Sam Walker: 6
Should have been more imposing for Cardiff’s goal, but made some fine stops in the second half to keep the score level at 1-1.
Teddy Howe: 5
Looked bright a few times when pushing forward down the right wing in the first half, but more unsettled in the second half when Cardiff threw more at Reading in their search for a winner. Looked shaky in possession at times.
Matt Miazga: 6
Solid afternoon before suffering what looked like a horrible injury in the second half. At time of writing I’ve not seen how long he’ll be out for. He moved the ball around well too and played out nicely.
Tom McIntyre: 6
Until he received his marching orders for a second yellow card, it had been a very tidy afternoon for Tom McIntyre. He looked confident defensively, composed in possession and even dribbled the ball upfield a few times to good effect - and could have had an assist in the first half when he slipped Yakou Meite in on goal.
But that sending off was a harsh reminder to him of how important keeping your head is at senior level. The first yellow card may have been a little soft - or at least it seemed so for me - but that should have been a warning ahead of the second one. A silly error that put a downer on an otherwise strong showing.
Omar Richards: 6
Steady defensive game at left back without showing the dynamic attacking side that he’s demonstrated before. You feel that he really needed to stand out if he were to stand a chance of challenging Tyler Blackett’s position in the first team, but didn’t do enough to make an impression.
Andy Rinomhota: 5
Perhaps a little harsh, but it’s another game in which I really wanted to see Rinomhota make his presence felt. He’s got the energy and strength to take charge of midfield by decisively breaking up play and driving up the pitch, but there weren’t enough of those moments, and doing them more often could have helped turn the Cardiff tide in the second half.
For me, it might well be that he’s unsure of his role. When playing alongside Charlie Adam, who himself likes to drop deep to get the ball, is Rinomhota just a ball winner to cover for Adam? Rino’s got more to offer than that, such as driving up the pitch with the ball, but doing that leaves Adam exposed.
As shown against Cardiff, Reading don’t seem to have quite found the right way of getting him into the midfield so that his full skillset is shown. It’s a tricky conundrum for Bowen to solve.
Charlie Adam: 7
Really nice range of passing in the first half to keep the ball moving and put Reading on the front foot. Registered an assist for Meite’s goal thanks to a gorgeous ball over the top for the Ivorian to control and convert.
Gave Reading an extra bit of composure in the middle which paid off even more in the first half when there was a lot of pressure from the away side to be withstood. Even briefly slotted in at centre back just after McIntyre’s red card.
Yakou Meite: 6
Showed great control and composure to equalise inside the first 10 minutes, which in itself took a great deal of character after the tough week he had personally. He could have had a hat trick before half time, tucking home from an offside position after Aluko’s shot was spilled, and dallying too long when put through by McIntyre.
I liked his movement in the first half, coming in off the right to essentially act as an auxiliary centre forward while Loader dropped back, but he wasn’t enough of an outlet in the second half when Cardiff took charge. He’ll probably be back in the matchday squad in midweek.
Sone Aluko: 6
He was often at the heart of Reading’s best attacks in the first half, causing Cardiff problems with his movement and making it difficult to be picked up. Although he started pretty much as a number ten, he would often drop deep to get the ball or push out wide while Meite came infield. When he got the ball, particularly in the final third, he was positive with it and knitted attacks together nicely with some deft touches.
But he didn’t have an impact in the second half, struggling to impose himself against the visitors’ physical defence. In the one big chance he had after the break, he led a counter attack but gave up possession cheaply. Hopefully more game time will bring more sharpness. On the basis of today, he should be in contention for a spot on the bench in the first team.
Garath McCleary: 5
McCleary would probably have preferred to play out wide on the right, hugging the touchline to stretch the game, but the presence of Meite and Aluko in the team meant he was pushed out to the left side in the first half. Probably because of that, he didn’t get into the game enough. Bar a fairly tame shot from range straight at the goalie, I can’t remember him doing too much.
Danny Loader: 4
Anonymous throughout - the only involvement I can remember off the top of my head was acrobatically (or over-ambitiously) blazing a Howe cross over just before being substituted.
He looked pretty neat in possession in the first half when dropping deep to get on the ball, but didn’t really have an impact in either half. Loader lacks outright strength and pace, and without either of those traits he needed an extra dose of guile to cause Cardiff’s well-marshalled defence problems, but didn’t have it.
Gabriel Osho: 6
Came on for the injured Miazga and kept his cool at the back without having any stand-out moments for good or bad reasons. It was in a way a good afternoon for him though - McIntyre’s suspension and Miazga’s injury abruptly pushes him up the pecking order to third-choice centre back, so we could see him again on Tuesday.
He’ll need to take any chances that come his way though, with his contract due to expire in the summer.
Ben House: N/A
Not on the pitch long enough to get a grade. He would have been, having been introduced in the 74th minute, but he was withdrawn for Burley nine minutes later when Reading went down to 10.
Andre Burley: N/A
Replaced Adam to become Reading’s second centre half when McIntyre was injured.
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