I wouldn’t mark him down for either of the Birmingham City goals - both came about by Jon Toral having too much room to pick out a finish from the edge of the box and each were very good finishes. That said, Rafael was unsighted by a Birmingham City player in a seemingly offside position for the second, although his appeals were waved away by the officials. Put in a key save at 2-1 to deny Hogan, who was clean through on goal.
Tom Holmes: 4
Caught too high up for the first goal, being sucked upfield and allowing space in behind for Birmingham before the cross came over. Going forwards he had difficulty getting through Brum’s press and offered little in the final third.
Michael Morrison: 4
Too many aimless long balls from the back, particularly in the second half when Reading needed a more intelligent approach to build their way back into the game. As with Holmes, he’s not so good at playing through a press, although he could have had more movement ahead of him.
Liam Moore: 5
Tough game up against Hogan and he had difficulty, with the Birmingham City man allowed through on goal at 2-1 between Reading’s two CBs - I’ve marked them both down for it. Did however stop a Leko shot on the line in the first half, and seemed a bit more positive in possession than Morrison.
Omar Richards: 4
His weakest performance of the season, Richards looked sloppy and tired. Gave the ball away cheaply too many times, particularly in the second half, and didn’t add much attacking threat down his side. Went close in the first half with an audacious attempted lob from a tight angle that didn’t hit the target.
Andy Rinomhota: 5
Not his usual energetic, imposing self in the middle, and Reading had less control of the midfield accordingly. However, it was his driving run upfield when set through by Joao, before playing in Meite, that was the spark for Reading’s attempt at an unlikely comeback.
Josh Laurent: 4
Caught out for the first goal - he had to track Toral on the edge of the box but failed to do so, meaning space opened up on the edge of the box. Overall he was too safe in possession; Reading needed him to add more tempo and be more adventurous, rather than keeping the ball around the back.
Yakou Meite: 5
For the most part he was as quiet as Reading’s other attacking players, but it his runs in behind that provided our biggest threats. Got on the end of Rino’s cross, and converted it for 2-1, and did well to win the penalty. Badly injured in a heavy collision with Neil Etheridge when he was a bit over-committed to get the ball.
Michael Olise: 4
Anonymous all evening, a far cry from the bright displays we’ve seen this season. With Reading struggling to play through Birmingham City’s press, I’d have liked to see Olise do more to seize the initiative and make things happen, seeing as he has the best passing range in our team, but he didn’t do that.
Caught napping for the second goal when he allowed Toral an effort from the edge of the area, rather than nipping in to get in the way of the shot. Eventually withdrawn for Semedo.
Ovie Ejaria: 4
In recent games he’s looked sharp and positive, but against Birmingham City he looked tired and timid. Needed to do more to seize the game and give Reading more spark going forwards, but went missing, and when he did get on the ball, he tended to lose it too easily and was guilty of overplaying too often.
Lucas Joao: 4
Another game in which he just wasn’t involved enough in the play, although he did have had - for good or bad reasons - in all Reading’s key attacking moments of the game.
Missed the crucial penalty at 1-2, which would have not only levelled the game up, but would also have given the Royals momentum to go on and win the game. Also put a big chance at the death wide of the far post when intelligently played in by Tomas Esteves and should have done better.
On the flipside, he did play the pass through for Rinomhota in the build-up for Reading’s goal, and provided the flick-on to release Meite for the penalty. But a general lack of involvement in the game, poor hold-up and the penalty miss mean I need to mark him down.
Alfa Semedo: 4
Replaced Olise for the last half hour or so, but didn’t add anything more than his predecessor.
Tomas Esteves: 5
Guilty of overplaying a few times, giving the ball away too cheaply, such as in the build-up to the Hogan chance when the Brum striker went clean through on goal. However, he looked that bit sharper going forwards than Holmes, and did really well to play in Joao with a quick free-kick late on for a big chance.
Sone Aluko: N/A
Came on for the closing stages on the left in place of Ejaria, and probably should have had longer on the pitch. Put in one dangerous cross, but that’s all I can remember him contributing.
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