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Millwall 2-0 Reading: Player Ratings

How we graded the Royals as the unbeaten run comes to a frustrating end at the Den.

Preston North End v Reading - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images

Rafael: 5

Not at fault for either goal. Imposing first half as Reading repelled Millwall well, but his goal increasingly became a coconut shy in the second half as the hosts gained more control of the game. I’ve put him down to a 5 due to some poor distribution in the first half - twice his goal kicks went straight to the home side who could immediately break. He really needs to work on his distribution before we’re punished for it.

Chris Gunter: 6

Steady game at right back, but didn’t add enough going forwards.

Michael Morrison: 6

Did really well in the first half to repel the home side. Although they edged the proceedings, clear-cut chances were at a minimum, not least down to Morrison and Moore clearing the danger. More exposed in the second half though when Pele went off, and caught for pace by Jon Dadi Bodvarsson who made it 2-0.

Liam Moore: 6

Same as Morrison - good first half, more difficult second. Given a tough afternoon by the much taller Matt Smith who beat Moore in the air for a first-half header that went narrowly wide.

Tyler Blackett: 5

Much more sloppy and ponderous in possession than he has been in recent weeks, and gave the ball away too cheaply.

Pele: 7

Gave Reading real presence in the midfield when he was on the pitch, and his absence was notable later on when Millwall took increasing charge of the game after he was subbed off. Won the ball well and moved it around nicely, even going on a few line-breaking runs upfield to put Reading on the front foot.

Charlie Adam: 6

Tended to be involved in some of Reading’s better moves in the first half, but without provided the cutting edge that we needed to create good chances. Should have been booked when he went to pick the ball up as he thought he was fouled. Brought off in the second half and Reading perhaps missed his experience in the middle to manage the game more effectively, although his lack of energy was a problem.

Yakou Meite: 5

Struggled to impose himself on the game and was sloppy with the ball. I would have liked to see him being used as an extra target man from goal kicks more - as he’s by far the best attacker in the squad at winning headers - and Mark Bowen should make more use of that in future.

John Swift: 5

He wasn’t involved in the game enough, especially when Reading went to a 4-4-2 in the second half, pushing him deeper into midfield. Missed the team’s best chance in the second half when he ghosted in behind the defence but couldn’t convert Blackett’s cross.

Ovie Ejaria: 5

In the kind of game when you really need Ejaria to step up and offer a moment of magic, he couldn’t do it. To be fair, Millwall knew how to counter him - crowding him out and denying him space - and as a result he wasn’t influential enough whether out wide, centrally as a ten or when paired with Swift in a 4-4-2. Guilty a few times of over-playing.

Sam Baldock: 5

Playing Baldock up top on his own against Millwall’s physically imposing centre halves always felt like it would be a bad idea, and so it proved. He couldn’t compete in the air - bar one chance in the first half that he flicked just post the post - and didn’t have the presence to bring others into the game. Had a one-on-one later in the half that he couldn’t convert. Again, you can’t knock his workrate, but he’s not a good tactical fit for this role, particularly in this kind of game.

Subs

George Puscas: 4

Replaced Baldock as the lone striker, but was badly let down by poor control so didn’t offer more as a target man than his predecessor. Gave away possession for the second goal.

Jordan Obita: 6

Decent spell on the left wing - offered more width than Reading had previously and got some crosses into the box late on.

Garath McCleary: 5

Didn’t offer enough bar blasting a shot well over the bar in the dying stages.


Average: 5.42/10

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