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Cardiff City 1-2 Reading FC: Player Ratings

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You've read our match report, but how did the players individually perform. @WilliamOwain gives his lowdown on the best and worst performances.

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Adam Federici - 6

Had little to do and was given no chance for Cardiff's goal. It was noticeable that the Bluebirds often tried to stop him distributing the ball quickly.

Chris Gunter - 6

Linked up well with McCleary, including one dangerous run into the box. His position as first choice right back was probably only strengthened by him having to come off with a rare injury. Clarke will be anxious for the Welshman to return to fitness as soon as possible.

Michael Hector - 6

Easily beaten by Kenwyne Jones for City's goal. That apart this was a comfortable and assured performance from the young centre back. Only Chris Casper and Dariusz Wdowczyk have been better centre backs on the ball than Hector in the Madejski era. A player of real promise who should only flourish under as good a defensive coach as Clarke.

Alex Pearce - 6

With every game under Clarke, it is becoming clear that Pearce did not see eye to eye with Nigel Adkins. An unspectacular performance due to Cardiff's lack of attacking threat. Starting to form a useful partnership with Hector. Loved his passion at full time. Will be good for him to banish the memory of his last performance in Cardiff.

Jordan Obita - 6

This would have been a 7 but for some woeful corners. Once again proved why left back is his best position. Great going forward from deep but struggles to beat his man enough to be a winger. Great cross for the winner.

Danny Williams - 5

A quiet display from the American international. I'm not sure he contributes enough in a two man central midfield so this formation may keep him in the team. Worth persisting with (in this formation) as his driving runs will be crucial in this new system.

Oliver Norwood - 8

Twice went close before getting the equalizer. He also put a lovely cross over from which Robson-Kanu almost scored. Norwood took to the new formation straight away, enjoying the greater freedom that was given to him with two fellow central midfielders. I struggle to remember any Hollywood style balls and most of Reading's best play saw him involved.

Nathaniel Chalobah - 6

Looked a tidy player. Clearly short of match fitness and in one five minute spell in the first half he twice played awful passes which a more lively team could have turned into dangerous moments. I'm still unsure of the long term benefit of bringing him in, but if he allows Clarke to mould Reading into a team playing in his own style then he can only be a good thing.

Garath McCleary - 7

Once again showed how important he is to the Royals. Not as lively as he was against Fulham but that may have been down to Gunter going off and Blackman and Obita offering a balanced attack. In the 4-3-3/4-5-1 formation he will have to cut inside more than in a  4-4-2 formation to offer Pogrebnyak support. Is clearly going to be a key player for Clarke.

Pavel Pogrebnyak - 6

The big Russian must have feared the worst being asked to play up front on his own. So often this has led to him being so isolated that it didn't matter how good his control was, or how strong he was, he still would have found it hard to hold the ball up. Yesterday must have come as a relief then. Blackman and McCleary offered him support enabling him to put in a decent shift. Once or twice his eagerness to be involved in the build up meant he was out-wide rather than in the danger area, including for Robson-Kanu's winner, so maybe he knows what he's doing!

Nick Blackman - 7

A lively performance, which saw him justify his selection over Robson-Kanu. He seemed to enjoy the freedom of his inside forward role. Regularly cut inside to leave space for Obita to attack. More than once showed wonderful footwork to create space for himself. Perhaps unlucky to be substituted when Reading were looking for a winner.

Subs

Stephen Kelly - 5

If he had just returned from a long injury then I would afford him the defence of a lack of match fitness. But he had a run of games just last month. Too often he was too far from McCleary meaning they played as individuals rather than a partnership. The only player under Clarke who looks short of confidence.

Hal Robson-Kanu - N/A

Clarke was right to defend Robson-Kanu in his post-match interview. Since he's took over the London born forward has done well. Few players matched his work rate in the last two games but he may have been too quiet going forward which was why he was dropped. Responded well. Almost scored with a header and his finish for the winner was of the highest quality. Clarke has a real decision to make on who to pick between him and Blackman.

Jake Cooper - N/A

Brought on straight after the winner. Headed away one cross with conviction.