This week's edition of Player Ratings was harder to write than most because no one seemed to really stand out as particularly being good or bad. The general performance was pretty lifeless, but it's hard to isolate anyone on the pitch as good or bad examples.
With that in mind, I've used the following as a template: 5/10 is the benchmark average performance - if someone scored a 5, they didn't do anything overtly good or bad. Above that, 6/10 is a ‘good' performance, with a 7/10 being awarded to someone who played well and added something extra to their game. With that in mind, here are my player ratings...
Adam Federici - 6
The big Aussie had little to do for the 90 mins, with Blackpool only mustering three shots on target. Did well to deny Ishmael Miller towards the end of the game, tipping the powerful forward's effort onto the post.
Chris Gunter - 6
Pretty assured and solid at the back, but only got forward on a few occasions. Better all-round performance than he's given of late though.
Michael Hector - 6
Looked pretty sound defensively, but his distribution looked panicky. Rather than keeping it on the deck and passing out from the back as we've seen in recent weeks, Hector preferred to whack long balls up to Glenn Murray to limited success. It's odd that that was the case considering that his passing was one of his better attributes, but Nigel may have told him to keep it simple given his mistakes in recent matches.
Alex Pearce - 6
Similar to the rest of the defence in being relatively solid, but could have done better to contain Ishmael Miller in the second half who used his strength well against Pearce.
Jordan Obita - 6
Another defender with a sound performance, Obita managed his flank well and kept things tidy. Attacked well, albeit with little support from Robson-Kanu, putting in a well-aimed cross for Murray to head home the opener.
Oliver Norwood - 6
A tidy performance from Norwood who threatened Lewis with some well-hit shots in the first half. Did a worse job than usual of controlling the tempo of the game with his passing.
Hope Akpan - 6
Another steady performance from Akpan who was typically full of energy. Broke up play effectively, and made a few contributions in the final third with a cheeky dinked ball to the far post in the first half and a drive from the edge of the area in the second.
Jamie Mackie - 7 (My Man of the Match)
Full of energy and positivity, this was arguably one of Mackie's better performances. On a day when few others were willing to take the game to Blackpool, Mackie's experience showed. Attacked the Blackpool left back well in the first half, setting up Norwood for one chance and later seeing a sweetly-struck effort blocked. Throughout the game he was clearly desperate for the ball, growing visibly frustrated when balls didn't come his way. End product was lacking though, with an embarrassingly missed tap-in one to forget. Subbed for Blackman near the end of the game.
Simon Cox - 5
In one word, anonymous. Seemed to start alongside Murray rather than in the deeper role that he's occupied in recent weeks. Playing further forward seems to negate his impact on the game, and didn't get any opportunities to score. That said, he was his usually industrious self. Subbed for Taylor on 62 minutes.
Hal Robson-Kanu - 5
Seems to be stuck in an endless game of ‘Where's Wally? Robson-Kanu Edition'. Was anonymous throughout the game, and if it wasn't for the team sheet I'd be unconvinced that he actually played. Didn't contribute much except for a narrowly wide shot and a header that troubled the pigeons on top of the North Stand more than it troubled Joe Lewis. To break out of his run of poor form (a run that stretches back till before the start of last season), he really needs to get involved in the game more, because he can be such a dangerous player when he is involved.
Glenn Murray - 6
Another player who did a decent, solid job whilst not really adding that much to the overall performance. Spent most of the game trying to pluck long balls out of the sky, but had little in the way of support. Opened the scoring with a well-executed header which the goalie should have done a lot better from. Didn't have many opportunities to demonstrate his link-up play, but made the East Stand swoon with a textbook back heel to Mackie in the first half.
Jake Taylor - 6
Energetic and showed purpose, but didn't create much except for his disputed role in Reading's second. Came on for Cox mid-way through the second half to take up the role behind the striker, a position I think he's best designed to play in.
Pavel Pogrebnyak - 3
The biggest contribution that the Pog made against Blackpool was managing to get onto the pitch. Granted, 10 minutes of playing the lone striker role hardly gave him a lot to work with, but he barely looked like getting involved in the game, let alone contributing to it. Made minimal effort, and it's been a big drop for one of last season's surprise successes.
Nick Blackman - 6
An impressive cameo for the winger who both won and converted his penalty. If that 5 minute appearance had been replicated across the 90 minutes, he'd be well deserving of an 8/10. Showed pace and trickery in winning the penalty, and his finish demonstrated the confidence and poise that was lacking for the previous hour and half in the rest of the Reading team.