Not troubled by too many shots on target, with a lot of Barnsley’s efforts coming from range and not troubling him. But he did make a crucial, impressively acrobatic, save right before the half-time whistle to keep Reading’s 1-0 lead intact.
Andy Yiadom: 6
Looked bright going forwards, with his comfort in possession allowing Reading to get through Barnsley’s press a few times. Solid defensively.
Matt Miazga: 6
An impressive return to the first team. Miazga looked composed on the ball and dealt well with the danger when it came.
Michael Morrison: 5
Took Liam Moore’s spot as a left-sided centre back, and for the most part had a solid afternoon against an unimaginative Barnsley attack. There was also less onus on him to play out of defence, with Miazga typically the one to do that. But Morrison very nearly handed Barnsley an equaliser on a plate, presenting the Tykes with a loose ball in the first half that should have led to them slotting home for 1-1.
Jordan Obita: 5
Generally a pretty solid afternoon, and made a vital block at the near post from a Barnsley corner that could otherwise have snuck in - similar to the opener. Made some silly mistakes on the ball too though, including being robbed right on the touchline right at the end of the first half.
John Swift: 6
A tricky performance to grade, but I’ve essentially pushed Swift up to a 6/10 from a 5/10 for his dangerous free kick that led to the opener. It’s a sign that, as ever, Swift’s capable of those vitally important moments - even if it wasn’t him that officially registered the assist.
Otherwise, he had a tough afternoon in his (relatively new) holding role in front of the back four. Mark Bowen presumably put him there for his ball-playing ability, letting Swift dictate the game from deep, but he wasn’t often able to do that on a day when Barnsley pressed Reading a lot and, consequently, we didn’t have too much of the ball.
Defensively, before the break he looked pretty weak in challenges and didn’t offer the back four enough protection, although he did improve in the second half.
Andy Rinomhota: 6
Restored to the team and to his preferred box-to-box role, and gave Reading’s midfield some much-needed energy and bite. Overall, an effective, no-frills performance.
Ovie Ejaria: 6
Another one of those days when Ejaria was often easy on the eye, putting in some lovely touches to retain possession under pressure, but without directly contributing enough to the game. One example fairly early on was a good example of that - when Ejaria linked up with Puscas, danced into the area and ran into traffic before being able to pull the trigger, ending up by trying to make the ball go out for a throw rather than a goal kick.
The second half was more difficult for Ejaria to have an impact in, with Reading largely staying behind the ball and not committing forwards that much. But in the first, when Reading had more possession and were more able to find space through Barnsley’s press, I’d have liked to see Ejaria having more of an influence and pushing Reading up the pitch that bit quicker.
Yakou Meite: 5
Bizarre finish to make it 1-0. I’m still not entirely sure what he’s done there, despite watching the footage back a few times, but credit to him for a poacher’s goal. Otherwise though he didn’t have too much of an impact.
George Puscas: 7
One of his best all-round performances for Reading, and made it three goals in four appearances with a lovely finish after spinning a defender and charging into the space behind.
The rest of his game is improving nicely too though; Puscas seems to be working that bit harder and his hold-up play is getting sharper. He does still have a tendency sometimes to overplay, keeping hold of the ball for too long rather than releasing it, but that’ll hopefully improve with practice.
Michael Olise: 5
Played as a left winger in what looked like a 4-3-3, but I’m not quite sure if that’s his best position; Olise prefers dropping deeper to get onto the ball and link up with the central midfielders, rather than stretching a game out wide. In the first half he looked pretty comfortable doing that, albeit without much end product and with a tendency to overplay at times.
Had much less to work with in the second half, and blazed a shot over the bar at the end of a counter attack in one of Reading’s better chances of the game.
Garath McCleary: 5
Replaced Meite on the right wing, didn’t notice him in his half an hour or so on the pitch. To be fair, he didn’t get too many chances to touch the ball, with Barnsley having much more possession during that period.
Ayub Timbe: 6
Came on for Olise on the left wing, and like McCleary he didn’t get many chances on the ball. But when he did get it, he looked sharp and proactive, including going on one mazy dribble through the middle that wowed the crowd.
Replaced Swift for the final stages, but wasn’t really on long enough to influence the course of the game - our rating cut-off point is 80 minutes onwards, but Pele was introduced in the 79th minute.
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