysmal performance in that context.

Wayne Bridge: 7

Possibly our best player in the second half, he got forward well and showed the quality in his left peg on an number of occasions. Showed that we need a left-footed player on that side.

Hal Robson-Kanu: 6

Enjoyed the space in the middle of the park, and ran well at the defence without ever truly causing chaos.

Nick Blackman: N/A

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Guest Appearance - Graham Scott: 2

When you set a precedent of booking players for one mistimed tackle, it's always going to lead to the sort of game we had today. A fair few of those yellow cards looked harsh, particularly (in my opinion) the Brighton ones, and just a simple word with the captains to say "calm down" might have seen a reduction in the challenges flying around. Five reds in two Brighton matches now - they must be sick of the sight of him.

Agree? Disagree? Who was your man of the match? Let us know below...