Rescued Reading with an early triple save. Rescued Reading when he pushed Cavaleiro’s strike onto the post. Rescued Reading when he tipped Mitrovic’s late header onto the bar.
His distribution is still questionable but that’s easily forgiven when he has the reflexes of a lime green cat between the posts.
Chris Gunter: 7
Played the match entirely in his own half due to Fulham’s ever-increasing number of dangerous forwards on the pitch and defended aggressively against the imposing Kamara.
Gunter did look initially shaken by the introduction of the lively Cavaleiro, leading to Fulham’s goal, but recovered to finish the match strongly.
Michael Morrison: 7
Relished the duel with Mitrovic and came out the winner on many occasions. The best Park The Bus defender Reading have with his aerial dominance and blocks inside the box. Booked in the added time brawl but it was a show of #passion so we can’t mark him down for that.
Liam Moore: 7
A worthy leader in another defensive masterclass for the Royals. Moore and Morrison (M2) did a job on Fulham’s #9 and put a roadblock in his race towards the Championship golden boot. Reading’s captain was a bit wasteful at the other end, with a few wayward headers when in promising positions to add to Reading’s tally.
Tyler Blackett: 7
Berkshire’s Jordi Alba added another quality assist to his tally, making it three in his last two games, which equates to his highest-ever total for a full season.
Fully justifying his inclusion over Obita and Richards in the last couple of games and it seems like the pressure of competition has given Blackett a newfound intensity. His excellent management of Anthony Knockaert will have done him no ill will with the Reading faithful either.
Charlie Adam: 6
If the Scottish Pirlo had any hair, it would have certainly been ruffled in the opening stages at Craven Cottage. He looked lightyears off the pace early on and gifted Fulham their best opening of the match when his ill-advised short free kick went awry.
Adam did eventually grow into the game and showed clever movement for his goal, but it was a goal that masked major deficiencies with his performance. Against a high-pressing team like Fulham, he lacks the pace to take care of the ball by himself and panics in possession. He also shot from his own half. And missed. Obviously.
The Guinea-Bissau international’s best game in a Reading shirt so far. Aggressive in the challenge and calm on the ball, his decision making has improved tenfold since August. From a regular seat on the bench under Gomes, Pelé has flourished with Mark Bowen and looks undroppable at the moment. Booked for a tactical foul midway through the second period.
Yakou Meite: 6
It is bizarre to think it, but Reading’s top scorer of 2019 is currently playing a defensive right winger role in the team. Again, Meite had little impact going forward, regularly contesting the same balls as Joao. Yet, the Ivorian worked tremendously hard to support Gunter with Joe Bryan trying to push forward from left back for the home side.
John Swift: 8
Scored again. Found Ejaria in space with a lovely diagonal for the second goal. Swift is the heart of Reading’s attack and he seems to get better and better each game. He seems to also have rediscovered his goalscoring touch from the Jaap Stam days (maybe it’s a bald manager thing?) to add to his assists this season.
Don’t forget that the playmaker returned from injury 11 days ago against Derby in the 53rd minute. In that time, Swift has played 285/307 minutes, scored three goals and assisted one. Please do not ever get injured again.
Ovie Ejaria: 7
Perhaps the best footballer in the world at beating defenders without actually going anywhere. See the first goal and watch how Ejaria creates space for himself to thread the ball through to Blackett. Then how he baits Cyrus Christie into a wild lunge before skipping into the box to square for Adam.
It is truly mesmerising to watch. Starved of possession for most of the game but Ovie did his defensive duties and was decisive in the crucial moments.
Lucas Joao: 6
A frustrating outing for the Portuguese striker. Joao had a thankless task with little support and a fourth game in 11 days under his belt. He couldn’t quite get on the same wavelength as Meite, resulting in a number of offsides and occasions of them both challenging for the same ball.
Fluffed a fantastic chance to seal the match at 0-2 that could have come back to haunt Reading. His afternoon was summed up when he pulled up with cramp while through on goal. Booked for blasting the ball into the Putney end, although Anthony Knockaert did the same on a number of occasions and somehow escaped a yellow.
Andy Rinomhota: 6
Sat next to Pelé and added some legs to a tiring midfield. Solid if not spectacular.
Matt Miazga: 6
The big American represented his nation impeccably, joining the conflict late on and helping the plucky British defenders to see out victory.
Sam Baldock: N/A
He did as much fruitless running as a five-minute cameo would allow.
Mark Bowen: 8
Bizarrely a man who has spent his career working under Mark Hughes really knows how to organise a defence. He’s found a winning formula with this asymmetric 4-2-3-1 system and long may it last.
It’s simple, it’s not pretty but it’s effective and as long as Reading keep climbing that table the fans will be happy. His aversion to Lucas Boyé is extremely confusing but maybe the Argentine will get his chance on Saturday.
Player average: 6.84/10
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