Jonathan Bond - 6
A quiet night for the ex-Watford man, only seeing two Derby shots on target throughout the match. Criticism over his failure to prevent the winner is harsh - you can't expect goalies to save everything.
Chris Gunter - 6
Made some good runs forward in support of the attackers in the first half, but understandably curtailed that instinct in the second. Did pretty well against Derby's wide threat throughout, but blazed a volley over in the dying moments.
Michael Hector - 6
'Big Hec' has clearly been given a talking to of sorts by Steve Clarke when it comes to risk assessment. The Jamaican's instinct to control the ball under pressure before picking a pass was replaced with one of 'hoof first, ask questions later'. It's good to see him take a more urgent approach to clearing the ball, although he did try a few footwork party tricks around the Derby strikers in the closing stages.
Paul McShane - 6
Looked solid throughout, and marshalled the backline well against a good striker in Chris Martin. Perhaps turned a little easily by Tom Ince immediately before the goal.
Jordan Obita - 6
Like Gunter, his attacking involvement died down after the red. Not much to say about a quiet but efficient enough performance.
Nick Blackman: 7
Blackman had to show a different side to game on Tuesday, with the red card necessitating more defensive duties from the forward. It was a challenge that he took well, supporting Chris Gunter effectively. Stung the palms of Scott Carson with a drive from distance early on, and registered another shot on target in the second having cut in from the right.
Aaron Tshibola: 6
Quickly cementing his status as a more cultured Hope Akpan. Tshibola has the high energy, high work rate of the Nigerian, but adds a degree of composure that the now Blackburn man lacks. Tried making some attacking runs forward, but to no avail.
Oliver Norwood: 6
Another solid showing from Norwood, who kept things ticking over in the middle. Looked one of Reading's brighter players in the first half, setting the tempo well from deep. Tried his luck from range on a few occasions, forcing a good save from Carson on one occasion. That said, it was a below par night regarding his set piece delivery.
Stephen Quinn: 7
One of the brightest performances on the night came from Reading's terrier in the midfield. Got stuck in with aplomb in the opening 45, hounding Derby into mistakes. Drove forward enthusiastically both before and after the red card, and looked one of the more likely to find a way through a well organised Derby defence.
Matěj Vydra: 5
Anonymous for all the 63 minutes he was on the pitch. Vydra tried, and failed, to link up with Sa and Blackman in the first half, and struggled in the second when asked to lead the line.
Orlando Sa: 4
A silly, silly moment cost Reading the game. It was far from assured that 11 men would have beaten Derby in the second half, but the dismissal made it that much harder to hold on against a top side.
Danny Williams: 6
His strength and energy could have been well used in the middle of the park, but was wasted on the right wing where Steve Clarke decided to put him. Didn't make an impact, having come on for Vydra in the 63rd minute.
Hal Robson-Kanu: 6
Was an ineffectual as Williams, but did show a few semi-promising moments when driving forward well with the ball at the Derby defence. The lack of an effective centre forward hampered his progress, and the Welshman couldn't make any inroads.
As a side point here, it's worth mentioning the reception Robson-Kanu got when he came on the pitch. He's hardly set the world alight, and his failings have been discussed incessantly, but booing a player when coming off the bench is unacceptable. To do it at the end of the match is one thing, but getting on the back of someone trying to get your team back into a match shows an embarrassingly high level of stupidity. Thankfully, it didn't seem to be a widespread problem, but the morons at the back of Y26 need to take a long, hard look at themselves in the mirror.
Garath McCleary: N/A
Came on with 10 mens to go and contributed little, with little time left to make an impact on the match.
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