Despite Brentford’s control for much of the game, he didn’t have too many shots to save, and I can’t really blame him for the goal - that’s moreso on the defence. He did make a fine first-half shot to push a deflected shot past the far post, and generally took his crosses well. However, he seemed a little hesitant in coming off his line to take back passes, which almost cost Reading when Ollie Watkins closed one down from Morrison.
Andy Yiadom: 5
Given a rough game down the right hand side by Henry and Benrahma, and didn’t always cope too well, sometimes being caught out of position fairly high up the pitch. He also didn’t get forward as well as he has done previously.
Matt Miazga: 6
Looked assured defensively, played the ball out pretty well and also did well to keep his cool in a tough away game, seeing as he’d lost his temper somewhat in Reading 2-2 draw at QPR.
Michael Morrison: 5
Mostly the same as Miazga, but he was caught out a few times. He still doesn’t look too comfortable on the ball, so should probably get rid of it quicker when under pressure. Caught out in the second half with a bouncing ball from the back that flew over him, playing Watkins in and almost resulting in a second goal.
Liam Moore: 5
Had to get a lot closer to Watkins for the goal, but instead of pushing out and challenging the forward closely, he backed off to give Watkins a free header. However, he had cut out the danger with a well-timed challenge from the same striker in the first half when he got in behind.
Omar Richards: 6
Like Yiadom he didn’t get forward as much as he would have liked to, but did put in some nice last-ditch challenges to cut out danger. His reading of the game to do that shows the improvements he’s made in the last few months.
Andy Rinomhota: 5
Looked more influential in the first half when Reading were (at times) on top, but struggled more in the second half when Brentford started to get into their rhythm.
John Swift: 6
Looked good on the ball, particularly in the first half, using possession well either with his range of passing or dribbling past opponents. He faded though when Brentford had more of the ball later on, which to be fair is probably to be expected given that he’s still adjusting to a deeper role and was doing so in a tough away match.
Ovie Ejaria: 6
Quieter than usual, but still came up with a few eye-catching trademark ‘Ovie’ moments. One of those, in the second half, saw him break free into space on the left side of the box, but he didn’t have the killer instinct to either finish himself or tee up a teammate. For me, that lack of a clinical moment in the final is still what’s holding him back. Didn’t impress with the corner kicks he took.
Sam Baldock: 7
One of Reading’s better players on the day, Baldock worked his socks off throughout his time on the pitch, although he had to come off early into the second half. That harrying helped Reading off the ball, and he was also a threat with his forward runs - on one occasion almost getting clear in behind before being taken out.
Nice sh*thousery in the first half to snatch the ball back from a Brentford player to take a quick throw-in that set Puscas off on an attack down the left wing.
George Puscas: 4
Generally struggled to get into the game, and missed his big moment in the first half: a one-on-one. Set free on goal, in behind the defence, he needed to decisively pick his moment and bury his finish, but delayed and wasted the opportunity. Like previous missed chances, this one will weigh heavily on him and he needs to brush it off quickly.
Yakou Meite: 4
Replaced Baldock when the former Brighton man went off injured early in the second half, but had a difficult afternoon without much service and didn’t come up with anything when he got on the ball himself either. He also didn’t match Baldock’s work rate - one of the reasons Brentford got more and more control as the half went on.
Garath McCleary: 4
Initially played as a striker up top with Meite, and didn’t convince going forwards. The idea was probably to get more work rate higher up the pitch when Reading were out of possession, instead of the less hard-working Puscas, but it didn’t pay off. Later moved back into the midfield when Boye came on.
Spurned a great chance from the right side of the box when he dragged his shot past the far post, and was wasteful in the closing minutes when Reading were pushing for an equaliser. Caught offside far too easily in the dying moments when Reading were probing.
Lucas Boye: 5
Brought on as an extra striker in place of Rinomhota, he didn’t really make enough happen in the 20 minutes or so he was on the pitch, although he was involved in the move that ended with McCleary firing wide.
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