A quiet afternoon for the goalie who had little to do all afternoon. In terms of his distribution I don’t remember him going short (I may well be wrong), with Mark Bowen evidently having asked him to go long each time. His kicking’s OK, but not as accurate as what we’ve had from other goalkeepers in recent seasons.
Andy Yiadom: 7
My stand-out performer, Yiadom was a constant threat down the right on an afternoon where Reading largely struggled for ideas going forward. Playing as a right wing-back, Yiadom got both got forward well (whether driving infield or staying out wide) and showed good end product.
However, he wasn’t as exposed defensively as he has been before, due to Bowen’s wise choice to keep his wing-backs that bit further back than his predecessor did.
Matt Miazga: 7
The American’s first goal for the club couldn’t really have come at a better time. He’d been solid at the back throughout the afternoon, but showed his attacker’s instinct to prod home a last-gasp winner after Jordan Obita’s long-range effort had been fumbled by Declan Rudd. Bonus points for jumping into the Eamonn Dolan Stand to celebrate.
Michael Morrison: 7
He seemed to be more comfortable generally without the requirement of playing out from the back. Defensively he was imposing all game, playing a big part in shutting out the league’s top scorers, with the highlight of his day being a strong double block in quick succession in the first half to shut out Preston.
Liam Moore: 6
As with his defensive colleagues he was solid defensively, but for me his distribution was a bit erratic. Although one long ball over the top set George Puscas free for a chance in the first half, I recall a few times when he seemed too keen to boot the ball upfield - rather than trying to keep hold of it.
Jordan Obita: 6
A solid game at left wing-back for Obita, but not as much attacking impact as Yiadom showed down the left. He’s still working his way back from long-term injury though, so hopefully we’ll see that offensive side to his game return over the coming weeks.
John Swift: 5
I’m torn on this mark (it was between a 5 and a 6), and I do realise that I’m being a bit harsh, but Swift didn’t seem to react well to the new setup. Bowen both brought Swift deeper (playing pretty much alongside Pele) and got Reading to go long and direct very often - that naturally meant the playmaker would have less time on the ball. But at times like this, when the setup hasn’t been made in his favour, Swift seems to have a habit of losing focus and being that bit sloppier.
He did have a few bright moments, such as putting in a great deep cross that Puscas couldn’t quite convert, but for me he wasn’t good enough in possession. His first touch was often poor and he struggled to get onto the ball and get Reading moving.
Ovie Ejaria: 7
Reading’s best creative outlet centrally, Ejaria seemed to enjoy playing higher up the pitch than he has done before - with Swift and Pele behind him. The loanee showed off his trademark quick footwork throughout, and could well have won a penalty not long into the second half when he seemed to be taken down after dribbling past three Preston players. Perhaps should have done better with a Yiadom cross later on that he put past the far post.
NB: Ejaria’s mark originally read 6/10, but was supposed to say 7/10. My bad.
George Puscas: 5
A tough afternoon for Puscas who had little to work with in his 70 minutes on the pitch, although he did have some half chances - volleying over from a tight angle with his weaker foot and being just unable to get enough on a deep cross from Pele. Puscas had plenty of chances under Jose Gomes (which he mostly missed), and Mark Bowen needs to make sure those opportunities keep coming.
Yakou Meite: 5
As with Puscas, he didn’t have much service from elsewhere on the pitch, but to be fair he did work hard all round. For me he seemed better in the first half when Reading were that bit more direct. However, he ended the match without any shots at all - admittedly not helped by his teammates but still unlike a striker who does like to get shots away. Playing at home, he probably would have been better served playing out wide where there would have been more room to work in.
Sam Baldock: 6
Presumably only involved at all due to injuries for Lucas Boye and Lucas Joao, he was given 20 minutes at the end of the game. He looked lively in the final third, with the highlight being his first involvement: dropping deep, winning the ball back well, getting free and charging up the pitch.
With Boye and Joao out for at least four weeks each, the next month or so is his chance to prove to new manager Bowen that he can still be an important part of this side.
Danny Loader: 5
Anonymous, didn’t make anything happen.
Charlie Adam: N/A
Not on the pitch long enough to get a grade, but he was on the pitch long enough to bemuse the Preston fans I was with in the bus queue afterwards. “Was that tubby one really Charlie Adam? I thought it was Al Murray!”
Who was your man of the match? Vote below, or through this link right here.