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Reading FC 0-0 Newcastle United: Player Ratings

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An impressive defensive display made an impression on The Inspector.

Reading v Newcastle United - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Ali Al-Habsi: 6

Made some good saves, all of which would have been errors had he missed them, so in that respect he simply did his job properly. His distribution was again uncertain although it did not contain any alarming errors. But one flap at a cross did not inspire confidence. A clean sheet is always good, though

Chris Gunter: 6

If his job was simply to hold his position and keep possession he would be more than adequate. But surely from a seasoned Welsh international we're entitled to expect more. Why, for example, when he gets into a promising attacking situation does he turn back, keep the ball but take the pressure off the opposition, who must be delighted to see him heading away from goal in the opposite direction?

Paul McShane: 8

An excellent defensive performance from the skipper, including one crucial tackle to foil Newcastle, who looked certain to score after Ritchie hit the post. He leads by example and is a proper captain.

Liam Moore: 7

Another solid display from the ex-Leicester man, sadly curtailed by a second half injury. On this occasion he wasn't missed but Stam will be hoping for a speedy recovery from one of his more reliable players.

Tyler Blackett: 7

The great enigma among the Royals defenders, he tends to lurch from poor to excellent in the space of successive games. This was one of his good ones as he effortlessly switched from left wing-back to central defence with a strong, assured display. One left-footed 50 yard crossfield pass, pinged to perfection, was among the highlights of the game.

Joey van den Berg: 7

His usual fierce, combative self with few careless errors, which have marred previous appearances. Van den Berg made one crucial second half interception to stop Dwight Gayle racing clear in a battling display that summed up Reading's spirit.

Jordan Mutch: 6

The Mutch jokes were flying thick and fast in the Y21 section of the East Stand as the Palace loanee went from Jordan 'Doesn't Do' Mutch to Mutch 'Better'. He showed some neat touches early on and had one strong run into the penalty area but faded later on.

Liam Kelly: 4

Totally out of sorts. We know he's a better player than this but just wasn't his night. Kelly looked like a youngster promoted from the youth team too soon as he lost possession and was hustled into mistakes.

Lewis Grabban: 5

Started the game poorly, missing a glorious chance and then mis-controlling a pass that lead to a dangerous Newcastle break. Improved to show some neat control and look like a decent player. Lots to prove yet though.

Yann Kermorgant: 6

Won a few headers and worked hard as usual. However, he didn't have much of an impact and, to be honest, I hardly noticed him.

Garath McCleary: 7

Reading's best hope of breaking the deadlock. Apparently he's been playing hurt recently and the one-match rest appeared to have done him a world of good. Ran dangerously at the Newcastle defence whenever he could and came close to scoring three times, including the injury-time shot against the bar.

Substitutes

Danny Williams: 6

Slotted seamlessly into the team in the second half, kept things ticking over in midfield and rarely gave the ball away. Excellent piece of play to set up McCleary for the late chance when the Jamaican hit the bar.

Jordan Obita: 6

Has been unlucky to be excluded in recent weeks and did his case for inclusion no harm with this 40 minute appearance. Combined well with Blackett down the left side.