Didn’t have to do anything throughout the game really, with City only managing two shots on target. One was a tame long-range effort, the other a tap-in from Nakhi Wells to make it 1-1. Responded really well to a run of errors in the four-match losing streak.
Tom Holmes: 8
Not troubled too much at right back and, given that Reading have now looked a lot more secure in that area of the pitch since his return to the team, he’ll likely stay there in place of Tomas Esteves.
Didn’t push forwards too much in open play but looked confident on the ball when he did, including a few drives up the pitch through the middle that I spotted in the first half. Almost opened his Reading account with a thunderous, well saved second-half header that Harry’s aptly likened to a traction engine in his match report. Should have had an assist when he set up Morrison via an Olise delivery, only for his fellow defender to miss the ball.
Michael Morrison: 7
Dominant at the back, keeping City quiet all afternoon. Also proved to be a threat in the opposition’s box though, setting up Meite in the first half with a flicked header from which the Ivorian acrobatically volleyed at Bentley.
Could have doubled Reading’s lead in the second half with a header from an Olise free kick that went wide, and later failed to connect with Holmes’ knock-down that would have made it 2-0. Really should have scored, which means he gets 7/10 rather than 8/10.
Liam Moore: 7
Mostly solid at the back, although he was beaten in the air too easily for City’s equaliser. Apart from that he looked composed and on top of his game, showing how much we miss him when he’s not in the side. Didn’t have as much involvement in the final third as his fellow defenders, but did put a pretty routine header on target in the second half.
Omar Richards: 8
One of his best all-round performances this season. Defensively he was as composed as ever, but he also did well going forwards, particularly in the first half when he was a key creative outlet, despite the lack of opportunities - at least in relation to Reading’s free-flowing second half.
Overlapped Ejaria well before the break, putting in some dangerous crosses. A particularly good one of those almost set up Joao early on, but the frontman handled it rather than being able to connect with boot or head. Richards seems to be getting better at his deliveries, and that kind of width - especially when you have the lanky Joao and Meite waiting centrally - adds another dimension to Reading’s play.
Andy Rinomhota: 7
A quiet but really effective performance in the middle. I can’t really remember him doing too much that was particularly noteworthy (not a bad thing for a defensive player), but his energy in the middle kept Reading solid against a dangerous side. Seemed to have a bit more joy than usual going forwards in the first half with space to attack on the break, but didn’t convert that into end product.
Josh Laurent: 8
I really do love this guy. Protected the defence really well and filled in where needed effectively, playing a big part in the lack of shots Reading conceded. Put in a vital interception on a cross at 2-1 that could have resulted in an equaliser.
Yakou Meite: 8
An excellent afternoon for Meite, who went home with a goal and an assist, but he probably should have had a hat trick. Slotted home really well from Olise’s through ball to make it 2-1, and set up Joao late on with an excellent win-back of possession, drive down the right and cross.
However, he should have scored from another chance when through, plus an open goal after Richards’ long-range shot had deflected back off the bar. Convert those and I’d have given him a 10/10 for a pretty perfect all-round display.
Michael Olise: 8
Showed his creative class in the 10 role with another gorgeous assist - this time he played in Meite in behind with a perfectly weighted pass. He could have created a few more goals too though, with his set pieces causing real danger in the second half - Holmes and Morrison coming close by virtue of Olise’s deliveries.
Ovie Ejaria: 7
Noticeably sharper, having seemingly upped his fitness a lot after being out for a few weeks before the international break. Opened the scoring with a fortuitous deflection past the goalkeeper, but full credit to him for finding the space to get a shot away; Ejaria’s often been guilty of overplaying and letting opportunities like that go to waste.
Also showed some lovely touches to control the ball, particularly on one occasion on the left touchline to pluck the ball out of the air. Linked up well with Richards on the left too. More of the same please Ovie!
Lucas Joao: 8
An excellent all-round performance from Joao who was a constant thorn in Bristol City’s side, a few times creating chances for himself or a teammate out of nothing. Although his goalscoring hasn’t let up this season, for me he’s been less involved in open play to support his teammates in recent weeks, but he did that very well against Bristol City and deservedly got an assist for Ejaria.
At 2-1 I thought it really wasn’t his day in front of goal. He went close with a number of chances, but finally converted one himself at the death - a more routine case of collecting Meite’s cross and finishing from close range.
Alfa Semedo, Sone Aluko and Tomas Esteves: N/A
All came on too late to get a grade, although Semedo was introduced on 81 minutes, while the other two got a matter of seconds before the full-time whistle.
To be honest I’m glad none came on early enough to get a score. Semedo would have been on for a perfectly respectable, run-of-the-mill 6/10, but that would have pushed down the whole team’s average, which works out as this:
(Blackburn away was 7.58)
Who was your man of the match against Bristol City? Vote below or through this link.