Emiliano Martinez: 6
Had very little to do for most of the game (hard to give him a 7 with no shots to save), except command his area and come for innumerable crosses and long diagonals which Preston slung into the box at every opportunity. Dealt with these well. Could do nothing about Preston’s 93rd-minute consolation.
Andy Yiadom: 7
Defended solidly, got forward energetically, all in all a strong game from the right back. Could well have had a penalty in the first half, and dealt with the Preston pressure in the second period well as part of a redoubtable back line.
Tyler Blackett: 7
Same as Yiadom. Coped admirably with most of Preston’s attacks coming down his side in the second period, Saturday was a solid day for Blackett. No silly mistakes, which is never a guarantee, and did the basics well. Pleasingly unspectacular - meant in the best possible way.
Liam Moore: 7
The usual rock at the heart of the defence. Stepped out with the ball at times in the first half, as well as discharging all of his defensive responsibilities admirably, and just got stuck in to a good old fashioned aerial battle in the second. Interceptions, headers, tackles, they were all there.
Matt Miazga: 7
Hugely impressive from Miazga. Powerful, quick, decent enough on the ball, a dominating presence in central defence. Quickly becoming a cult favourite with the home crowd too. He brings calmness too - no reckless bad decisions here.
Lewis Baker: 6
Balances the side nicely. Hard to notice slightly during in the first half, his calmness and coolness on the ball proved invaluable at times in the second when bringing the ball out from the back. Like Miazga, doesn’t make bad decisions and doesn’t give the ball away - his time at Chelsea has taught him those lessons.
Andy Rinomhota: 8
My oh my, we’ve missed him (hence why 8 is maybe a touch generous). Tenacious, quick to the ball, he ensured Preston’s midfield had a tough afternoon. Doesn’t get dribbled past. Ever. Comfortable on the ball too, and got forward to useful effect at points in the first half. Needs to work on his passing/final third decision making at times, but then which holding midfielder doesn’t?
John Swift: 7
Swift plays in moments. No other Reading player, for example, could have found Barrow with the pass that set up the first goal. That was Saturday’s moment of genuine quality from Swift - and it’s why his place in the team should not really be questioned. His usual smooth self on the ball too, tracked back capably as well. Let’s hope the injury is nothing serious.
Ovie Ejaria - 7
This fellow displays a quickness of feet and ability to work his way around other players in the centre of the park that really catches the eye. Unlucky not to score, really growing into this side. Did fine when asked to track back too, especially as he was clearly asked to start narrow.
Modou Barrow: 8
One goal and one assist - what else can be asked of him? Ensured the Preston centre backs had a nervous (and at one point disastrous) first half. Showed tenacity and quick feet for his goal, and delivered an excellent assist for Meite. Gives Reading an extra option now in terms of strikers, as he looked a real threat in behind.
Yakou Meite: 8
Yakou Meite - when on form - becomes a sort of force of nature, akin to some tremendous, powerful, if slightly chaotic, weather event - maybe a tornado or a hurricane. A couple of moments of skill in the second half were exceptional. Did what all good strikers should do for his goal - a real poacher’s finish. Good to have at the front post when defending corners too.
Garath McCleary: 7
Good little cameo here from GMac. A real outlet during the last 25 minutes when Reading did at times come under real pressure. Could easily have ended up with a goal or an assist after some of the chances to finish the game off on the counter attack.
Paul McShane: 5
Bit harsh to give the club captain a 5 on his first appearance for 7 months, but then he really did seem a little nervous. Didn’t make any catastrophic mistakes, but didn’t settle the team down either. To give him credit, when asked to clear, block or win headers he was fine.
Callum Harriott: N/A
Only on for 5/6 minutes, did his job when needed (my way of saying I can’t actually remember him touching the ball)
Who was your man of the match against Preston? Vote below, or through this link.