Couldn’t do too much about either goal, but made a very good save from range at 1-0 to keep the score down.
Liam Moore: 5
Not as imposing as he usually is, and was wayward with his passing. That was particularly frustrating as, of Reading’s back three, he’s probably the best on the ball - we needed him to give us something extra going forwards. Caught out for the penalty when Chuks Aneke managed to sneak in behind him.
Michael Morrison: 6
Pretty solid, but not as dominant as he has been before. His lack of ability on the ball was exposed a fair bit in the second half when he had possession and didn’t really know what to do with it.
Tom McIntyre: 6
On the whole not too bad, although for me he could have done better for the opener. He goes side-on when the shot comes at him, rather than making himself big, resulting in a big deflection that Rafael couldn’t deal with.
In the first half he was up directly against Lyle Taylor and, despite it being a tough challenge for him physically, McIntyre did a pretty good job of stopping the Charlton man from getting in behind him.
Andy Yiadom: 5
Ineffective going forwards, didn’t offer enough. Brought off in the second half for Meite.
John Swift: 5
Not creative enough. As Reading’s creator-in-chief, we perhaps rely on him too much to make chances, so when he’s off his game that sticks out. Went very close late on with a dipping free kick that Dillon Phillips did well to tip over.
The big frustration for me about Pele is lack of range when it comes to passing. He can take the ball under pressure and either dribble or play it short, but picking a man out at distance seems to elude him. In this respect he’s a far cry from Lewis Baker, who excelled at that in the same deep-lying role last season. In a game like this, where Reading need to take the initiative and be on the front foot, that was really frustrating.
Sucked into a challenge too easily for the opener, leaving himself off balance and plenty of room for Jonathan Leko to get a shot away, and had a nibble on Aneke that led to the penalty.
Ovie Ejaria: 6
Not at the high level we’ve seen from his recently, and he had less of an impact on the game than usual. Some bright moments and good touches, but I wanted to see him go up a gear or two, seize the match by the scruff of the neck and make things happen.
Omar Richards: 6
For me, he was one of our better attacking outlets on the day, so it was pretty surprising to see him substituted in the second half. Particularly before the break, Reading looked more dangerous when we got him into the game, spreading the ball out wide so that he could whip crosses into the box. One of those almost resulted in an assist, with Puscas hitting the bar.
George Puscas: 4
A really bad day at the office for Reading’s record signing. He had some good sights of goal so could - and should - have scored once or twice, which I’ve why I’ve marked him harshly. The most frustrating of those chances was a one-on-one just before the break, central in the box, that should have ended with him slotting past the goalie. Also hit the bar from close range earlier in the half.
After the restart he struggled badly to get into the game, failing to get the ball into feet, hold it up and bring others into play as we needed. To be fair that’s not really his strong point, but he needs to adapt in matches against tough defences like this.
Lucas Joao: 5
Went close with an audacious overhead kick in the first half, but didn’t impact the game enough after that. As the big target man, he didn’t hold the ball up well enough.
Lucas Boye: 5
Didn’t get into the game enough as a left wingback, which certainly isn’t his position. However, he did do a bit better when brought into the middle for the final 10 minutes or so.
Yakou Meite: 5
Bizarrely brought on as a right wingback to replace Yiadom. Managed to get into the final third with the ball a few times, but often crowded out before he could get a good shot away. Ineffective.
Josh Barrett: N/A
Not on the pitch long enough to get a grade, although he did give Reading some more momentum down the left.
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